Midnight Rendezvous

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Brief Title:
Midnight Rendezvous

Characters:
Jean Grey, X-23, Blindfold

Scene Runner/Watcher:

IC Date:
03/09/13 22:00

Location:
East River - NYC

Summary:
X-23 tries to attack Blindfold, but the tables are turned instead

Social or Plot:

TS:
No

Log:
It's dark already. Not too cold. Manhattan-side of the East River. There's plenty of work to be done, especially for those who work with the boats - things just can't stop because it's edging into proper nightfall. That's just not how it's done.
Just like them her work is far from done and the inexorable pull on her leash - figurative as it may be - draws the silent teen along the edge of the water. Her expression is an empty mask, devoid of emotion; her posture is slouched, but all the more predatory for it. Hands stuffed in her pockets, she walks - and remains savagely aware of the world around her. The creation known as X-23 drinks in the scents of the area and swallows it in sips, not to savor but to analyze. Her eyes flick occasionally to points of interest, but sight is secondary; the sounds and scents are far more useful for finding what she's looking for. It's only the slightest furrowing of her brow that betrays the moment her senses latch onto what she's looking for. Her pace doesn't change, but her course does and she angles away from the river itself and toward Manhattan proper.
Hers is the mind of a hunter - and she's scented her prey.

Meanwhile, a pair of women, one older and one just a girl, walk down the path. The older one, her bright red hair pulled back and tucked under a skicap, glances over at the younger, "Are you sure you saw her here, Ruth?" Jean frowns a bit, glancing around, "I don't want to just be indiscriminate with my abilities, but if the files are correct... I might need to be."

Blindfold nods her earmuffed and blindfolded head "Yes miss grey, I'm positive, she was hunting here, yes thank you" tapping her cane along the cold ground as she listened carefully and sniffed the air. Hunting was a bad sign.

It's the scent that snags her and pulls her. The dark-haired young woman stops in her path and turns her head slightly, eyes narrowed with feral focus. There is enough distance that the sight of her lips moving will go unseen - and the words she utters under her breath and into her Facility comm unit will be left unheard. The response is for her ears only - and a shallow nod confirms the command.
X-23 steps into the shadows, then deeper still, all but burying herself in darkness. She remains the hunter but her prey has changed - and this is purposeful. She waits patiently until she can emerge again and, when she does, it's to follow the two women. No effort is immediately made to hide her presence in full, but she follows at a considerable distance, giving ample space to ensure she cannot be identified. Eyes flick from prey to surroundings. Weighing. Preparing. Not yet time - but soon.

Jean doesn't pause in her stride, though she does telepathically signal to Ruth, >> Okay, she's on our tail, I can sense her. Apparently she thinks one of us is her target tonight... probably me. Stay close, the timing is going to be... tricky." She doesn't even glance behind her for the moment, using her telepathy to keep track of X-23 as she approaches.

Blindfold shakes her head " No sorry miss grey, wasn't but now is, yes my apologies" she whispers quietly to jean with a slight nod

She's silent. Careful. None of that matters when a telepath is tracking - but X-23 knows nothing of this. As far as she's concerned, she's dealing with two mundane people - and she's smelled one of them before. Seen her, even. The surroundings are gauged again and her lips press flat. Her pace quickens and her handlers urge caution through the earpiece, but she's not listening. From walking to a sprint, her legs devour the distance while she runs through her plan of attack.
If there is any sifting through the feral static of her mind, it will yield a peculiar answer: Jean is not the target. Blindfold is. The red-head will just be collateral damage. The goals are clear enough in her mental lens: broken necks if they don't fight too much; slit throats if they do.

Jean blinks as she discerns the intended target, and it isn't her, "Ruth! Get in front of me!" Then she spins, reaching out with her hand as a pinkish-purple glow engulfs her hand... and X-23, grasping the mutant and suspending her in midair, "Laura, what have they done to you???" A flash of regret flies from Jean, as she looks at X-23, seeing in her a failure as headmistress to keep her students safe.
[Xavier School] David has disconnected.
Blindfold turns a bit white at the perceived danger but moves between jean and x-23 "please, we mean no harm, we only wish to help, thank you yes. If you don't mind my asking please why would you try to attack me?"

"Put. Me. DOWN." Her voice is hard and cold, but not loud; it's a predator's growl, through and through. The suspension in the air is disquieting, but she'll be able to process that later; for now, she has her handlers screaming at her through the earpiece and the matter of her still-living mark and the collateral damage next to her. X-23 doesn't know which is holding her aloft, nor does she care. All six blades pop out, two to a fist, one to each foot, and she struggles to take a combat posture despite her telekinetic bonds.
Regret bounces off of a thick armor of cold indifference and shatters against a distinct need - not a desire, but a -need- - to finish the work she started. Her fists tighten. Questions are met with silence, but her mind is something else entirely.
She doesn't know Laura. She isn't Gabby - an image of Richenda, laced with X-23's irritation - flickers to the fore. Skittering on the heels of that is burgeoning confusion, quickly crushed as it is under the figuratively jackbooted heel of conditioning. She has no answers - but the effects are clear enough. The halls of her mind have been thoroughly cleaned, polished, and honed to reflect only what the Facility wants her to do. Needs her to do. Nothing more; nothing less.
Her future is filled with black vans and hard skin - but not hers; a broken leash - and the hand that holds it.

Jean sees into X-23's mind, and sighs, "Oh Laura, I'm so sorry." She then grows a bit stern, steeling herself for what she has to do, projecting herself into X-23's mind, even as she holds her suspended in the air, >> Laura. This is not you. You are more than just a killer. <<
The alleyway and everything else fades, turning into a pastoral setting... the campus of the X-Mansion, specifically the courtyard in spring, as Jean and Ruth and X-23 stand there, Jean bringing Ruth into the link as well.

Blindfold smiles apologetically "miss grey, the east piece if you could please yes?" tilting her head "richenda not gabby, she was a friend of yours, yes please. I know her well, yes thank you. You don't have to kill, life is more then just doing what you're told, think please yes. Black vans...hard skin...a hand holding a leash" then shakes her head "Miss grey...who has hard skin, please if you don't mind my asking?" Then turns back to the fellow girl "Your name is laura, some call you x-23, but those who know and care about you know you as Laura, yes thank you. Please you don't have to do what you are told, there's more to life then that, don't let yourself be a trained attack animal, break that leash Laura you're a person and you deserve more dignity then they've given you, yes please"

The claws remain out. As the scene shifts, she's even more on her guard; the hair at the back of her neck pricks up and her upper lip distorts into a bestial snarl. Are the words sinking in? No. The surfaces are too hard, too precisely angled to allow anything to catch just yet. The concepts might scatter through her mind like experimental rats released from their cages - but not a one of them has claws strong enough to carry them any higher than the floor - where they can easily be caught and caged anew.
X-23's claws are stayed for now, but only for the moment. Tense and poised, she's positioned and ready to pounce at a moment's notice. "I am X-23," she replies, though her voice is cold and flat; inflectionless. "No one calls me Laura." Her upper lip twitches again. "No. One." Her eyes narrow to slivers of feral green and she pushes, striving to gain some foothold in this queer landscape so she can finish the deed she'd begun.

In the mindscape, it's easy enough to walk... though any strikes seem to pass harmlessly through Jean and Ruth, "Your name /is/ Laura. And this is not what you are... I don't know if I can recover who you were, but I can free you of this." Jean looks at X-23, "You are not a machine. You are a person. Despite what your captors have made you think."

Blindfold nods in agreement with jean as she steps closer to x-23 "You are both, Laura and x-23, just as Wolverine was known as weapon x" holding a picture of Wolverine up for x-23 to see "Please, don't let yourself be used, there are people who care about you and those people know much about yourself, they know your name is laura, yes please. If I might ask please, have you not wondered about yourself about what you can't remember? You have questions about your life just like adopted children do, miss grey and others can answer those, she and others have known you before, yes thank you"

"Stop calling me Laura! That is -not- my name!" She hurls herself at the mindshapes of Jean and Ruth, claws flashing with deadly intent. The fact that they do nothing doesn't seem to register; no, it just drives her to cut at them more. "I am -not- who you think I am." And, yet, there is doubt. A wriggling little rat of a thing that finds a singular point of weakness. Doubt, yes, but it's up against something else - the iron-clad certainty that she knows who she is. That all of them are confused. That she is not Gabby. She is not Laura.
Still. Her attacks slow for the sake of pragmatism; better to save her energy for when it can be effectively used. Without her handlers shrieking directly into her ear - are they coming? They probably will be soon - she's able hear more. "I. Don't. Care." Each word is uttered with a sharp edge. "Even if I am this 'Laura', it does not matter. That is not who -I- am now."
The name rings only a hollow echo in her mind - dull and ultimately a thing to be dismissed. It's lost somewhere in the void - a void she refuses to reach into, even if Ruth is asking her to do just that.
"Let me go. I do not need another leash."

Jean smiles at that, "I am not offering a leash. I am offering you freedom. Freedom from your handlers, and recovering who you really are." She looks at Laura, "Or do you prefer to be a pawn, a killer? I realize that you might think you're the best there is at what you do, but there is more to you than this. And no, I do not plan on using you the way they do. I simply want you to be free to decide for yourself, without conditioning, without coercion."

Blindfold shakes her head "You know you have a leash on you, the people who give you your orders, they hold the leash, wouldn't you rather not be on a leash, please if you don't mind my asking? I know you don't like them, but you feel s need to obey them, yes please. Miss grey, could you please remove her ear piece and destroy it, they are likely listening and tracking her, please yes. We offer a place where you can fit in and be cared about, treated with compassion and dignity, rather then just a machine, you are a person with a freedom of will, use that will to decide for yourself what you want, yes thank you"

A harsh bark of laughter escapes her and she begins to pull away - in mind as much as in body, as far as she can possibly pull. "Free. You say this, even as you keep me caged here," X-23 gestures with both hands, blades glinting for a moment before all of them are retracted. "If there is more," the concession is grudging, a dip into the well that she dares not drink too deeply from, "then you are still wrapping it with the idea that the place -you- offer is better. That is not freedom. That is a single choice - a choice between following the rules of what is known or what is unknown. What if I do not want either? Can you give me that?" Snarled and spiteful, that last.
Her eyes cut to Ruth. "They know where I am. They will be here in less than five minutes - and they will gun you down where you stand." Some faint glimmer of humanity yet rises even as she strives to cling to the rest. The schism is there - a mere crack, but it's widening. "Run if you want to live."

Jean looks mildly amused, "Gun me down... that could be interesting to see. But they won't notice Ruth or I... or you, for the moment. And Laura, if you wish to be free of both your current masters, and myself, free to make your own way in the world? That is all I am offering." She smiles faintly, "Your... well, not your father, but perhaps the closest thing you have, is one that I know very well. And we will meet again."
With that, the mindscape fades, but Jean and Ruth are nowhere to be found, even by scent, leaving X-23 on the ground, dropped from the telekinetic grip. Of course, Jean and Ruth are probably close, the former's telepathic talents screening them from any detection.

Blindfold key out a quiet sigh and hugs jean "Thank you miss grey, yes please. None of this is your fault, no more then Logan chasing off on his own to fix something like this and getting reprogrammed would be your fault, yes please"

"No, it is not what you are offering." X-23 does not elaborate, does not say anything more. There is, simply, nothing more -to- say. The fracture is enough. Once the world returns to normal - or so she can only hope - it's just in time. The van pulls up, all screaming rubber and screaming occupants, while X-23 is hustled inside. Too many masks and uniforms to make out the particulars; too many minds to properly sift out who's who and what they're doing and where they're going, perhaps.
And then it's gone, tearing down the street to parts unknown even to her mind.

Jean looks at Ruth, keeping the screen up for now as she accepts the hug, "I know, but still, she was under the school's protection, and we failed her. So now I have to set this right." The fact that Logan will probably yell at her a LOT for confronting X-23 without him doesn't seem to improve her mood at all.

Blindfold nods giving jean a squeeze cuz ell the headmistress seemed to need a hug right now. "If it helps you can tell Logan it was my fault, yes please. It will be set right, I know it yes thank you. I'm sorry my apologies that I was wrong about her not attacking me, thank you...I rather like my neck the way it is, yes thank you" all in all taking things rather well and trying to cheer jean up.

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