Sugar for those without Spirits

June 14, 2017:

(Backdated Scene) Laura brings Gabby to the Elevator.

Characters

NPCs: Corben, Jonathon, Timmie, Gabby

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Gabby had been found by Nate and Illyana in the woods outside of Xavier's.

Gabby could only hide for so long and stay locked in X's room, so she wandered out and found… Jonathan, a baby wolverine whose cries had called her out, or so she claims in her banter after being told by Laura to head southwest and not stop.

It did not take Laura long to catch up and find the girl with the fuzzy creature in her clutches. A long and cool stare of those virescent eyes as Gabby… Gabs.
"Your friends seem nice. Why can I not meet them? What is that place? It is nice too… I want to do something, there was no one to "play" with, I smelled food, but not what you brought me. I did not like the gloppy soup (pudding). More of that floppy meat would have been…"
Laura did not need to verbally chide Gabby, the look was enough but then again Laura does not get Gabby… But she wihes she could.

An exchange of glances, one glazed over and damaged, the other clear, bright, and adoring that tiny fur ball in her arms, struggling to keep the tiny wolverine in check even if it bites her! "Where we going, now? Is it fun? Does it have…" A pause as Gabby and Laura stare at the high rise of the Elevator across the stretch of the drive overgrown in weeds from cracks in the concrete. "…. Spinny things I can ride… So no. Do they have better food, at least?"

Laura exhales in a huff and heads towards the elevator, Jonathan making noises akin to cussing and mutter-growls as Gabby struggles with him. Laura's hand snaps to the side, scruff the tiny beast, a light shake with her own growl offered from behind the flash of teeth and it quiets, blinking at her. Putting it on her shoulder a huff of air in exhale is all she offers as she looks to Gabby.

"I leave tomorrow, and there is a boy here I want you to meet…" And bring back to life…
This place and these people need it. "Race you?"

But the question instantly turns into a burst of speed that has booted feet beating a herald across concrete, and then silence even as she leaps from a trailer to another, a lift and pivot along rebar, extended cords that -bounce- and still as she crawls along their lengths.

Gabby watches, and then looks from Laura to the elevator, smiling broadly and joining in the race!The difference? One is smaller, and beneath Laura's hoody the attire is mismatched and colorful, a silent anti-camo VS. the stalking shadow.

Jonathan on the other hand is burying claws into the collar of Laura's leather jacket for his dear little fuzzy life!

The inside of the Elevator the past few visits has shown off a building in disarray, a mess. Old pizza and Chinese boxes littered the place, food stuffs from the Gas'n'Grub. Just a bachelor pad. Not a single person cleans in this place except Ripclaw every once in a while.

The lights along the walls are various, blankets, flags, road signs, its neat looking at least. Just collected things and junk that cleaned off in here becomes art. Used. The place smells like sage rolled through it and then candles were lit. Differing aromas.
It is not as though Robert is expecting anyone or Corben for that matter but the place needed to look lived in again and welcome. As if guests won't die when they enter.
A belch escapes Corben as he tries to crush a beer can fails and just drops it in the garbage.
"Recycling, old man." Ripclaw growls.
A sigh from Corben and hes leaning over with an exaggerated groan,"My back. I don't think I can reach it."
A head shake from Robert and he scoops the can free tossing it in to a garbage bin that was once a toxic dump barrel. A hand rises up claws splayed. "Shh." Scent… caught and Ripclaw grins a little, "I will go meet them."

Striding in to view is Ripclaw, loose button up shirt, white t shirt under, torn jeans, cowboy boots. He stops once he is staring at Gabby and the Wolverine, "Hello little cousin and young Laura… "

The entry of the Elevator is the target, but the two race in criss-crossed paths, but as they meet, sparks light in the night time before dawn, gabby only bearing one claw, central from her fist where Laura has the duality. But in passing, it is more like a high five! instead of a threat… Maybe?
Somewhere in between.

But Gabby giggles, jonathan looses a few transgressional growls and lashes of his own feral claws at them both (no sides taken!) and they descend down the path to the Elevator in a blur of speed and alacrity, sparks in mate, and landings akimbo, a splay of limbs, predatory and poised, but neither of them seem to breathe with exertion in utline, but nostrils are flared and those twin set of eyes are staring at one another.

Jonathan crawls down Laura's arm and runs in a manner akin to a flying carpet of ripples to Gabby. Winding up her arm he only stops before Ripclaw appears, its own tiny feral curses spat forth with a *puff* of tawny on gray downy fur.

Laura looks up, a piercing gaze through threads of black hair when Ripclaw appears, there is a shudder in poise and musculature, the tips of adamantium coated claws slowly leave the threshold and draw back up into the back of her hands, that thing layer of flesh reddening and gaining sensitivity.

A rise to her height and Laura stares at Ripclaw still, slowly passing the gaze of a reflective emerald to Gabby and kin, still having to look up. "You said Timmie is sad and in need of company. Gabby is… Almost the same.." A low murmur and a sweep of palm to the back of her neck as Laura tries to find the words.

"A friend the same?!?" Gabby has no cares and she regards Ripclaw with a bright smile as she attempts to just slip-on-by and in. Screw the parent at the door. Someone said SEGA?? Or TIMMIE. Jonathan for once is mute, beady black eyes staring up with a cock of head and flick of tiny rounded ears. Mehrr

"She should not be alone either." They look like kin, but Laura does not have the same "bright" to her smile, the same innocence to her eyes. "Jonathan… Is new." An exasperated exhale and Laura attempts a smile to Ripclaw, looking from him to Gabby as she shoves her way past with no cares.

"Timmy! I was told I need to meet you. Friends?!" Never mind the echo down the massive empty Elevator corridors, Gabby is following her nose. "I saw a thing where beaded things get made and worn, says so! Friends! You got milk? Thirsty…"

"Maybe it will help…" Laura had not one goddamn clue but the pieces of puzzles fit… Hammer and all.

"I see well, go… " They're past him and in, Ripclaw just grins, "On in." A hand remains on the door until Laura enters and then he will descend to find the sleeping android; if Gabby hasn't already. No he stands upright in the corner, head against the wall in a way that makes Robert wince, kneeling down he opens up the small forms back panel and pushes down on two buttons, twisting something and closing.
A power on sound.
Timmie lifts his head up and smiles at Ripclaw, "Hey Robert, is Chip home?"
Ripclaw shakes his head slowly, "Sorry Timmie."
"Oh." Timmie's shoulders slump.
"Laura brought a friend over for you though, two actually."
"Really!?" A spring in his step suddenly and hes racing off to join Gabby and Jonathon the Wolverine. The other other Wolverine.

A look through dark loose hair towards Laura, "Took so little to see him spark up again."

Laura has never actually seen Timmie like that, so Ripclaws concern makes her wonder, and at the same time makes her brows furrow in the thoughtful 'concern', a step back to lean against the wall in Ripclaw's shadow so as not to intrude. She would not want a stranger staring at her in such a state. Yes, even comparing self to the programmed boy.

But how programmed is Timmie when he bears a human attachment to Chip like such? Arms remain folded across her chest, the straps of leather fabric held in strings of leather laces and eyelets, so simple, so fitting.

Laura's head tilts as Timmie perks up though and zip passed to head towards Gabby who is already assaulting Corben with questions while Jonathan is making him have to fend the critter off his glass. The small quirk of lips does not waver as Ripclaw states how little… "Is it little?"

Maybe to people like "them", but when Laura's head cants she can hear the sudden banter and chatter of two youths programmed into their lives right now chattering in the fast forward languages they share. "Not to them." A small shrug and Laura pushes from her lean against the wall. "You do not mind, right?"

"Well, the idea of friends coming over for him was all it took." Ripclaw corrects, "That was little, your gesture is not. Gabby and Jonathon are welcome here as long as you need a place for them or as they wish to stay. He can already hear them engaging one another in play throughout the Elevator's 'Cyberforce' levels. "But you're correct, it is no little thing for them at all." Robert grins, his eyes studying Laura, "You leave to Genosha soon? Nate and the Russian girl with the demon scent on her as well I imagine." His own arms fold over his chest, he almost wishes to go with them but that is not his fight, he has his own path.

"Tomorrow night. Nate and Illyana come. Yes. There are words in whisper this is war we will bring." Laura seems little concerned for that at all, her head tilting as she listens to the two chitchatting in the childish banter of language shared in excitement and hyperactivity.

"They discovered her in the forest when she found… Jon," A gesture showing tiny in a pinch of fingers and a walk of them to show 'critter'. "But I cannot have her remain there, not if most of us she would meet will not be scents there for long after, if ever again." The shift of her eyes comes from the levels above, back to Ripclaw with a smile, undisturbed even by her own words and admission. "Gabby was bored. Alone. Like Timmie. Timmie will not leave them alone. For a change someone will wait for an X, or vice versa."

The slow nod has Laura looking at eye-level with Ripclaw, posture righting. "I will be back." No time limit, just that solid validation. "There is more to fight for. My missions are not done even after Genosha." Yep, passing it off like a pro!

"Likely Jon wished to be found if that is the case." Ripclaw won't question it, the animal did not seem wild, deranged or sickly.

"Your missions with the X-Men are noble. They're a much better cause and you will retain more of your self in these or… who you wish to be than what you would be doing with me. I cannot say I am eager for you to want to return and join me. I am after death. You shouldn't be so eager to continue that work with me… " The laughter of children, though one a cloned 'sister' of a killing machine and the other an android is both heartwarming and a dark reminder.

Laura listens and blinks slowly at Ripclaw, only one brow seems to dip just over the bridge of her nose. Straightening then, Laura's demeanor shifts just enough to straighten everything about her, even the fall of hair down her back to poise in alignment above the ground, barely missing contact with the contours of her figure. Sculpted there and poised to set in the heat.

"None of us have to kill." A breath, but even the X-Men in all their 'nobility' admit: "I will if I must. Me or them? It will be me. It just has to be right for once. My choice." Honesty, pure and unadulterated, without thought.

But not as pure as the sounds above. "Don't worry. She's everything I can never be. They're all safe." Those woulds should suck to say, but Laura even seems assured by them.

"You want me to not, then?" Both brows lift then as she watches him and waits. A step back and X turns to walk. "Nevermind. It does not matter, I already know them. That quetion does not need answered." Laura will, like it or not. She knows the scent, the hund just needs let loose.

"No mission against other killers is better then the next. I saw… That's enough."

"No. None of us /have/ to but it is often the best route." Ripclaw admits, it's something he has long ago come to terms with. "You are your own free woman, Laura. If you wish to help I won't stop you but I will not encourage it either. That is what I am getting at here."
"I wasn't worried about Gabby hurting anyone, she has a good spirit about her."

Anything extra Ripclaw might have to say doesn't come out. He is just staring at Wolverine, studying her in his usual introspective manner.

Laura is turning, enough to put herself in a place where she can listen to Gabby and Timmie as well as Ripclaw, her head tilted in a manner to divide. Hands reach behind her, gripping along a ledge as she leans in a manner that nearly could move her in a pivoted sweep and send her quickly in an opposing direction.

A gesture she executes, but instead of letting go and moving away she resigns to swing back and forth, the loose grip of hands only serving as the pivot-point. "It is the best route… Most of the time. When you feel Most it is the -only- route." A pause in her sway, almost a hang in limbo, strands of that black falling over bare shoulders while lips purse, a bow of head to hide the moment of thought.

Like a dancer her hands clutch and arms pull her back to align spine along the piped eave she swung from, watching Ripclaw. "I… want to know who I am, it's why I am trying. But I make no promises." A tilt of head and her studious gaze is upon Ripclaw.

"Who are you. Truly?" Laura stills then while giving him a similar look, but one more to learn.
"I am what you see, Laura. I'm past introspection, self discovery and trying to figure out who I am. I know my spirit." The large man says calmly, "I know what it seeks and requires. That isn't a question I can answer for you, if you seek to know me more then you will just have to learn as well. I am Ripclaw, I am the Ghost Warrior and I am Robert Berresford and more but also none of these." The man offers a waning smile as she plays restless gymnast, this place is setup for such people though, hollowed out, much of it left behind and just set up upon. Cyberforce and of course X-Force did not come here to turn it in to a pretty location, it meets what its meant to be and there are some creature comforts. A specialized type.

Palms press up and along the grip her fingers are hooked along, drawing the hold to come just above her head, like spiders' limbs fingers seek the new hold and adapt, tips sinking into the shadows for the solid rooting. "I thought maybe asking you would help me as well." No insult meant, Ripclaw seems so akin to her own self that perhaps his answer would hep her along, show his set path, and claim as well as legitimize her own attempts.
Take a look in the mirror, what do you see?

"Laura Kinney." A press back of cranium against the eave, her eyes turning upward towards where the sounds of childish murmurs and tiny feral chattering omit.
"X-23." Eyes close in the pause and when they open and she slowly begins to smile.
"Wolverine."

But his words bring a pause and further thought, shown in the flicker of her eyes darting back and forth in a still-framed study of his face as if searching for the 'joke'. Finding none.

"Well, I will stop asking, but let me find that same…" A gesture to hsi overall poise about his comfort in 'who he /is/'.

"I still know what I want in my life now. Backing out on my word… Not it."

"I'm happy to assist you find some centering and aid you in path but it's all on you." Ripclaw says, he is smiling a little. It's a tweak of the lips, a minor thing. "You are so wound it makes me restless." The man admits, turning to walk in to the Elevator further, "I need some tea, would you like some?" Not alcohol, not right now. That is an on and off thing for him but it does little to nothing with his healing factor.

All sees well between the two younger… beings, and the beast.

Laura now settles upon Ripclaw fully, the flickering of white noise high pitched and then attuned to nothing but the exchange between them. "I will stop." A release of grip upon the wall sends Laura a few paces forward but leaves her with no handle, no sway, no way to redirect. But he eases in the stance she plants booted feet into, the laces riding upwards and melding with those that keep pants of a denim tattered wash coated over skin.
Outside is inside.

"How…" A pause and Laura nods to Ripclaw and his offering, the smile more at home, with the offer. Alcohol does her little good unless consumed in copious amounts swiftly. "That sounds nice."

Laura follows slowly, looking up along the structure and the layout, having only explored part, she now blueprints the rest to her mind in passing, that rapid flick of eyes casting a shaded green glow with every rapid pass.

"I know what I am," But the way she says it is more a -thing- than a person or being, still. "But a middle, the center…" Laura lacks, she does not say no at all to his offer, in fact, once her eyes stop the rapid wander of the surroundings they bore to his back with a light tilt of her head that seems almost curious but speaks none of it further.

Despite her unknowing she still remains upright, her posture steady and sure. She does not -need- to know who she is to make it.
But she -wants- to.

His sureness in posture makes him taller, stronger, (though height…. Laura will always be on the small side).

A lift in shoulders and posture, still leaves her at 5'3, but when you compare shadows?

"You have sugar, right?"

"Solidity without worry or second guessing?" Ripclaw inquires, "Yes we have sugar. Corben eats them by the packet." Mainly when out of liquor. "Fully a thing? Not sure. Maybe for a mad man, we all wonder at times, we just have to remember we're always students. Just have to find… your sense of self. Your spirit." He considers, "Would you like to go on a journey? A spiritual one? It might help It will take some preparation time but… it sounds like that might be what you need."

Laura pauses and stares deadpan at the broad shoulders that top the span of Ripclaw's back.

The moment of her stilled footfalls passes lie the loud and slow sound of a dying second-hand in a Grandfather clock. She passes it off as the new space takes into view, the network of glowing wires into netting, a pulse along the coated lengths in hanging nets above, serving a reminder that brings a small quirk..

Memories…

It may be false, it may be programmed, mapped… But it is real.
One pulse a bass to send the direction into another pattern.

"Will the journey find my spirit?" Words spoken before thought, laid out in total truth.

"It might." Ripclaw says, "Preparation required, I have a room above prepared, ready for such a thing but we need the right time of day. Now is not it. Not yet. You also must get ready down here as well, " A clawtip actually circles his abdomen. "The tea is a good start. You wish to do this before or after Genosha?"

Laura watches the circle of his abdomen, any tension of even the light swallow hopefully unseen beneath the lowering dip of chin and the look back towards the room they left.

"I should find if I have a spirit.. after Genosha." Because much like Ripclaw's opposition… "After it all."

Laura feels she has no soul, not yet at least. Everything she is has been created, trained, set into motion accordingly until this last year where she has sought outward - no aid.

"Chai or Oolong?" The subject change has her looking back towards their path and Ripclaw with a studious level of those iridescent green eyes against the dark.
"Then we will wait until after Genosha." Ripclaw confirms quietly in that same manner in which she is speaking. Humor on his part. She is still very mechanical at times and it is not something he isn't unfamiliar with. The man was a SHOC elite, he watched many others go through reprogramming and reconstruction. Laura has undergone similar.

"Green and Oolong are both here if you like, I always keep hot water running for this purpose. The tea you we drink before we look for this spirit you seek will be… special." A smile. "Not harmful, just special." Hallucinogenic. Best kind of herbs.

Laura looks at Robert then, his voice and the light backdrop of amusement on his part is read, registered, and stared at with a recognition, only tearing away to pick the Oolong with a draw of fingertip to drag the container forward and start searching for the preparations.

"After yours as well." Laura does not look up as she opens the container and sniffs lightly as he mentions the other type of tea.

Getting the container down she stares openly. It is not in a box, in a bag, and where is the boiling pot? Instead of a search she just stands there and stares. "So… Ghost Walker… Is that how? Ripclaw what you know most?"
So technically, in this room, there is six, not two..

Walking past Laura the man kneels down to the makeshift oven, opening it up to place a square container of boiling hot water on the counter top. "It is hot, be careful." He used no oven mitts, but then his hands are not exactly 'fleshy'.
"Is that how? The Ghost title is bestowed upon me from an old man and his people. A medicine man. Ripclaw is my mutant name as you know it, SHOC, name as well. I've owned it though." He studies her curious if this is indeed what she meant.

"Making the spiritless find their spirit. Is that how you got the name Ghost Walk—-" And he explains a but more, leaving Laura in her moment of listening to watch as the container is placed on the counter. The Oolong container now tipped into her cup, the boiling hot containment reached for with one hand, while the other holds the cup at the edge of the 'oven'.

It almost seems, for a moment she would use her hands, and very well could, but from the back of her hands those claws sweep down in the slow reveal to lift the edge, slide it forward and tip it into her mug. "I do not want to be my mutant name as it is known. X-23 was created…SHOC?" But she stops and has to step back as the boiling water overflows over fingertips and to the floor. The mug still handled with care to the table and set down with a light flick and wave of her hand as if ridding a fly from her proximity.

"Yes… You have…" A recognition there to him and his namesake. "But I do not like being a number." A tilt of head, hoping he understands, her questions never asked before and hard to express.

New to her. All of it.

"Guiding… wait, spiritless? You are not spiritless, Laura." A laughter escapes Ripclaw, "You very much have one. All living things do." He hikes up one thigh so its on the counter and he is seated, hands upon his knees. "You're not a number. We'll work on this as soon as you are back from Genosha if you really do wish my aid. It will be a unique experience. Your mutant name is a legacy isn't it, the Wolverine? Not X-23. If you don't want it to be… "

END

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