Not a Mouse but a Wolverine

June 04, 2017:

Nate returns to X-Force's HQ and meets Laura Kinney again. A more mature and assertive Laura.

X-Force HQ under the Grain Elevator - NYC Port


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Cyclops Ravager


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

At returning from Africa a badly wounded Nate went straight to the X-Force hideout. Dr. Corben was there, but not Ripclaw. The doctor patched him up, which involved removing burned off hair, treating the burns in face at neck, and removing shrapnel from his hands and arms. Fighting Sentinels was… fun.
So Nate has changed a bit since Laura last saw him. Hair is short to an almost buzzcut. A few more scars. He is also an inch or two taller. It has been a few months. He smells to ice and fire, which is weird unless you consider he was in a battle in the Antarctic just a few hours ago.
But then again, Nate has done weirder.
Back to the Elevator now. Looking for coffee and looking for Ripclaw. In no particular order.

I had been so long since Laura had been here, and she is a much smaller shadow behind Ripclaw who had healed enough to walk on his own and guide her back…
A look upward along the abandoned rise of the Elevator, those eyes a dim red in the rising sunlight peering from behind the massive structure. Lowering she watches him enter and with a flare of nostrils as well as a curl of fingers in the wrapped and gloved hands she is on the ready as they step within, but her dragging up the rear in a slow fashion…. She really should go home, but what was there for her was the same as what is here right now.
Dropping into the structure with him though, as Ripclaw ambles on before her, still slightly weakened, still adjusting, she pauses before the opening to their den and listens as well as scents.

Ripclaw has seen better days and worse days. His walk is that of a wounded man, one hand around his waist and the bandages there while the other hangs at his side, "Just a little further in. You're safe here." He assures Laura, "Cyberdata won't come here. It's off the grid and it has far too many defenses." His crimson eyes scan the building, doors open for him and then shut behind them, he can smell coffee before he is even in the room with Nate. Doctor Corben is usually at the bar but since Ripclaw returned and Nate has been showing oddly enough the old man is hanging around once more, his liqour can travel. Chip McNally isn't around though, hes been scarce. Last Corben knew he found a girlfriend and took C.C. with him. Timmie was more than happy to hang out here with Corben though, its kind of sad really that the little robot boy waits around on everyone. "Nate?" Robert questions before turning a corner.

“Yeah, it is me,” Nate felt Ripclaw’s mind once he was close enough, and that he is not alone. The companion is familiar but Nate doesn’t realize who exactly until he leaves the kitchen area and spots Laura. “Laura, you are back!” He grins and slips past the larger mutant to give Laura an enthusiastic hug. “You look good, little Mouse. Missed you.”

Laura had stayed in the shadows until Ripclaw told her it was okay.
Inch by inch, shadows peel away and the steps of boots follow up with the fitting foem of black pleather pants bearing silver lining up their sides to the low embrace along slender waist that only contours deeper in a honed hour-glass shape that climbs over rips and is concealed by a matching black on silver halter. Eyes masked by the blackness, leaving them red in their search, and stepping from the shadows they glowed there, but faded in the light that comes behind Ripclaw. A sudden sieze when the name is called forth and….
Laura smiles lightly, but huffs as she is swept up into the hug, peering over Nate's shoulder at Ripclaw. She should have known!
A flicker and then the embrace is returned, but a hand slaps the back of Nate's buzzed head, uncaring of his burns. He can take it!
"I am no Mouse. Down!" Mouse. Wants. Down!
"Missing people is necessary sometimes." More than one word??
Hell froze over.

"Good." Ripclaw replies to Nate. The man moves in and uses the fridge to keep himself propped up, the blood soaked bandage across his abdomen almost completely crimson now but he isn't still bleeding. Its just sopped up everything.
A grunt and a shove off he opens the door, claws *click* closed around a beer and the top portion is scissored by his thumb-blade.
"Mouse? That is not an animal I would connect to this little warrior." Ripclaw says calmly, "No. That is doing her a dishonor. She saved my life last night." The 'smack' has his dark eyebrows both rising up, "Corben around?" A sniff, "Nevermind he is in his lounge." Ripclaw can smell the nicotene and booze.

Nate chuckles, letting Laura feet back on the floor. His smile is genuine, but touched by sadness. “I don’t enjoy missing people,” he admits. “Necessary my ass,” that is his opinion to Laura’s self-discovery absences, or missions alone. Or whatever she wants to call them.
Keeping an arm around the slight girl shoulders, he peers at Ripclaw, noticing he is about as beaten up as himself, if not worse. Cyberdata? Of course it was Cyberdata. They really have it for him. Sighing, he nods as the older man responds his own question.
“Hmm. She is quiet as mouse. Small as a mouse. Harmless-looking like a mouse,” points out Nate. “No, it she is not a mouse… but it was fun to tease her when all she did was huff and look at me oddly.” He looks at Laura. “But I think you are past that, hmm?” He steps back. “What are you up to, Laura?”

"It is necessary, though." Now, there it is. That still and curt response the old Laura used to give as she is set back upon her feet and looks sidelng at Nate. Finally a studious glance at him - nothing said. Not the time. She is the only one that oes not look like hell.
Not rubbing it in!
Or not dwelling on it.
"Saving lives." To answer Nates final question, fingers wrapped in black leather, almost fingerless pulling the mask from her face to bleed red to green in contrary hues, but this one bears pupils.
Who and what she is, is not brought to the table, but Nate's question on what is past gets him a slow nod.
A dart of eyes from him to Ripclaw. "Alcohol thins blood." A tilt of head towards Nate and then the maker. "Coffee."
Slow brow perk above that bright green gaze. Do argue this…

Ripclaw takes a long chug of the beer. "I'm not bleeding anymore. Don't worry." He tells Laura, doing his best to stay on the sidelines, not wanting to interrupt the reunion between Nate and Laura, perhaps he was gone longer than he thought or people simply do not keep touch when they are close. He isn't sure. The big man, walks around to the other side of the kitchen and lifts himself up to sit on the lip of the cabinets. Feet still touching the ground at the toes. "Thank you for the concern though, Laura."
"She took a SHOC by herself. It was quite the show."

Nate grabs two mugs and pours the coffee, offering one to Laura. Sugar and milk are left on the counter for her preferences. He is not sure if Laura ever liked coffee, can’t remember. It was hard even to get her to eat in company.
“Laura is a damn good fighter,” points out Nate, unsurprised at Ripclaw statement.
“But I came to tell you…” he hesitates. Where to start? “Rose is not coming back. Not now. Maybe not ever. And I am going to be rather busy, the X-Men are on the warpath, Robert, and Genosha is a big, ugly target, long overdue. But I will try to be around, I promised to help you end Cyberdata and I intend to fulfill my word.”

A flash of jade towards Ripclaw, and with it there comes a flicker along the bridge of nose in a crease of distaste. "You smell of copper pennies." Laura states in her pointed leer. "Then shred the bandages." Challenging him in that statement.
No. No mouse. A Wolverine. One who turns a pointed look of question to Nate.. Who leaves her standing with a mug she takes the few steps forward to slide to Ripclaw. Prove it.
"They did not die, only crawled…" A murmur that fades at Nate's words and the mention of Genosha and X-Men.
"I knew if I did not ask, you would talk." A menton to Nate's state. Time and Place. Now there is more then 3-5 syllables leaving Laura's lips again. Nate's proclamation is enough to draw those shoulders a bit more square.
"How long?" A queston of time for Ripclaw and Cyberdata's return. She made a promise and will not leave if soon.
Don't lie.

"That is because I need a shower." Ripclaw counters Laura.
"I don't deal in definites unless her spirit has passed on. You say never and I have to ask you to show me a body and even then they can still return." A nod from Robert as he watches Nate, "I hope for their sake they have this planned out and it is not a suicide. Genosha is a country. Cyberdata is much less but I can admire your stance and I will always welcome you in battle, Nate."
The bottle is actually finished by the time Ripclaw takes another drink, it then *thuds* in to the waste bin with an easy lob.
"X-Men's duties are not greatly different from my own but warpath is. I imagine it will be a time coming, maybe a good time for you to consider your own soul in the meanwhile, Nate. There is a new darkness about you. A festering anger you're keeping below the surface again." Yes. Ripclaw is an empath.

Nate winces at Ripclaw words, but nods. “Yes. And no. Rage has been with me since before my world died. Rose was the remedy to keep it down. Now I will have to turn the rage into my strength again. It is toxic, but it is powerful.” He sips his coffee, and leaves the mug on the table. “Genosha is a country, but because of that, it is much more vulnerable than Cyberdata. I am sure my fa… Cyclops’ plan is sound, man is quite the tactician, and we have support from other agencies. I’d worry about my soul later, when it is over.”
Flashing a last smile to Laura, he heads out. “I am going to check out something with Corben and I will send him here, so he can see Robert. I’ll talk to you two later.”

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