Notice of Eviction

December 27, 2016:

Nate shows Laura the X-Red HQ and while there they find an unknown visitor. Storm arrives with paperwork for X-Red HQ, as well.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It is early in the morning and most people in New York are still focused in Christmas, something that gives Nate headaches. That is why he was hanging out at Xavier's and why Laura found him in the X-Bunker at an unusual time. They got talking (that is, Nate did the talking and Laura did the occasional -very- short response) and they decided to go checking for the official hideouts the X-Men have in the New York area.

X-Red HQ happens to be the second largest, of course. "I think lately only Wanda lives here, though." Mentions Nate to Laura as they get to the private areas. "With Storm plan for consolidating the X-Men this place might be officially closing soon, but I bet a safehouse will be kept. Hmm, she is not here. Do you know Wanda?"


Yes, Nate primarily did the talking, though occasionally her answers did encompass more than just two word responses; sometimes she stated three or even four word responses.

Still, when the two decided to visit the X-Red HQ, Laura dutifully followed. As Nate leads them through the various levels of the HQ, Laura idly commits the 'map' of the place to memory. It's only with his last question that Laura's green-eyed gaze will turn away from the various doorways leading into more private rooms and back to Nate. "No." She states, clearly only going for the one word answers now, as her attention swings back to the hallway and HQ.

Idly, she'll scent the area around herself, an automatic gesture on her part, as she continues to pad silently next to Nate.


The cavernous airport-turned-headquarters is quiet except for the hum of the air conditioning system and the traveling pair. It's been badly underutilized for a long time and both the mindscape and scentscape prove it. Doors to the dozens of living quarters lining the hallways are propped open, exposing the empty, tidy rooms to fresh air… except for two side by side. One door is ajar, exposing a peek into the personal quarters of the base's only official occupant and magic-mutant extraordinaire, the other is shut completely. Old smells cross up and down the hallway, one recognizably Wanda's but the other less so. It's soaked with the artificial sweetness of soap, shampoo, and laundry detergent - a little too clean perhaps - but might be distantly recognizable to the assassin wandering the hall.

Upstairs on the second level, a tired and jaded mind is relaxing while viewing the sky through the base's large exterior windows. Nerina is dressed down to the barefoot sweater and sweatpants she's been favoring since her arrival a couple weeks ago, her small form buried somewhere in the gray-on-gray and sunken almost to the point of disappearing within her chair's thick padding. A flute is dangling casually in her hand while a water bottle rests beside the chair.

Why yes, when the Scarlet Witch is not around, her adopted stray gets *very* bored.


Among the scents in the area Laura probably can find Doug and Pietro's, besides that of an unknown woman that must be Wanda, and of course Nerina. Meanwhile Nate checks psychically and finds just one mind, which is vaguely familiar but not immediately recognized. "Hmm, but someone is there, interesting. Maybe a student." And instead of going to the kitchen to hunt down the coffee pot, Nate heads for the second floor to investigate this unknown person.


That vaguely familiar scent is caught and X-23 will cock her head slightly to the side, her eyes narrowing ever so slightly. She'll scent the air a second time, purposefully now, as she tries to catch the scent again. With Nate's words, that someone is indeed here, and his guess about her being a student, Laura will finally speak up. Like always, her words come in that muted fashion, as she says, "I do not believe it is a student."

And then, with that said, the slim assassin will trot up to the second level of the HQ. While not very familiar with the HQ just yet, that doesn't stop Laura from turning her sharp gaze towards the layout of the second level and assessing it. Some may have a problem of finding Nerina, but not Laura, she uses her eyes, ears and nose to find the gray camouflaged woman. Once the woman is seen, Laura will tilt her head int he general direction of her, stating in a possibly familiar flat voice (for Nerina), "There."


Being a telepath affords small luxuries. Getting to watch a woodland creature's mind pass from 'normal peaceful nature' to 'oh a human!' might be one of them, and Nerina's does an admirable impression as she hears footsteps ascending the nearby staircase. Rolling forward out of her seat, she grabs waterbottle and flute, and dives underneath the furniture's skirt. Her hand reaches back to tuck in the loose ends of her sweater and the long trail of blonde hair left behind her. Contortion might be the youth's most often used ninja trick.

Now buried out of sight, her light blue eyes peek towards the stairwell, her mind tense and alert - ready to bolt if familiar curls of red aren't what climb into view… and instead they find straight black locks. The eyes blink, there's a touch of recognition to Laura's appearance and voice, and Nerina halts a moment before her planned flight.


Nate arrives a couple seconds after Laura, peering curious at Nerina's hiding spot. "Oh, yup," maybe not a student, definitely someone odd. "Morning," he greets laconically. "Who are you hiding from? Laura here is mostly harmless, really," the magnitude of that lie has probably made a star or three to go nova, somewhere.


Hiding or not, Laura still knows where Nerina is and when Nate finally makes his appearance and then states that rather bald lie, Laura can't quite help her green eyes shifting to the lanky man.

While she doesn't necessarily raise an eyebrow, there is the sense of that around herself, before her gaze travels back towards Nerina. "It is safe here." She states in that mechanical voice of hers and at least, she didn't refute what Nate said, correct?

And when those words are spoken, the slim assassin will start to move again, her footsteps taking her towards Nerina's hiding spot. She's moving slow enough that should the girl want to go elsewhere she'll have adequate time to do just that.


Whatever hesitance in the visitor's flight-or-fight response was engendered ironically by Laura's presence is quashed by Nate's arrival. The ninja's for him is surprisingly good and her eyes vanish completely under the chair as she deliberates for a moment.

Water? Check. Flute? Check. Necklace? Check. Weather outside? Freaking cold. Winter clothes? Uh…

The memory of a particularly harsh thud with which a yakuza struck a brick wall tips Nerina's mental scale and a gray blur jettisons itself from underneath the chair, coming up in mid stride running away from the pair with a long trail of blonde fluttering behind her.


"Pretty safe," confirms Nate. "I mean, they made public mutants hang out here, so it is a huge target for Purifiers and assorted scum, but the city takes airport security seriously and…" his comments are interrupted by Nerina's dash for the door. "Skittish, ain't she? Do you know who she is?" Since the security system is not going crazy Nate won't assume Nerina is an intruder yet.

It is not as if he believes she could escape them.


Even as Nate and Laura try to soothe any fears Nerina might have, that hasn't stopped Laura from keeping tabs on the hidden woman; by both scent and hearing, to say the least.

It's only when Nerina's scent changes from simple surprise/fear to something much more anticipatory, that X-23 tenses. She's smelled that particular scent before, it's the scent of someone getting ready to do something, usually attack, thankfully in this particular case it's going to be running.

Perhaps surprisingly to some, as soon as Nerina darts out of her hiding hole, X likewise moves, taking a step a second before the other woman moves. While not telepathic, that anticipatory scent from Nerina increased so much, that Laura knew she was about to make her move. So, because of that, both young woman are moving at nearly the same time. Any furniture in Laura's way will simply be vaulted over, as she plays catch the mouse with Nerina.

Nate's questions are ignored for now, as Laura focuses upon her target.


Nerina's bare feet pad briskly across the airport tiles as she flees, tracking by sound that only Laura is chasing her. There's a very small feeling of relief from that; the assassin she thinks she can handle, and despite her small frame, the blonde is setting anything but a slow pace - this isn't her first time running from something.

Cutting abruptly to the side, she dives over the second floor railing and tucks into a forward roll as she reaches the ground below, changing course towards the living area.


Nate eyerolls as Laura bolts without responding, and the blonde girl… what the hell? So, he just reaches for the minds of both young women and opens a telepathic channel. « So » he states in their minds, « is this some kind of game you are playing or am I supposed to believe an intruder has snuck in the terminal and was just longing around when we got here? It is too early for chasing people around. »


It's like some odd game of follow the leader, as X-23 likewise vaults over the railing, her knees bending to cushion her landing, as she drops downward towards the first floor.

And while she could have continued the chase, she pauses now, as Nate's words ring in her head. Slowly, the slim assassin will rise upward from that half-crouch of hers. Her green-eyed gaze will look back upward towards the second level, where Nate still stands.

« It is not a game. » Comes her mental voice, which sounds unsurprisingly like her spoken voice, with very little inflection, « I intend to stop her to remind her we know one another. »

It's just not perhaps the best way to remind someone they know each other, even if it's just fleeting in some ways.


A cold chill passes down the fishwife's spine. « Che diavolo, you're a telepath!? » For better or worse the fleeing blonde doesn't think in English but the intent of her Italian is easy to guess. Nerina skids to a halt and makes a quarter spin to look back towards Laura, and distantly at Nate. She casts a cold blue-eyed glare in his direction and even makes an especially rude fist-pump to give gesture to her thought. « Stay out of my head Trasgressore, and leave me alone! »

With that, the blonde goes back to running. Laura's presence nearby is being forgotten, overshadowed by the looming mental image of Nate still upstairs and the shortest path to the next exit. The green-eyed assassin behind her isn't the only one who constructed a mental map.


Nate lets Nerina hear Laura and vice-versa, and certainly not staying out of the running blonde's head, this is too amusing. « I am a telepath. And also an X-Man, and you are in the red team headquarters so I am not an intruder. You also know Laura, apparently. You are being very silly. Also, it is freezing outside and you are not even wearing shoes. So, unless you have murdered Wanda or something, stop running. »


While Laura could start running again, she doesn't, instead she watches the other rather short woman. At both Nerina and Nate's words, Laura will likewise add, « He speaks the truth. » Again in that flat mental voice of hers and then she'll add, « It is safe here and so are we. If we wanted to hurt you, you would already be dead. » Not just hurt, but you know, dead. Those words might not be the best or most helpful at the moment, but this is X-23, and rarely does she pick up on social cues very quickly.

She continues to watch the fleeing woman, even as her brain logically goes through how she could potentially stop the woman, as she passes the various furniture of X-Red HQ.


Not hearing Laura chasing her again should be a relief but somehow it's just annoying instead. Nerina grits her teeth as she realizes her thoughts aren't only being heard but broadcast and stops only when she reaches the front door, with her thin fingers gripping the handle. "Trasgressore del diavolo, del cerchio più basso!" She shoots caustically, trusting Nate's powers to carry her voice to its intended recipient. "There is nothing safe about a man who reads my thoughts on his whim and can throw me through a wall with his mind - mutante male!"


« It was not a whim, it was you running away » notes Nate, and definitely Laura can hear him laughing. « Anyway, not my fault I was born / created in a lab by evil scientists - like this. Now get back here so we can talk like normal people » Or rather, the ladies can find him in the kitchen, making coffee.'


There is silence from Laura, for a long minute, well, perhaps a short minute for the slim assassin; since she's so often quiet. Finally, however, when Nerina has finished her shouting and Nate has finished his laughing retort, will Laura speak.

"If you cannot trust him then you cannot trust me." She begins, her voice rising in volume so that Nerina can easily hear her, "I was likewise created by a lab."

Then, she waits, the only overt movement from her being her breathing, and her green eyes.


"Not in this lifetime or my next one," Nerina refutes firmly. Her coral gaze falls on Laura softer, without the vitriolic hate she's so readily directing at Nate. No doubt there's a story behind it but it's one her mind is keeping tightly sealed - dark memories and a scream seep out from deep within her psyche but through mental effort, nothing else. "If you're done chasing me then I am gathering my things, leaving, and staying gone."

Turning fully around, she shoves her hands into her pockets and walks back towards the living quarters, passing close by Laura in the process. "Mutante like him belong on a mountaintop, comprende?"


Nate grumbles irritated and drops the mind-link. "Funny finding that kind of attitude here," he comments, although mostly just for Laura since he is not bothering shouting. "But good riddance," he is not bothering to pry the exact reasons Nerina has to hate telepaths. And since the blonde was running out before she knew anything about his powers even though she does know Laura, he assumes she wasn't supposed to be here anyway.


Laura will watch Nerina skulk back towards her and the living areas and when the girl is close enough to her, and says what she has to say, Laura will allow the faintest of frowns to tug her lips downward.

"You are wrong." She says, voice edging towards robotic. "He is good. He has helped many people." Which includes Laura, though she doesn't quite say that out-loud.

"You do not have to like his powers, but you cannot condemn him for them." She continues, her voice continuing to lose what little emotional cues it held within it, "Not until you know him, otherwise, you must condemn me for the people I have willingly killed." And while she gives no overt sign that she heard Nate, she did, thanks to her sensitive ears.


"I can and I will," Nerina refutes sotto voce as she pauses beside the assassin, a familiar gaze locking green to blue. Her eyes are missing their animalistic slits and their gleaming bronze but the topic of conversation hasn't brought her warmest nature to the fore. "You did not rush me with your claws and tear off my clothes, and that would be /better/," she states, mimicking Laura's contractionless speech a little. "You cannot even know when he is in your head - there is nothing to trust."


That is quite the speech for Laura. Which Nate semi-heard in his way to the kitchen. "Why do you care, Mouse?" He asks genuinely curious. It is not what he usually sees from the socially impaired and usually detached brunette.


Again that slight frown from Laura can be seen, to both pinch her eyebrows closer, and bring the corners of her mouth downward. "You cannot know when he is in your head." She says in agreement, which might not help the case, but Laura is nothing if not honest, "But you must trust he is not - he would not do that." She continues with, even as her gaze now transfers from Nerina to Nate.

It's Nate's question that causes Laura to now fall much more mute, as she gives him a long silent stare.

If he reaches out to her mind he'll find her trying to find the words as to why she cares. It's not something she's used to thinking about and it's enough to silence the slim assassin. Finally, however, words are found and the little Mouse says, "You are my friend."


"He did, twice - once after I told him to leave," Nerina nearly spits, turning to give Nate a glare he can see before spinning sharply towards the living quarters and resuming her walk. "Il vostro gusto in un amico è un peccato." Remembering the raven-haired mutant's passable fluency in Italian, the blonde leaves what she hopes is a parting remark.


"Most telepaths," mentions Nate with a smirk, "can understand all languages. Because the language center of the brain is pretty easy to tap into," and thinking in Italian doesn't help either. "Anyway, Laura is still getting the hand to this friendship bonding thing, so she is blameless."


At this point, Laura has nothing more to add, so she once more goes mute.

Her green eyes will follow after Nerina for as long as she can see her, before that gaze of hers transfer to Nate.

There's a question in her eyes, but that question has yet to be spoken, as Laura tries to figure out just how where this all went wrong.

For those just joining the fray, Laura and Nate are standing near one another on the first floor, while Nerina is making her way back towards the living quarters, where the team's rooms are.


Storm is not a hard figure to miss, not when her approach does not come in a stride, instead she lands before the doors from flight and steps within casually once those fabricated extensions of noir wings settle to drag along the ground behind her like a cloak to royalty.

Fitting enough.

Thigh high boots are lined in silver edging, a match to that from the loop residing just beneath plexus, keeping the stretch of lusterous black fabric bound. Sides are exposed along the curvature of waist and hips, but covered with the fall of fabric extensions.

Slowly, strands of white fell fromt heir rise that gave the Kenyan woman a tall risen mohawk, then rested to one side exposing the barren-ness of scalp on only half. Piercing blue eyes sweep over the level and pause upon Nate and X upon the finality of Nerina's words as she steps away in a huff.

"Pardon, did not mean to interrupt…." Whatever this was..? Never know with the younger ones.

Within one hand a folder is tapped agaist thigh.


Nerina doesn't offer another words as she disappears into the room beside Wanda's a shuts the door behind her. Its lock clicks. If Nate is still peeping, he'll catch a brief thought as the sound of Storm's voice distantly reaches the fishwife's ears. « Great, another rat… »


Nate is not listening telepathically, but his empathy catches some of the feelings around. Like Laura's confusion. "Relax, Laura. Some people are genuinely weird or full of prejudices. You gotta learn avoid them," then he blinks when he spots the white-haired woman. "Storm? Well… didn't expect to see you here. But Wanda and Doug are not around, neither are any of the others," whoever they are. Nate rarely saw the X-Red people. "Coffee?" He offers. Just made and all.


While her mind struggles with her question, Laura will turn her attention away from Nate, and now onto Storm. She heard the telltale sounds of the women's arrival and so, isn't much surprised by her appearance. It's only when Nate answers that unformed question of Laura's, that the slim assassin will offer the faintest of nods. It doesn't quite answer her questions, per se, but it's enough. For now.

"Storm." Laura will offer in the way of greetings with typically flat voice of hers. Thankfully, Nate will answer that half asked question of the elder woman's, since it's likely Laura wouldn't have known what exactly to say to that. Perhaps she'd have said yes, she was interrupting, thanks to the dark-haired young woman's literal interpretations of everything.

Even as she keeps her attention between Nate and Storm now, Laura will continue to listen for the signs of Nerina and where she may be, and what she's doing.


"Prejudice is an outdated emotion based of fallacy and your own will to be difficult. Though, I find it all around shocking coffee is being had here, and prejudice is being spoken of within these walls as well. Considering what they once held and stood for." Cool, calm. Storm's words are even and neutral despite the obvious distaste in expression that fades with Nate's offering of coffee, declined with a light shake of her head.

"I came bearing a letter from Valerie Cooper, our DEO liason, to the holders of this property." Meaning interrupting or not Storm is here on the business they all are aware of. Elaboration is not given but can easily be concluded with the way things have lead up, as is. Doug and Wanda already spoken to with Nate present.

"I was not aware of another… resident." A pause and those eyes lift towards the locked door. "Do you have a name?"


The blonde has barricaded herself inside her room and judging by her parting words, she's not coming back out without all her things. If the room has a window she might not come out at all. Distantly, faintly, there's the sound of running tap water.


Nate does not know Nerina's name, so he directs a questioning glance to Laura. As well as a voiced, "no one wants coffee? Well, I definitely do," so he gets back into the kitchen area. Oh, he almost forgot, "what is the DEO up to now?"


Laura's head will cant slightly to the side as her sensitive ears will pick up the sounds of water running. "Nessuno." States the dark-haired assassin, as she continues to listen to the sounds coming from within that room. "That is what she has stated her name is." Answers Laura to Storm's verbal question and Nate's glance.

"I am uncertain if that is her true name." Is the last of what the slim assassin will add, as she looks between Storm and Nate a moment, before she steps away. She's going to find her way towards that door of Nerina's, though she doesn't try the lock, nor does she knock upon it. She just listens.


"If she wishes, she'll speak it herself and tell us what she wants us to know, or she'll keep running. Her choice to make." Storm just drops her eyes from Nerina's door and looks around, arms folding over her chest with the folder still gripped.

"Seeing as the DEO is backing the decisions made by Charles, and me enacting the plans for the school - nothing new. This is just more paperwork needing delivered." What goes on in the background is just that: Signed, sealed, and delivered.

"I do think your new friend should be a bit more amicable in her vagrancy." A small perk of brow with a rise of one corner of her lips.


Inside the bedroom is the rising pitch of a bottle being filled, followed by soft splashes as the blonde wets herself as well. The water cuts back off and bare footfalls paired with quiet thumps indicate the visitor truly is packing up her things. It only takes a minute or two before the door unlocks and reopens. Nerina's now fully dressed with boots on her feet, a jacket overtop of her sweater, and a backpack on her shoulders. Her coral eyes blink when she finds Laura in her doorway and for a moment, the blonde offers a fond grin; it's not a completely unwelcome surprise. The expression only lasts a moment though as looking past her, she sees Nate again as well as the tall Kenyan nearby.

Hefting her bag and straightening her hood, the young fishwife tries to scoot past Laura and make her way towards the exit.

--

Nate is all the way back into the kitchen, although Nerina can still hear him. "Uh… I would be shocked if the DEO is not trying to screw us in some way. Or in every way. Like for instance trying to corral all the mutants in the school, which means closing down this and the Nest."


It may seem like Laura isn't going to move, but she will, once Nerina steps out of her doorway. The grin from the other woman is seen and while Laura doesn't necessarily offer a smile back, she will at least dip her head in an acknowledgement.

Unlike others, however, she doesn't plead for Nerina to stay, instead the slim assassin will follow in Nerina's wake. Only when Laura is back near Storm, will the dark-haired young woman stop. It seems she's planting herself right next to Storm (and thereby Nate), as she watches the blonde young woman make her way to the exit.

The exchange between Storm and Nate about the DEO is heard, but for now, it's simply shuffled to the back of her mind.


"This? Yes, as we are consolidating. The Nest will be having further uses, but I have to speak with its proprietor, Nancy." Nate's skepticism and defensiveness warrants a small smile that dwindles as Nerina shows herself.

"I think you are giving Charles and myself too little credit with these matters, not the DEO." A finality in Storm's tone as her gaze shifts towards the kitchen and then to Laura as she stops beside her. Storm is not going to plead, it is not in her nature, nor in her agenda. She is a spokesperson, A Goddess, and a leader. Teaching those you wish to follow you to grovel is not a thing. Especially if the person in question bears prejudice to a world about to open up.

"Opening our doors is going to open a floodgate."


The nod is all Nerina needs as she passes by the group, the assassin tagging along at her heel, at least partway. She pauses long enough to look strangely at Storm and cast her gaze slowly over the woman's outfit - or lack thereof. The fishwife tugs the collar of her jacket in for added warmth and resumes her walk to - and through - the front door.


"I think sometime Xavier has some weird ideas," comments Nate, leaning against the doorframe of the kitchen with a mug of coffee. "He needs more skepticism and more fallback plans and hideouts no one knows about. We, hrm…" he should try to come up with plans, but he is not good. Mental note: ask Illy. "Maybe expand the X-Bunker so all the students could fit in, and connect it to the Morlock tunnels."


Laura will watch Nerina escape through the front door and when the other woman exits, the slim assassin can't help but frown again. It's still the slightest of expressions, but it's there, and it's enough that Laura will turn her attention inward.

She'll stay closed inside herself for a few seconds, before she finally focuses back out. Her gaze will then flick to Storm and Nate a moment, considering what both are saying. She could offer some pointers on how to best prepare for opening the school to the public, but, for now, she doesn't.

Instead she just stands there, mute Laura.


"No one is flawless, but that's why he has a team and those he trusts. Kings and Queens have courts and tables for reasons." As Nate speaks on her eyes seem to focus upon him, then drop to that of X-23 beside her.

"Expansion is an obvious must," Hence the mention already of the Nest. "But we are not opening our doors to foce people to live back underground, unless it is by choice." The mention of the Morlock Tunnels is a possibility but only one on a need-to basis, as even there, more diplomacy will be required. Not all Alliances are solid.

The long look from Nerina warrants the attention of the taller Nubian woman in return. "The doors will be open soon enough, and already are if the minds within the bodies are." A slight ift of chin and Storm once more looks to Laura and Nate. "Even to suggestions."

With that, Storm heads back out the way she came, as well, even if it is on Nerina's own exiting path. "I have this delivery to make and meets to attend. I have not seen our little Penny colored forest dweller. Hope she is well." A glance to Laura with a small smile and Storm is gone.

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