Rooftop Drinking

December 13, 2018:

While investigating the smell of alcohol around the Institute Laura Kinney runs into Nate Grey brooding on the roof.

//Xavier's Institute - Exterior Grounds - New York City //

Xavier's Institute grounds are located on 1407 Graymalkin Lane in Westchester County between Graymalkin Lane itself and Breakstone Lake (30 miles outside of NYC itself). A large portion of this is acres upon acres of woodland forest. To the farthest eastern portion of the Institutes grounds there is a stretch of low foothills.

Upon entering the Institute grounds immediately past the heavy gated entrance one finds themselves on a carefully paved road that splices into a circle-drive in front of Xavier's Mansion where Professor Xavier has created a school for special individuals. These "special" individuals are those seeking education, not only in every day skills and common school courses but also in their unique 'gifts' granted to them typically by a mutation.

The mansion itself is a multi-story building built over a hundred years ago. It has finely cultivated gardens encircling its extensive structure. The front lawns are sprawling stretches of perfectly trimmed grass and edge gardens while the rear grounds feature extensive walkways, gardens, sports fields and pathways leading out toward Breakstone Lake and the forest that encompasses it.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Xavier, Magik

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The forecast was some snowfall today, but it never happened. The sun is setting now and the temperature is an even 0 Celsius and has barely been over it the whole day. Unsurprisingly (also due to the lack of snow) no one with common sense is outside.

Unsurprisingly, Nate is outside. More exactly he is sitting on the rooftop; he has been there for a couple hours with the company of a bottle of expensive liquor pilfered from Xavier's bar. He staying on the mansion for the night too - which is highly unusual and probably explained by the return a certain one blonde sorceress which is resting in the medbay.

Rumor is she was the cause of the demon invasion and the senior X-Men are not happy with her.

*

One of the downsides to mooching off Xavier's for food and board is that when you detect something that could possibly be a student up to no good you're obliged to check it out. Or try really hard not to think about it whenever a telepath is near.

So with the smell of alcohol carrying down from the roof X-23, freshly back after going for an extended Winter run, sighs and free climbs her way up to check it out.

Of course it doesn't take long before her nose picks out exactly who is up there drinking. It's just a matter of getting past the windows of the occupied rooms to rule out the students inside.

"Are you sure you should be drinking that Nate?" She asks before she's even pulled herself up over the edge. As she pulls herself up in a single graceful motion she adds "The bottle has a lingering smell of the wood polish they use in Xaviers office."

*

"Pretty sure," Nate is unsurprised to hear Laura despite her natural sneakiness. He saw her running, being one of those who also lack common sense. And she is not yet as ninja-like as Logan, her mind is not invisible. "And you are right, but I wanted something stronger than beer," and Xavier has yet to tell him to stop raiding his stuff. Nate limits his larceny to a bottle every few months, anyway.

It is perfectly possible other X-folks steal more stuff he does. He is also quite sure the old man keeps tabs of who is doing what much better than most students or teachers give him credit.

"Want to try?" He offers. Still about a third of the bottle left. He is in no hurry to finish it. He does not sound drunk either. "Illy came back yesterday, you heard?"

*

Laura would argue that common sense demands you train in all climates and seasons to be better prepared for whatever situation you may find yourself in. But then her upbringing is very different to the typical Xavier student. "I do not really get the appeal of tobacco or alcohol. My senses are too refined for one and my biochemistry too efficient for the other," she points out. "Are you drinking because Illyana has returned? Or is there another reason?"

"News travels fast around a school this size. Besides, they say you can only keep a secret if you kill everyone else who knows it."

*

"Don't think it was a secret," mutters Nate, taking a sip from the bottle. "Oh, this… stop thinking about efficiency for a minute. Try new things. If you don't like it, it is fine. You like spicy food, right? Or I am misremembering?" His memory took a hit when he was disintegrated in Genosha last year. But he used to know Laura pretty well. Nate and Illyana did try their best to get her out of her shell with… mixed results.

At least she is not as quiet now. "Hey, I guess you are not going as Wolverine now. Now the old wolf is back, I mean. What is your codename now? Also, you should check with Illyana, though. She will say she wants no visitors, but she needs all her friends."

*

"I do try new things," Laura points out with a raised eyebrow. "Logan's cigars for example. And if you're prying that much you should also know I can practically taste your drink by scent alone." She shrugs and perches on the edge of the roof. "I do like spicy food but.. why do you ask? You have not mistakenly used some of the hot sauce I recently acquired have you? It's got a scoville rating that makes military pepper spray seem mild."

"It's been a long time since I used a codename. Since before you brought me back from that ship at the least. I do not really care for them… And as I do not have a 'real' identity to protect I have not given the matter any thought." She nods. "I will try find time to visit her." If nothing else she wants to see if she smells like demon and might pose a risk.

*

"It is not the same," then he chuckles, "actually, I don't care much for spicy food," in as much as he does care about what he eats, that is. Nate has eaten things most people would not consider edible, it comes from growing up in a hellhole and knowing what hunger really means.

"I don't have a secret identity either," he comments. "And somehow I got two different codenames. I can't even remember why the hell some people started calling me X-Man, to be honest." It never made sense for him! "Anyway. X-Men means codenames. You need to pick one or someone else will do it for you. Or they will just start calling you X-23 again."

*

The edge of Laura's mouth shifts up a fraction in the barest hint of a smile. "X-Man is a /terrible/ code name. X-Man of the X-Men. Even I can tell that sounds strange," she points out dryly. "I don't just like spicy food though. Anything exotic is good. The Facility ensured everything was nutritionally balanced but bland. I suppose you could say interesting food is my vice of choice."

"If people do decide to call me that I won't complain. But I won't encourage it either. I would much rather everyone called me by my name. There are over eight hundred thousand people with the first name Laura in the country. The only people who might be able to use the information to track me down are welcome to come and try find me. It'll save me looking for them."

*

X-Man is a terrible codename. "I know," confirms Nate. "I go by Scion, really. Still some people calls me 'X-Man' sometimes." Yes, it is vaguely funny, but he is not feeling very merry today.

"Hey, when you visit Illy… be kind, okay?" He notes, his expression serious. "She has been through hell and I think guilt is eating her alive. It is so bad she is actually acting humble and hurt for the first time since… I think for the first time ever, and I know her since I was eighteen."

*

"I can't promise to be kind," Laura replies flatly. "I am not good at kind. But I will keep the visit brief and stay quiet if it looks like I am upsetting her." She glances over the edge of the roof. "If she has reason to feel guilty then she will have to learn how to deal with it one way or another. If not then those feelings will fade in time. I can't claim to understand what happened or why. So I am not in a position to judge her actions or feelings."

*

"Don't tell me how to deal with guilt," grumbles Nate, taking another, longer sip from the bottle. "Or her. She has been through a lot. In fact she is the only person I know that had it worse than you did, so… think about it."

The young man huffs, checking the bottle. Empty now. And he is not buzzed enough. Then again drinking to feel better has never quite worked for him. "Anything from the Facility lately? I am really in the mood to seriously murder someone or something."

*

Laura Kinney raises an eyebrow. "I didn't tell you how to deal with it. I simply said she would need to," she points out. "I was not even aware you had reason to feel guilty about something. Or anything new at least. I would say you can talk about it if you wish but… I imagine you would have brought it up by now if that was what you wanted."

"They've not made any overt moves that I'm aware of. But that does not mean they are inactive. From what I gather Lorna and Logan had been tracking down scientists that were experimenting on mutants. I am sure their search would go faster if you helped."

*

Nate hmms. But Laura saw his homeworld last year, there is nothing he wants to say right now about what he did and what he failed to do there. And he is a Summers - of course he feels guilty about something, it is genetic.

"Odd, I wasn't aware," he is always up for hunting down people that experiments with… wait. Actually he heard something. "Hmm. They are hunting for facility people or Genoshans?" Because now Nate has a faint suspicion. Something Savin said when the X-Men were chasing after the enhanced Purifiers. Genoshan war criminals being missing or killed.

*

Laura Kinney shrugs. "The latter I think. I'm sure they would hunt the Facility if given the chance," she muses. "But they hide themselves much better. So it's fair to assume they have yet to find any leads. Besides if they /had/ found a lead on the Facility I think they would have come to me first before attacking." She frowns. "At least I would hope they would."

"I don't know any of the details. Ever since I got back I've avoided killing any more people. Unless the demons count. No-one could ever confirm if they were sentient feeling beings or if they even truely died." Another shrug. "Still, they were good practice."

*

Nate uh huhs. That is a minor mystery solved. And he is not sure how he feels about Lorna going around assassinating people, even if they deserve it. She really should leave murdering to killers like Logan, Illyana or himself (or Laura, but they have beent trying to get her out of it for years).

"Good about the not killing," he mentions in passing. "Demons, uh… well, it was war," they are definitely sentient. Also better off dead. Most of them at least. "You still like fighting more than anything else, uh? You need more hobbies. And a boyfriend." He is not even teasing her this time.

*

"I would not say that I like it," Laura counters. "However it /is/ something I am very good at and there is a certain satisfaction in doing a task well. I imagine it is a similar feeling to that which anyone who engages in difficult physical activity would feel." She stands and walks along the edge of the roof. So close to the edge she may as well be walking a tightrope. "While I appreciate the concern I do not have any interest in romantic relationships. If I do meet someone I develop feelings for then so be it, but it is not something I wish to seek out. Not at this point in time anyway."

*

"How mature of you," this time he is being sarcastic because he knows Laura has not the foggiest idea what she is talking about. And since she 'has no interest in romantic relationships' she will get hit harder. Silly girl. "Consider it training for living instead of surviving," he suggests, knowing pretty well he is going to get ignored.

*

Laura Kinney rolls her eyes. "With my healing factor I am likely to live for hundreds of years," she points out flatly. "Which gives me plenty of time to pursue such things when the time is right. Besides it would be extremely unfair to start a relationship with someone when I don't feel anything approaching romantic feelings for them." She crosses her arms. "If I do wish to start a relationship I'll ask for your advice but until then I'd rather not discuss it any further."

*

Nate laughs, shaking his head. Unfair! Most relationships at her age last weeks. Pause. Well, not always. Laura is -very- mature for some things. And still childish for many others. "Whatever you say," he stands up, a bit unsteady. The bottle gets tossed up, and then shatters in a million dust fragments as he grabs it telekinetically and pretty much disintegrates it.

"Damn, it is a little cold, isn't it?" He muses, as if finally noticing it has been freezing for hours, "c'mon, I need some coffee and some Danger Room. You can come with me and we can go fight alien robot pirates or something properly smashable without feeling any guilt." Because he still wants to punch something. And he has no problems admitting he likes to fight.

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