Dinner at X-Force's

May 27, 2017:

Nate invites Illyana for dinner at X-Force old hideout. To his surprise Ripclaw drops by. And a recovering Rose does too.

X-Force HQ

Rundown underground complex under the grain elevator in the NYC port

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Shadowcat

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

“If you see me in serious danger, pull me away. Otherwise just watch.”
“If they manage to kill me, rain fire and brimstone on my enemies. And save Rose.”

That was what Nate asked Illyana a few hours before going after Waller. Little explanation given, which made the blonde witch definitely displeased with Nate. She was still angry with him when she brought Val Cooper to Limbo. Not so angry not to advise him how to lie to Cooper and Scott first.

Now, a day or two later, he has invited her to join him at the rundown underground compound that was a year or two ago the X-Force hideout. Despite his efforts cleanup it some, only the kitchen and the medical lab are looking well. Nate brought Chinese food and plenty of alcohol, and there is recently made coffee steaming by the counter.


Ripclaw has been back in New York for less than a week. He is tired and weary but the company is not entirely unwelcome, especially when it brings with it food. The crimson eyed unaturally pale Native American could smell the food from his own room.
Broad shouldered, long haired, hawk nosed and fierce looking with his bio-cybernetic claws. Contrary to his appearance the shamanistic cyborg is a very calm and peaceful man.
"Nate. It is good to see you. Do I smell won-tons?" A stomach growl is hopeful.


Nate is lucky Illyana turns up at all.

She'd assumed that when he asked her to be ready to pick him up, he'd have an actual plan. What started as the occasional glance in her scrying pool became a furious circling of the pool as bad decision piled on bad decision, while Illyana's demons made a concerted effort to be somewhere else. And when she heard the threat made against the school?

Illyana was incandescent.

When it was all over, Nate got a piece of Illyana's mind. Not to mention a baleful instruction to leave even her tangential involvement out of any account he gives of the situation.

Even then, she still allowed him the use of Limbo for his attempt at 'peace talks'. It's probably not a surprise to find out that Illyana's not best pleased with how that went, either. She definitely gave thought to not answering this latest summons… but the thought of what he might get up to for a third act WITHOUT having any advance warning tipped the balance for Illyana.

A circle of light appears on the floor of X-Force's former hideout, and the demoness rises out of it. She looks around her surroundings before fixing her eyes on Nate. "You passed up Limbo for this place? I'm hurt." She glances over at Ripclaw, not even a flicker of surprise in her eyes at his unusual appearance. "Hi."


Holy crap, Ripclaw! And the Native American almost sneaked up on him. Nate needs sleep soon, it has been several days. “Man, good to see you,” he stands up to offer the older mutant and firm handshake. “I had no idea you were back. Come and join us.” He gestures to the black-clad blonde, “Illyana, a good friend of mine. Illy, this is Robert. We have fought together many times; he is a good man to have around when bullets start flying.”

He smiles weakly at the blonde sorceress. “My, aren’t you demanding? Not everyone can have a castle and an army of servants. We do have much better food than in Limbo, though.” There does not seem to be any third act of crazy, Nate just invited her to have dinner.


Illyana's arrival sets off the more preternatural senses Ripclaw hosts, magic. He can smell it and something more. Something darker. A nose curl and he ducks his head in a calm nod to her, "Hello." The shadows of this gloomy place play well with him, they obscure his body, wrap around him and make him look almost more animal than human.

The atmosphere quickly alters as Nate almost cheerfully takes his hand in a shake, "You as well. Friend is all I need to hear."

"I prefer to be around when the bullets are not flying as well. Illyana, a pleasure." Politely he offers, "I like your name." Invited to join them he steps forward that bio-metal claw releases Nate's handshake.


"Then you're clearly not trying hard enough." Illyana tells Nate, sniffily. Definitely not forgiven. But as irritated with him as she is, she's not feeling rude enough to ignore his introductions.

Illyana frowns a bit when Nate describes her as a friend. And as for it being all Ripclaw needs to hear? Illyana snorts quietly to herself. "He's been doing his best to stretch the definition, but I suppose it still works."

The blonde Russian wanders over to the counter and turns around, boosting herself up to sit on it, close enough to inspect Nate's catering. "Thanks." She replies, equally politely. "Nice to meet you too. Assuming…" She smirks with a touch of dark humour, "…you're here to keep him out of trouble, not get him into more."


“Illy is furious at me because I got into some trouble with the D.E.O.” Mentions Nate. He is mildly amused the blonde channels her worry into anger. He flops down on a chair and starts opening food packets. “Rose is in the med-lab, the doc just got a bomb out of her body so she needs to recover, she will be happy to see you again, though. She needs every friend she has around, the last few weeks have been pretty bad for her.”


"I am?" Ripclaw looks confused at what Illyana is saying about trouble. "I admit I'm rather clueless to anything going on with any of the former team right now, especially you, Nate. If you're tangling with the D.E.O. directly she has reason to be alarmed." The whole reason Ripclaw sports metallic claws is he screwed up in the very beginning, "Not that I can say much. We're not exactly a bunch of legals down here." Wanted men and women? Welcome to Cyberforce.


Illyana's cold blue eyes send Nate a flat look. She's definitely of the opinion that there's nothing intrinsically amusing about the fact that she's annoyed with him.

The Russian only stops glaring at Nate when Ripclaw apparently comes down on her side of the argument. "THANK you." She tells him sweetly, and favours him with a smile. "It's nice to know I'm not the only person Nate talks to who has some sense." The look she throws Nate is more than slightly smug. If she wasn't so mature she'd stick her tongue out at him.

"So what did you want to see me about, Nate? I'm pretty sure it wasn't just to feed me Chinese." It doesn't mean she's not going to eat it, of course.


“Actually it was pretty much to invite you to have some food with me,” protests Nate. “And show you the place where I am going to lurk the next few months. As far as I know I am not officially wanted yet, but neither was Rose and she was imprisoned anyway. Law and justice is something that happens to other people. No big deal, I am used to be a fugitive.” He shrugs and picks a bottle of wine, pulling out the cork telekinetically. Then he realizes he forgot the glasses, so the young man stands up to hunt them down through the cabinets. “When she is feeling a bit better I am taking Rose off country for a few days. She needs some stress-free time.”


"You know this is the right place for that outlook, Nate." Ripclaw himself is a fugitive. "We are outlaws but we are home." An easy wave around him at the mess, "It looks like Corben and Timmie are being careless with the place though… " Another of those nose curls. Having augmented senses is not always what its cracked up to be but then again… a wonton is picked up and teeth crush down in to it.

"I'll take what compliments I can get." He offers after a bite and a swallow to Illyana.

"I get back and you all leave? Unfortunate."


Really? Nate's only invited her here to offer an olive branch in the shape of free dinner? Illyana's surprised. And still suspicious. "I'd tell you to get someone in to renovate the place, but if you're lurking I guess you'll just have to live with it." She shrugs. "Let me know if you want me to drop off some paint and maybe some rat poison." The place probably isn't quite that bad, but Illyana does like to be dramatic.

Slipping down from her perch on the counter, Illyana retrieves a glass from Nate, pours herself some wine, then finds a seat and begins picking through the food on offer. "I'd say I didn't want to know where you were going, but someone's going to ask me to look for you sooner or later." Or maybe she'll get curious on her own.


“Just a few days,” says Nate nodding to Ripclaw. Then he smiles to Illyana. “Well, I do have some action in mind when we are in Africa. End the break with a bang. A little work for you and a little work for Kitty. Should be interesting. But I am not sure yet if it will work out, so maybe it will be all cocktails at the beach. You could join us for that, too.” He pours himself wine, too, and sips.


Ripclaw doesn't comment further on the headquarters. The Elevator serves its purpose.

"We're fine. Thank you." A polite smile.

"Do you want to tell me what is going on with Rose and the Department. Why we're in this situation now?" A fortune cookie is pushed aside with three others, plastic of them crinkling. They always make him chuckle. A good novelty though. "I or Illyana could join you for that? You likely would rather see her in beach clothes. Not me." Sun is almost reflective off of his chalkwhite skin and he lacks Magiks obvious assets. "This isn't just running away from something is it? Running more often than not solves nothing."


Some action in mind? End the break with a bang? And he has some work for her and Kitty? Illyana makes sure to finish swallowing her sip of wine, and even puts the glass down, before holding up a finger in a 'wait one damn minute here' gesture.

Which gives Ripclaw an opening to get in ahead of her. "Running away might have been a better idea than his LAST plan." Illyana mutters, mostly to herself, but loud enough to be sure that Nate can hear her, too.

"Full disclosure, Nate. What exactly are you getting us into, and how big a bang are we talking about? Because cocktails on the beach are sounding like a better option."


“As I said, Rose really needs to get away for a bit,” notes Nate, munching his food quickly. “As for what happened, well, an asshole in the D.E.O. decided he wanted Rose working for her, so she put a bomb in her head and then brutalized her to the point she is almost broken. She used to tell me everything, but it has been so bad she refuses to say much of what has happened… I guess it is even worse than I thought. Talk to her, please, I think she might confide to you what she doesn’t dare to tell me. She is trying to protect me, I guess.
And Nate just lost his appetite, but more wine sounds like a good idea.”

Illyana get and headshake. Plans are half-formed only, he needs to hear back from Kitty. “Ask me tomorrow. I don’t know yet.”


"Do I?" Rose stands there, leaned against a framing, arms folded over her chest, hands rested on bare biceps in the cross, forearms pressed against her chest that is covered in a massive white 'T' backed tank top that is obviously someone elses. Same goes for the sleep pants that are hanging in part over her feet as the cuff-n-roll is coming undone.

"I however could disagre in the beach clothes department… You could use some sun." A glance to Ripclaw, Rose's voice waver then falls flat. A huffed exhale passes in the stead of how she really wanted to lunge and hug the massive man, but instead she stole his jammies to make her getaway last night. They smell like smoke, booze and sweat.

You're welcome.
Welcome back.

The nape of her neck is gauzed but unseen beneath the fall of white hair. "Broken is a word for something that doesn't have the will to stand up anymore or exist. I just don't want to do it alone…. sober. There's a difference."


Robert's quietly listening to the two of them while he chews with his mouth closed. He may be a 'feral' mutant but hes not without manners. A curl of his lips and he speaks around a bite that is going down, white sharp teeth visible again, "I am going to assume Illyana is a confidant and we can speak freely in front of her. You did bring her down here after all and I am curious, what your plans are Nate. You say you are taking Rose away but what then? " Just as the Russian woman has asked.

Then Rose cuts in.

Food forgotten the tall man walks over to the white haired mercenary and scoops her up in a quick but affectionate hug. Actually lifting her a few inches off of the ground. "You look horrible, you look better than I feared but you could definitely do better about yourself."


Illyana smirks when Ripclaw mentions her assumed status here. "Bit late if I'm not…" She offers as as quiet aside, sounding amused. And then he goes and asks Nate the same question she does, more or less. She might have to decide to like Ripclaw. It's nice to have company when you're banging your head off the brick wall that is Nate Grey, sometimes.

And of course, Nate has no plan. Illyana shoots him a not particularly friendly look that has 'REALLY?' written all over it. The only reason she doesn't say that, and probably more, is the sudden appearance of Rose. Now, Illyana caught a glimpse of her in her scrying pool, but up close, she has to admit… the woman looks terrible.

"I'm slightly less angry with you, Nate." Illyana tells him, in an offhand sort of voice. "But your plan STILL sucked." She glances across at the ongoing reunion, then shrugs and decides not to interrupt.


Nate’s heart skips a beat when he feels Rose’s presence. She is awake and… listening. “You are still sanding, lover, but almost…” he draws breath sharply and stands to help her coming to the table, smiling when Robert hugs her. “I am not going to leave you alone for a while. Come, we have Chinese and plenty of booze.”
Why is everyone asking him about his plans? They know him! ‘Nate’ and ‘plans’ are not two words that come together often. “I guess now you are back we are hitting Cyberdata again? Otherwise I want to tackle Genosha. Soon.”
Now they might realize why he is going to East Africa.
He is going to poke into another wasp’s nest. Nate never learns.
“I trust Illy with my life. She is evil-ish, but she takes good care of her friends,” he adds.


So Rose wants to 'play it up', and not make the move and Ripclaw helps himself. His approach draws a visible tense, but when he hugs her she nearly clings to the massive man like a spider-monkey save the sagging pant-leg of his pajama's that is being kicked furitively.

He stepped on it and when hoisting her trapped a leg! *Kick-kick!* "You're as big as I remeber.." Neh, fuggit, one legged *cling* in the hug.

"You left. I hate you.." The hug is cling-tastic, Gsrfield window animals got nothing on the embrace even speeding 75MPH!

Illyana's words draw that mismatched gaze up first, peering over massive shoulder as a couple blinks take the expression of 'near-tears' away (she had the same for Timmy and Corben. A clear of throat seems almost like a low growl while fingers curl inward, hooked. "Who's this?"

Return, tension!

Nate's words, though do not have her lessening grip, nor shifting looks from protective EVIL EYE! "Trust with your life? Wait.." Beat. "Maybe you should let me know her name first…Lover." A perk of brow.

Nope, still there, clung like a childs animal leash to a massive pale man who could rip her off in pieces like a wind could blow. #Longhairdontcare.


"Yes, I have promises to keep in regards to Cyberdata but time and place. I must gather intel first and plan… " Robert replies to Nate's question about his return. "Genosha? That is another big fish. It is in the grand scope but not my immediate concern." He'll leave that to the likes of the X-Men. They already exposed the island for what it is, they have a better grasp on that battle.

"Evil ish? What is Evil ish? She is a fan of the Kardashians?" Crimson eyes roll to look Illyana over. He can already smell the unnatural about her, sense even, he like her is of a magical nature. At a much different scale. Shaman meet Sorceress of another Dimension, Dark Sorceress.

Rose is released from the hug and he steps away from her now. He actually has to chuckle and peel her free of him to get some personal space back, "I'm happy you're still with us, Rose. Even as you are fiesty as can be."


Any slim chance that Illyana might have had of getting Nate to appreciate the benefits of having an actual plan before haring off into danger once more clearly vanished as soon as Rose made her appearance. Illyana finds herself the only one left sitting down, and contrarily decides to stay that way, shifting sideways in her seat and throwing a leg over the chair's arm to orient herself with the ongoing fussing over Rose.

Nate's introduction causes Illyana to roll her eyes and flick a prawn ball at him. And then Ripclaw has to get in on the act. "And I was just starting to like you, too." She tells him, before finally looking up to meet Rose's stare. "'This' is Illyana. Nate uses me as his personal taxi service when he can't be bothered to walk." Illyana shifts her glance to Nate, with a smirk and a tilt of her head. "You never mentioned me? Not very nice, Nate."


"You… forgot Illyana?" Nate is stumped. Sure Rose never dealt much with the Illyana of this Earth, but they were best friends… long ago. In another life. Nate still remembers quite a bit of it, but Rose's memories seem to be getting worse and worse. "Illyana, this is my girlfriend Rose. Rose, this is Illyana. Illy is many things, sorceress, queen, mutant and fighter, and she is my friend."

And taxi. Sometimes! Nate can fly pretty fast.

"You hungry? Looks like Rip at all the won-ton, but plenty for rice and seafood and this thing that I don't know what it is." And they need to open another bottle of wine, or they can move on Scotch.


Rose is peeled away… Maybe.

Easy enough, when Ripclaw steps away she departs his presence with a reluctance shown in the flux of muscles beneath her own inked, pierced, scarred and *pale* flesh.

Rose won't ever be that clingy…
Lessons learned…

But that does not stop the breach of space between herself and Illyana that is only gapped by a lowering of lids in a narrowed stare as her words are assessed. "No. No mention, but that's okay." Something in those final two words does not back them up in truth. But if Illyana is who she is! - It's notable, readable, down to the body language as Rose stalks towards the offered opening near Nate, already opening the Scotch and filling glasses.

One for you…
Two for…

"You want to take me away… Now?!" Rose inquires then as she tugs a glass closer.

"Barley. A food group.. Carbs… Fed."


Robert gives a brief smile to Illyana, "You and I should speak sometime." This isn't a mutant or a Nate to Rose reason, this is more the, mystical aspect. That isn't easy to convey with words. It is a hunch at best right now but instinct and sensory is what the man's magical gifts rely upon.

"There are more. I like them but I left some for the rest of you." Robert corrects, manners are a big thing with him. He is a cultured beast.

"I am going to go check on Doctor Corben and the others. We'll all speak again soon."

A squeeze to the arm for Rose, a nod to Illyana and a pat on the shoulder to Nate and the Native departs back down that tunnel he'd first krept up on them from.


"If she forgot me, it's mutual. You're sounding like a crazy person again, Nate." At least Illyana's using a more friendly tone with Nate than she had been before, although there's a hint of warning in it.

"So you're the one who makes Nate so crazy he takes on the world to get you back?" Illyana asks the question lightly, as she meets the narrowed eye of Rose again. She purses her lips, then nods. "I can see it, I guess." So nice to know that Rose has apparently passed Illyana's inspection.

As the scotch comes out, Illyana's not slow to retrieve her glass, empty the wine in a single long sip, and then hold out the glass toward Rose. There's a faint smile as she does it. Is Rose going to drink with her, or keep treating her like she's a strange cat that's wandered into her territory. "He did mention a holiday." Illyana offers, conversationally. "I'd take the cocktails on the beach option, if it was me."

Illyana might say more, but tilts her head back to look up at Ripclaw as he moves to leave. "That might be fun. I'll show you my place. Nate loves it." A grin flickers across her lips, and she even gives him a little wave as he goes.


Nate smiles, relaxing visibly. He looks exhausted, and one might wonder how many sleepless nights is he going on at the moment. More than 3 and possibly less than 7. But Rose is alive and free, and among friends. He will sleep soon, and she won’t be alone.

A nod is given to Ripclaw when he leaves, and then he turns to Rose again. “I think we should do a little travelling and relaxing, a time in the beach, a safari trip, hunting down and beating up a few assholes,” he offers. “If all goes well we will be back in a week. If someone is looking for us, sure as hell it won’t be in Kenya.” And he considers pretty likely someone is looking for them right now. “You need to take it easy a few days after the surgery anyway. And I know you won’t do anything easy here.”

Nate looks at Illyana and opens his mouth, about to tell her all about the complicated walking about parallel Earths and that Rose is also from another place. But no… it can wait. “Yeah. ‘Love’ it. ‘Cause it feels just like the place where I was born.”


From: um.mocx|303t3erGehTet3N#um.mocx|303t3erGehTet3N
To: um.mocx|anitraMdeehkcoL#um.mocx|anitraMdeehkcoL
Sent: XX-XX-XX
Subject: Need some info

Hello, SadowC
This is Scion. Trying this email thing I have not used for a year. But the server is still reads secure and my pass was valid. So I think this works.
You might have heard I am now a ‘rogue mutant’ or something like that. Which is okay, I had planned for it.
(Don’t tell anyone I had planned anything, you would ruin my rep).
(Particularly do not tell the One-Eyed one).
Anyway, I found my hypothetical victim of bomb-in-the-head and a top-noch surgeon to help, so your help is not really needed in this matter. But due to the heat caused I am taking a few days off, I had always wanted to see East Africa, you see.
But I don’t know anyone in this area, so I wanted to ask you to get me contact info from Mutants Sans Frontiers or the X-Corp agents in this region. For the parties. We might also go hunting. Big game. Of Heavy Metal.
Thanks beforehand.

PS: If you absolutely need to talk with me in person Ms. RussianWitch can arrange for it.

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