Title: the stars come out
Description: [p] for Laura
Icarus - March 12, 2012 08:55 PM (GMT)
[ooc: backdated to a few days after Laura and Penance's return to the Institute]
The moon was a yellow, gibbous thing in the sky. Nearly pregnant, not quite halved, but bright in a cloudless sky. It had been a clear day and that had carried on once the sun had set, the chill spreading more rapidly through the evening than it would have been if there had been clouds to insulate the world once night came.
So the sky was empty of everything, save for the moon and the stars. Nothing should have interrupted the stretch of velvet black, the diamond-cold pinpricks of stars, the ethereal glow of the pale oval in the sky...and yet, against the moon's light, something moved. A soaring shape, a winged shape, it cut across the sky. Wide, flared wings briefly blocked out the moonlight as they passed overhead and the shadows they cast sent shy, nocturnal creatures scurrying for cover.
If they'd known that it was someone as unthreatening as Jay Guthrie, they wouldn't have bothered hiding.
The boy was no soft-winged owl with hunger in its eyes and death in its talons - he was just a young man who couldn't sleep. No amount of tossing and turning and swearing lowly when he rolled too much onto a furled wingtip made the teasing prospect of sleep deign to come anywhere near him. And, in the end, frustration had launched him aloft.
He did this, sometimes, flew and flew until he was physically exhausted enough to tumble back into bed and sleep both. He'd swoop and soar and push himself, his wings a washed out grey in the absence of sunlight to pick up the brilliant crimson of his feathers, all in the hopes of calming his mind to the point of quietness. And flying was that - calming. Sometimes it was exhilarating, that daring sense of flying too close to the sun. But at night? When all was silent and still and he was the largest thing abroad in the world?
Then he was calm.
Jay had been flying for nearly half an hour now and, curiously, he wasn't tired yet. As his wings beat strongly around him, he peered down at the ground, as intrigued as ever by the way the land of the Xavier Institute changed quite so much when moonlight, rather than sun, was the illuminator. Some features were nigh on invisible, lost in the shadows, but some...some were only apparent now, without any other distractions.
So it was that a light in the forest made Jay frown, bank and dive, all in that order. His bare feet (bare because he had literally thrown himself out of bed and into the air without putting on shoes, or in fact a shirt) touched the forest ground with a noise that betrayed his complete lack of stealth skills. With twigs crackling and breaking softly beneath his steps, Jay moved closer to what he'd seen from above, brow furrowed in confusion. Because there was a light on in Logan's old cabin, which had stood empty for months now.
Just who the hell was in there?
X-23 - March 12, 2012 09:40 PM (GMT)
Home. Home was an illusive dream, Laura had decided, a story to tell young children, or else a recurring waking nightmare, haunting one's mind and heart with the unobtainable prospect of belonging somewhere, to someone, bound with 'cords that cannot be broken' as the song said.
But it was all for naught.
There was the dull think of something hitting the thick wooden floor and Laura turned, only to find Penance looking innocently, curiously up at her, one of Logan's thick beer mugs laying on its side near her. The cupboard said cup had been stashed in had it's door ajar, tell-tale gashes in the otherwise relatively smooth wood. Laura sighed, and sent the red-skinned mutant a tired look. She recognized, could even verbalize, that what she felt for Penance was the same, yet different for what she felt for Logan, and even, in the back of her mind acknowledged that she felt the same for Miss Munroe, but she could not deny, by any scope of the imagination, that she was not tired. Those weeks of long, sleepless nights sitting in front of the television, worrying constantly and neglecting her body's basic needs, internally stressing over it all because above all else she was a weapon (and an old, rusted weapon was just as useful as a death wish, and she knew this, knew she should have been taking care of herself because if something had happened, like it did, if someone had found her and sent people after her it would have been ridiculously easy to take her in), and taking care of Penance, trying to keep up with the girl's nearly boundless energy and near constant presence had taken a toll on her Laura did not know was possible.
"Aren't you tired yet, Pup?" Despite knowing it was pointless to speak to the girl, Laura found herself doing just so frequently. If she had taken the time to think about it, she probably would have recognized it as a fulfillment of the subconscious human need for companionship, the need to hear some voice, any one, to break the silence. Truthfully the television had been on almost constantly in their home, the rather large house that had become their 'Den' in the city, but it was not the same as having, hearing a real live voice in your ear, even if it was your own.
Still, for Pen's sake, Laura had come here, to the cabin. The girl had spent much of her time at the school, truthfully, but she had bonded to Laura and Logan for some reason, and though they'd never truly shared the place, the small, rough-hewn cabin served as a marker for Laura, as a constant, a place she could always come to, run to, a semblance of home. She hadn't a clue as to the circumstances that had brought Penance to Xavier's and then to her, but Laura figured the least she could do was give the girl this, a home. Well, another one. even if she didn't believe in the concept herself.
Laura just wished the girl would sleep. Ever since they'd gotten back from the city, from the small warehouse Laura had modified to keep the girl contained and occupied in her absence, Penance had crawled into and over and onto everything, every inch of counter space, rooms space, the trees outside and even burrowed into the ground at one point, all without taking a single moment to rest. Laura was exhausted. She'd fallen asleep in her old room the night she'd spoken to Miss Munroe, and since then she'd been up and after the girl. Though in a way she had been grateful for the girl's never-ending energy because it had kept her from thinking too hard about Logan's absence and reintegration into the school and how alone she was in the world save for two people, one of which was a veritable baby, but Laura dearly, dearly wanted to sleep.
So when Penance hunkered down next to the door and sent her that expectant look, only her years of training kept a groan from crossing her lips as she crossed the room. This way, at least, she could get some kind of rest. Penance was bound to come back to her, or at least back to the cabin, and if she got lost Laura was more than capable of finding her, of bringing her back. But if she denied the red-girl Penance would be almost literally bouncing off the walls in no time, and no amount of food could get her to calm down. So Laura let her out, watching the leather-clad form disappear into the treeline from where she leaned against the door jamb. There were no wolves in New York, and even if there were, they were hardly a threat; Laura could take down any number of them before they her her cub, and so she felt relatively safe enough to let the girl bounce about till she decided to come in. Perhaps it was bad parenting, but Laura wasn't trying to be anyone's mother; she'd leave that to Logan, thanks. And if she somehow spoiled Pen before he came back, well, then it was his own fault, wasn't it? Little girls needed structure, and dependability. And discipline. Yes.
Goodness, she was rambling. She didn't even realize when her eyes slid shut. Didn't until a peculiar scent, one from the school, but not one she'd ever encountered, hit her nose. Blue eyes slid open then, slowly, a testament to her exhaustion, and scanned the surrounding trees. "I know you're out there. You're a student. You might as well come out."
Icarus - March 16, 2012 12:53 AM (GMT)
Jay was no ninja. He wasn't even someone with a normal ability to be at least somewhat stealthy. Instead, he was a twenty-year old man with big, bare feet and two extremely large and visible wings sprouting from his back. In no world whatsoever was he ever going to count as someone who could easily pass unnoticed.
And that was even if he was standing stock still. In motion, he seemed to have an innate ability to find each and every dry, brittle twig with his feet in order to make them break with a noise that sounded like gunshots in the night. His wings had a tendency to either trail through the leaf litter with a dry, crackling noise or - if he held them out behind him - to rustle through tree branches, sending them flapping back into place with a whipping noise.
No, Jay was not subtle. Or silent. Or stealthy. And, really, he shouldn't have been surprised to have been caught so easily.
But his interest had been piqued and, in spite of the quiet nervousness humming through his veins - he'd always been the twitchiest of the Guthrie siblings currently at the Institute - he had found himself to creep forwards through the undergrowth to a point where he'd thought he was hidden. From there he'd watched with baited breath as a door opened...then flinched in quiet surprise when on odd, leather-and-red form darted outwards. He held still in startled shock as it disappeared off into the woods and he could hear whatever it was moving through the undergrowth. Luckily, not towards him.
There was no doubt that Logan's old cabin was inhabited then and, belatedly, Jay realised that the red thing may not have been the only resident. He turned from where he'd been staring off at the direction it had disappeared into, eyes resting on the cabin once more and that was when he saw her.
It was also when he heard her.
Jay flinched again, this time with embarrassment and guilt. He couldn't get a good look at the person through the screen of vegetation, but he did also know that no one meaning students any harm could get onto the grounds. Abashed and at least vaguely sure that this girl wasn't going to hurt him (or so he thought) Jay pushed through the bushes, wincing a little when a thorn snagged a wingtip and brought him up short.
"Uh...sorry," he said lamely, awkwardly stooping over to free his wings. As he stood up straight again, he blinked at the girl he could now see clearly and a tremor of vague recognition shot through him. "Um, Laura, right?" Logan's strange, silent daughter with whom he'd never actually talked before, but had heard of nonetheless. When had she gotten back? Was Logan back as well? In spite of his embarrassment, interest sharpened in his eyes as he stared at her, overtly curious and more than a little bit confused...
X-23 - March 24, 2012 04:54 AM (GMT)
He had wings.
This rather idiotic statement was thankfully made in the safety of her own mind, but Laura still found the energy to be exasperated by herself. Really, it was obvious the boy had wings, large and red as they were, though they did look sort of brown-red-black-grey-ish in the darkness. He smelled of cold air and sweat, teenage boy and hay for some reason, and Laura supposed he might have spent sometime in the stables. He was also similar, in scent and physique, to that one instructor, a Something Gunty, or something. The woman had mentioned, in one of the few classes Laura had ever attended, that she had other siblings. She gave a mental shrug. It did not matter. The boy was whoever he was, it could not be changed.
She could see him clearly in the little light that was to be had. Shirtless and barefoot, and radiating curiosity. She didn't know how she felt about people being curious about her. She wasn't some creature to be peered at at their leisure. "Was there something you wanted, or is spying on people a usual nocturnal activity for you?"
She wasn't sure how she felt about him knowing her name either. No one, but Ororo and Scott, and she wasn't sure how she felt about him, either, called her 'Laura'. Perhaps the other teachers did so, but she hadn't ever given them the chance to do so to her face, and so she would not know, but the student's all called her
'Logan's kid' or 'that crazy chick with the claws' or something to that effect, she was sure; it was different, pleasing, good? to hear her name, her actual name, come from someone else' lips. She wasn't sure how she felt about that either.
She was too tired to do more than stare at him for a moment. "You know my name, but I do not know yours. Perhaps you should fix this."
Icarus - April 6, 2012 07:12 PM (GMT)
People left the Institute. Jay had seen it happen. But, most of the time, it was for mundane, normal reasons. Job transfers. Graduation. Moving on in life. People grew up and they moved on and, sometimes, that meant growing out of and moving on from the Institute.
Recently, though, people had been leaving for darker, more dramatic reasons.
The Professor had gone. And no one had quite explained to the students just how they had ended up with a young man they were expected to call Charles Xavier, or why. Then Logan and Laura had left in the night, quietly, but their absence had been keenly felt, particularly the man's. And then it had been Miss Braddock's turn and her departure had been much louder. And scarier, both because of the violent words she'd flung around and the fact that she'd thrown Miss Munroe into the bannister...and Miss Munroe had let her.
Yes, it had been an unsettling time at the Institute. Jay had been here for just over a year now, so maybe he wasn't qualified to judge what was normal here or not. But Jay knew weird, and this was that.
Sometimes though, apparently, people came back. Like the young woman standing across from him now, looking at him with disconcerting directness. Her words were also far out of what he'd expect from a girl her age. He flinched a little at the strict categories of her question and it was instinctive to flinch a little.
"Um, no," he said, repeating his indecisive noises. "Neither of the two, actually." He dared to take a wary step closer - not that her expression was encouraging, but he could only lurk in the undergrowth for so long. "It's just I was flyin', and I saw a light and..."
His voice trailed off a little and he shrugged, feeling supremely awkward. "You and Logan have been gone a long time. The place has been dark. I didn't know who was in the cabin..."
And oh, okay. Introductions. He could do those. Lucinda Guthrie had made sure that all of her children had decent manners as their default and so it was automatic to take even more steps forward, wings rippling a tad nervously behind him, until he was able to extend his hand towards her.
"My bad - I'm Joshua Guthrie. Jay." A wry look. "You've probably met some of my siblings."
X-23 - April 21, 2012 05:56 PM (GMT)
So she could not gut him right then since he'd only been curiously checking to see just who was in Logan's cabin. Curiosity killed the cat, yes, but death was a little tired at the moment. Laura blinked slowly at him, seriously, if sleepily, considering the pros and cons of inviting him inside, if only to keep herself awake for a little while longer.
Another part of her mind was smugly exalting in her correct assumption that this boy - Jay, he had a name - was a Guthrie. It seemed her skills weren't all dulled, and as foggy and disconnected as her mind felt, it was good to know she was still useful, if only in the smallest of ways.
That same part of her mind abruptly changed its tune, switching from exualtant to blaring a warning in a fraction of the time it took to think a thought. She was on dangerous, dangerous ground. Exhaustion was a state of being she'd been forced and trained oto work through before, inthat other life she wanted to put behind her, but her present state of mind and body was on a whole other level than she'd ever experienced. It was like, and yet totally different, when she had attacked that man in the city: the emotional upheaval she'd been subject to made everything harder, stronger, deeper, twisting the general need for rest and rejuvenationinto a sweeping, snarling beast itching to sink its teeth into her and drag her down, down, down...
The sudden snap of a branch startled her, eyes popping open and senses flooding with stimuli: the darkness of the surrounding trees pressing against her irises, pine and cedar and other leafy things pressing against her nose mingled with recently trampled grass, Penance and that which made Jay smell like himself, the wind, recently calm and soothing but now stiff and rebellious, chilled against she skin, filling the air with the voices of hundreds of little leaves overlaying Penance's general noisy ramblings, and Laura needed a full minute before she could trust herself to be calm, before those adamantium claws she was so known for could be retracted back into her arms, before she wasn't ready to spring into the air and deliver death's summons to some hapless creature. Her heart hammered in her chest, and Laura fought to even out her breathing; clearly she was not in her best form. Eyes still skittishly searching the forest around her, she wondered numbly how much longer she could go on like this, taut and wired jumping at nothing, before she did something irreparable. The notion upset her, and she decided she needed rest, regardless o how she got it.
"Would you like to come inside?" She had nearly forgotten he was there, standing just barely at the edge of the circle of light, but Jay was not a presence she could completely forget, strange and new as he was. Beneath the heavy, fog-like mantle of fatigue that was rapidly crawling back over her mind, Laura knew that, middle of the night or not, it was a monumental step she was taking, inviting someone into her home. There was a level of trust there that few, if any, had been exposed to. This boy, lanky, all elbows and knees and hardly a scrap of useful muscle on him, was not Ororo, after all. He had not been tried and proven his worth, probably would fail severely by her standards. Yet he was here, and he was needed, and even through all that Laura was, she could not deny what she needed.
"I am sorry I snapped at you. It has been a trying few days for both myself and Penance, but that is no reason to be rude." She steadied herself, the world around her seeming to tip on its axis, before half turning to the door. "Would you like something to drink? There is something I would like to ask you, if you would not mind." And clearly she was too tired to make sense of the things that were coming out of her mouth. Or maybe it was just the beginning of those changes she had both feared and wanted. Laura did not know. She was too tired to.
Icarus - April 30, 2012 11:37 AM (GMT)
The same noises that so set Laura on edge were hardly noticeable to Jay. He was not a warrior. He was not a weapon. Hell, even when he hadn't had his wings painting a big red stinking target on his back for all the world to see, Sam and his Dad had always been much better at hunting than he was. They'd been better able to pay attention to their surroundings, to the little, minute sounds that spoke as clearly as day to them on the location on their prey.
Jay was pitch perfect and would rather have been at home strumming quietly on his guitar. Didn't that just say it all?
So even as Wolverine's daughter person was exhausted and tense and on edge...the winged boy before her was just nervous. He could in fact hear someone moving around the grounds, which made him send a wary glance this way and that, but his faith in the safety of Xavier's was rather all-encompassing and blind.
But it wasn't as if the X-Men would let them get hurt on their own turf, would they? Jay may not have wanted to become one of them, not when he was ultimately a pacifist, but he also had faith in their strength, in their cohesion as a team, in the way that they would keep the students who were their charges safe.
Jay believed. And Laura obviously did not. But, with an inherent sort of tact, the boy held his tongue until the younger student seemed to relax a little...but he did blink in surprise at her offer.
It had not been, ah, what he had been expecting of her.
"I. Um. If you're sure," was his final answer, his left wing joint mantling apologetically. "I know it's late and all." But no, Laura of all people seemed determined to be a host and a polite one. This made Jay's eyes widen and sent him rather off balance, leaving him to scramble around for words in his own head. "Hey, no, if someone was lurkin' in the buses outside the home I grew up in, I think my Ma would've shot them first and asked questions later." All too true. "So...thank you. For not shootin' me, you know?" Okay, lame joke was lame and Jay smiled weakly even as he ran a hand through his hair. "I'm okay on the drinks front, but...go ahead. Ask me whatever. I'll do my best to answer."
X-23 - April 30, 2012 10:01 PM (GMT)
She was too tired to be pleased that he'd accepted her invitation. Also too tired to censor herself, so when the words "Would you watch the door while I take a nap" slipped out of her mouth it took a moment for their meaning to register in her mind.
And then it was a moment longer before she was properly lucid enough to be shocked. Embarrassed. Incredulous. "I am sorry. That did not come out the way I intended." Had she intended to ask him? It seemed so. Something about this was wrong though. Why would she trust him like that. "And I did not grow up here. I was raised in a secret facility owned by Weapon X. Your mother sounds interesting though. I would have liked to meet her."
Her movements around the small kitchen were robotic and stiff, the room disappearing for long stretches of time while she blinked, and fought to get her eyes open. She did not really want any more coffee (she had practically lived off the stuff for the past few weeks) but the mechanical movements would project a semblance of alertness and that was all she really needed at the moment: if she could trick her her body into staying upright and moving for a little bit longer, then maybe it would stay that way while her brain took a nap.
"I would not shoot you." Truthfully, even though she had been trained in all types of weapons and combat, Laura much preferred the rather assimilated form of fighting she had crafted for herself, and the only weapons she needs are her claws. "There is not much you could do to make me want to, either." And that was the truth. Jay was too mild, too gawky and awkward to pose much of a threat. She wasn't sure why that was a good thing.
"I have had one full night of sleep in the past three weeks. I am sorry if I seem a bit...off...from what you remember, or have heard, but sleep deprivation has a strange effect on the human brain. Even though I may not truly qualify as human..." She trailed off, mesmerized by the steam drifting up from the as of yet untouched cup of hot water sitting on the counter.
Icarus - May 5, 2012 11:29 AM (GMT)
What Laura wanted of him...it was enough to surprise him into mute silence.
Not that Jay was the chattiest of people in the long-run anyway, especially not after he'd spent so much of his time here being downright mopey, uninterested in talking to people and just generally miserable to be around. So it was no wonder that he hadn't made any friends because he hadn't made any effort.
Even now, with him trying to backtrack a little, to remember how to at least relate back to the boy he'd once been, handsome and vicarious and popular, it was hit and miss a lot of the time. Nori seemed to be willing to put up with him and he actively counted Casey as a friend. And his family were obviously soothing to have around, for all the typical Guthrie bickering that went along with having four of them in the same place. But friends tended to be ones that he'd only recently made because he hadn't been willing to do so before and, still, he was a far cry from the arrogant, outgoing artistic type he'd once been. He was quieter now, more reserved, more...hesitant even.
So it was with quiet, uncertain curiosity that he watched Wolverine's daughter potter around the kitchen of the cabin, a place he'd certainly never been in before. His wings flickered a little behind them, betraying his lack of confidence and the combination of nerves and curiosity that filled him up inside right now, and for now he was content to let Laura do the talking.
Strange - she'd always had a reputation for being as quiet as he was and yet, right now, she was the one doing the talking. The sharing. He was a little ashamed, really, but he was out of his depth here and that made him...disinclined to talk. In case he said something wrong.
Besides...he was kind of fascinated. Laura wasn't at all like her previous reputation and he frowned slightly as he watched her, not with any sort of hostility, but with a gentle, bemused sort of interest.
It took her finally betraying quite how tired she was for Jay to remember his good manners, the ones his mother had taught him. Immediately, he was ashamed of having been quiet for so long, of having let her continue 'entertaining' him this long.
"Hey, you know, if you're tired, I can stay up." He bit his lip, aware that this was awkward and weird, but he know that, above all else, he had an urge to help this newly-returned ward of Xavier's. She wasn't that different from the rest of them in the end, whatever her origins. "I mean, I was awake anyway." He shrugged, aiming for nonchalance, but that was difficult when wings emphasised every move that you made. "If you'd sleep better with someone keepin' watch...yeah, I can do that." He tilted his head questioningly in her direction. "If you want, I mean. You look...kinda beat."
X-23 - May 23, 2012 01:19 AM (GMT)
She wasn't quite sure what exactly she was feeling, some sort of unbalanced combination of relief and amusement, irritation and suspicion, but it flooded through her in a dizzying wave of colors and senses and when the world stopped spinning she was on the floor.
That was fine though. Wood was much softer than metal. Or concrete.
In another dizzying flurry of movement she was on her feet, clutching at the countertop as she fought to keep her balance. In the back of her mind, beneath the cotton-like fog dulling every sensation and behind the walls she'd built to close herself in, Laura was seething at the indignity. Not that she personally felt as if she had much, trained as she had been to be a weapon and nothing more, but to be brought so low, to have so little control over her own body made her ache in a way she had not known possible. For the briefest fraction of a second it crossed her mind that she was more frightened of her former handler seeing her in this state, present day or in the past, than she was angry over the lack of control, but the thought blew away under the force of her fatigue before she could properly grasp it. No matter. Rest was forthcoming.
"Thank you." She was stumbling towards the staircase before she realized she was moving. The steps were a difficult thing to master, but in less time than it took to breathe it seemed she was at the top of the stairs, blinking into the room that had been her father's den.
Laura was asleep long before the door clicked shut.
Icarus - June 2, 2012 10:10 PM (GMT)
Jay...yeah, Jay wasn't really all that sure how he'd ended up here, in Wolverine's old cabin, being on guard essentially. As far as he was concerned, he'd gone for a late night fly and a bit of a wander. Then, one lit window investigated later, here he was, and Jay had to admit to being slightly baffled.
...that didn't mean he was about to back out on the offer, though.
He'd been a little startled by just how fast Laura could move, her dizzying shift into an upright stance being enough to make him reflexively flare his wings. They were always more excitable than the rest of him, more prone to reacting to stimuli around him, and by nature of being big and red and unusual, they always, always tended to draw attention to themselves.
He controlled their movements soon enough, though, distantly aware that a tired and still dangerous Laura (hell, who was he kidding, she was probably always dangerous that daughter of Wolverine from what he'd heard) probably wasn't going to respond well to him making sudden movements either. And, schooling his expression into something that he hoped was pleasant and reassuring and non-threatening, Jay just nodded.
"Sure," he said, accompanying the words with an awkward 'I have no idea what I'm doing here, but I'll play along anyway' little wave. "Uh...sleep tight?"
Even as she left the room, he knew that had been a moronic sort of thing to say and he rolled his eyes at himself even as he turned uneasily to examine his surroundings. Predictably, he'd never been in the cabin before, since angry and clawed people lived there, so duh. And, he supposed, since he was going to have to stay awake to keep his words...well, he had plenty of time to kill exploring the lower levels of the place. Unless he found a book or something. Or a tv with a working remote.
...damn. Now he wished he'd brought his guitar. But, even as Jay sighed and settled in for a long and sleepless night, at least he knew his mother would be proud of his good deed for the day.
X-23 - July 3, 2012 08:37 PM (GMT)
It was hours before she woke up.
Not many, according to the digital clock on the bedside table, a new development, but enough that she felt refreshed, able to make it through a few more days if she had to, without the threat of losing control hanging over her head.
Laura stretched on the mattress, luxuriating in the freedom of relaxed muscles and sticky-closed eyes. Of a bed empty of all but her. No sharp claws pressing into her skin, drawing blood, accidentally tempting her. Her hair a mess, the sheets an unelegant tangle around her bare legs. It was good. She felt good. Perhaps she could get someone to watch the cabin while she slept more often.
Her moment of peace did not last long. he telltale thump-click-guuurt of Penance's manner of movement sounded on the stairs only moments before the shiny black-clad body burst into the room, taking only seconds to hop onto the bed, greet Laura with a far too enthusiastic headbump and scurry into 'her' corner, where she'd piled all sorts of things she found interesting. Laura gave a fond smile; as demanding as the girl's care was, Laura couldn't regret taking care of her. The sleep though, she would need more of.
Penance moved again, click-thumping across the floor and down the stairs, and Laura remembered Jay. The winged young man had probably already left. Probably couldn't be bothered to sit around in the creepy wooden cabin at the edge of the woods while she slept. Had probably bailed a long time ago. As soon as she'd come up to bed even. The sky outside was a strange dark green only seen in the early morning hours. No way he had stayed that long. Not that she was angry or anything. Laura couldn't quite believe she had completely expected him, Jay, a complete and utter stranger, to stick around in her dad's house while she slept. Because she didn't like sleeping in an unguarded house. And her brain had been too fried to set up her own defences. So if he had left then that was fine. Really. She'd thank him for entertaining her nonesense later in the day, since it actually had done some good and she actually had gotten some sleep and no secret agents or assassins had tried to kill her. At least not that she knew of.
But if Jay had left the cabin in the middle of the night, who had let Penance in?
The thought had her heart racing, legs kicking off the suddenly oppressive sheets and feet stumbling to balance the rest of her body on the cool wooden floor. Pants, pants were thrown on in seconds because Logan would tease her about her skinny legs and then she was hurrying down the stairs, making far more noise than she ever would in any other circumstance, fingers flying through her messy ponytail before she slid into the living room and kitchen area, eyes flicking back and forth, heart dropping, plummeting to somewhere near her feet, eyes losing the hopeful glint they had had only seconds before, heart slowing to a near stop...
Logan wasn't there. There was just Jay, and Penance curled up on the couch. No Logan, no Logan ever again. It hurt to think that, but Laura knew she had to, had to make herself comfortable with this fact permanently, had to accept it and move on, had to build a life for she and Penance, only she and Penance.
Because Logan wasn't coming back.
Icarus - July 16, 2012 05:40 PM (GMT)
Jay, like most young men his age, loved his sleep. He was more than capable of sleeping for fourteen hours at a time (though usually less these days since he tended to wake up hungry, damn that metabolism of his) and it wasn't like him to miss a night's sleep. He was boring like that, not a party animal anymore or particularly invested in any sort of social life that would keep him from sleeping at a reasonable hour.
So, all-nighters, not a normal occurrence in his life.
And yet, for a girl he really didn't know - definitely not someone he counted as a friend (because he could basically count those on one hand) - Jay found himself blinking away sleep, forcing himself not to get drowsy, pinching himself anytime his eyelids felt too happy. By the time the sun was coming up, even his wings were drooping, and Jay had made himself stand up just to avoid any temptation to sink back into the softness of the couch...
Still, he yawned though, one large hand coming up to cover his mouth. His guitar calluses scraped against the skin of his face and his mouth pulled wide with the action, tears prickling briefly at the corners of his eyes. Wiping them away he scruffed absently at his hair, ruffling it even more out of disarray than usual. He wasn't the sort of person who looked good on very little sleep, pale as he was, and he now looked wan, with dark circles underneath his eyes. No, Jay certainly wasn't built for roughing it and today was going to be hell now, given how little sleep he'd had.
And yet...she'd been so tired. Laura. He couldn't have just left her. And so, not knowing what else to do, jay had kept his promise. He'd stayed awake so she could sleep, even though he was exhausted now, even though his entire body felt heavy...
Then a noise at the door jerked him out of his tiredness and, warily, he crossed over to open it. A crouched red shape darted past him and he actively yelped, abortively moving out of the way, but then the other form was already heading upstairs. Jay hovered, unsure of what to do now. Who was that? Was Laura going to be okay?
Then he remembered that this was Laura and, yeah, dumb question.
Hovering uncertainly by the couch, Jay's wings flickered uncomfortably as he watched the red girl reappear and, soon afterwards, the sleeping girl herself. Jay shoved his hands in his pockets, even more awkward than usual, but decided to err on the side of cautious politeness.
X-23 - July 23, 2012 10:57 PM (GMT)
Under the crushing weight of her disappointment, Laura was able to be amused. jay looked like hell. Pale skin, baggy, dull eyes, trying to look as if he wouldn't topple over at the slightest breeze. Laura stifled a smile, thought for a moment, then released it. Smiling was fine. it was normal. She had to be normal now. Normal.
"I did, thank you. You will forgive me if I limit myself to thanking you and do not feel the need to apologize for my earlier weakness, correct? And the fact that I find your unkempt appearance most amusing?" Perhaps it was a bit rude to say she thought he looked funny, but normal people were rude, weren't they? Sometimes, at least.
She fidgeted, stubbornly pushing all thoughts of her father out of her mind. Later. She would address it later. "Adolescent males like yourself have a fondness for food, do you not? I am not as skilled as the cooks up at the school, but I am able to prepare a reasonable breakfast, if you like." Laura did not wait for him to respond, instead throwing him another amused look over her shoulder and heading into the kitchen prior. Penance had taken a liking to bacon of all things while they were in the city, and so that definitely would be on the menu, even though it invariably led her to think about Canadian bacon, and from there, Logan. And there would be fruit, a lot of it. Perhaps sandwiches would be the main fare, or pancakes. Laura wasn't sure. Pancakes made her think of syrup, which made her think of Canada, which in turn led to Logan.
She thought about Logan too much. Perhaps Ororo could help with that. Or the Red-Haired Woman. Maybe. She'd think about it.
Jay, though, was here, when none of those other people weren't. With effort Laura made herself focus on the lessons that'd been drilled into her, about courtesy and being a good host. Of course it was all for her to maintain a ruse until such time as she was able to remove the target, but the lessons, at their core value, still stood.
"Can I get you anything to drink?" The stove had been lit and frying pan set on it, and she pulled various things from the fridge. "I can tell you'd rather be in bed, but you've done me a great service here. I would feel odd if I were to send you away without even a meal.". And that was only partially true. Laura didn't truly care one way or another if Jay was tired. He'd stayed to watch the house all through the night, even when she was sure he would leave as soon as she had nodded off. She was fixing him breakfast, and he'd eat it too, if he knew what was good for him.
Her hair was a mess. Laura knew it, and wasn't entirely sure she felt like fixing it either. Still she couldn't very well cook with her hair hanging all loose and whatnot. It'd drive her mad in a minute. Thankfully, this was a fairly common occurrence in the Howlett cabin, and Laura had, reluctantly, prepared the space for the eventuality of her coming in without a hairnet. In the top drawer by the sink were head bands, thick, stretchy headbands she could slip over her head and keep her hair from flopping every which way. Laura pulled it on, then judiciously washed her hands in the sink before turning back to the counter. Eggs first, or bacon? Penance suddenly bumped up against her leg, bright blue eyes gazing at her in a way that was imploring despite the lack of any definable emotions shining through them. Bacon it was then.
Despite the fact that Penance didn't seem to understand any form of speech, Laura still found herself talking to her. "In a minute, Pup. I've got to make it crispy for you." It wasn't a situation she had much faith would change, but if it did, Laura would be there to handle it. As for right now, she would smile and talk to the girl as much as she wanted. At least the red mutant responded to her voice, if nothing else.
"I hope she didn't scare you last night, or whenever it was that you let her in. Penance can be rather startling the first time someone meets her." She was tempted to ask the girl if she'd been nice for their host, but the action was borderline frivolous, and so she declined.
And hadn't he screamed like a little girl a few minutes ago? Was that because of Penance? "I hope she didn't scare you too much? I would have mentioned her last night but..." Yeah, she didn't have a way to finish that sentence.
Icarus - July 31, 2012 02:47 PM (GMT)
Behind him, one wing stretched out and then in, indicative of a kink in it that needed working out. Outside, Jay may have flapped them both furiously (usually spreading dust and loose feathers everywhere in the process) but indoors? There were too many things that could be knocked over, or broken, especially when it was an area that he was unfamiliar with. A wingspan of almost twice his height was not convenient indoors, the average building not being designed for a winged person.
So he was limited to small, restrained and, admittedly, somewhat ineffective movements as he tried to work some of the stiffness out of a wing joint. It was a niggle in the back of his mind, though, as he studied Laura and tried to keep up with the puzzle of a girl who was the daughter of one of the more brusque teachers at the Institute. She spoke so strangely sometimes, alternating between silence and an almost aggressive sort of formality.
She was just...confusing in general and Jay, who was hardly the best with people anymore, always felt wrong-footed around her. And not necessarily in a positive way, given how awkward she made him feel.
She made assumptions. She said things that should have been insults. And yet Laura was just so decidedly odd that Jay was more bemused (or perhaps uncomfortable) than insulted and he just stared at her a little before blinking and shaking some of the confusion out of him. Instead, he just looked vaguely questioning before he shrugged. "I think everyone looks a little rough after a night with no sleep, don't they?" he asked, half dry and half awkward.
Jay wanted to argue against the label of adolescent. More than that, he kind of wanted to just leave and actually see if he could get some sleep before his classes. But - in keeping with the cliche she mentioned - he was starving. Partly in the normal young man sort of way, but also because his mutation meant that he tended to always be hungry, especially after a sleepless night.
"Food...would be nice," he said. Possibly lamely, definitely awkwardly, but he crossed over towards the cooking area nonetheless, hovering a little tentatively as he watched her retrieve pots and pans. (Hovering in the metaphorical sense, which needed to be clarified since he was actually capable of doing it literally.) "Juice would be nice, but water's fine after all," was his response to a remarkably domestic question from a girl he'd never really talked to before until now. And now she was making breakfast.
His life really was surreal sometimes.
Lucinda Guthrie's upbringing showed in Jay's expression now as he watched her, in that and his next question. "Is there anything I can do?" The question was politely phrased, but an unpreventable yawn chased on its heels and Jay looked vaguely embarrassed afterwards, even if it had been beyond his control.
The red...girl? Yes, a girl. She was back and Jay eyed her with a mix of curiosity and wariness before Laura addressed her presence. The winged lad shook his head, slightly lank hair moving around his face. "I've had worse frights," was his dry response, his tired eyes lingering on the oddly-formed mutant. "Is she a student here...?"
X-23 - August 5, 2012 09:29 PM (GMT)
This was...cozy. Making breakfast for two hungry stomachs while the sun's rays fought to brighten the horizon. It went without saying that this form of normal was vastly different from what she had known for most of her life, but Laura took in in stride, determined to make this the new normal she would live by.
"Perhaps that is so, but I have not had much experience with it outside of myself." Which was perfectly true, since she was the one most often staying up through the night in months gone by while worrying over Logan, but she hadn't been exposed to many other people in the same position.
Leaving the pancake batter to sit for a moment, Laura moved to the small refrigerator crammed into a corner and pulled out both a bottle of mixed fruit juice and water, slipped two tall glasses from a cupboard and filled them both before setting the two options in front of the winged mutant. "You are not allergic to anything, are you?"
Laura ignored his offer of assistance with only the faintest tinge of annoyance It was not as if Jay thought she was incompetent, as was the reflex thought process towards any offer of 'help', but rather his male's insistence on being unfailingly polite, even in the most awkward of situations. So she let the moment pass, choosing instead to fill plates, since the first batches of bacon and pancakes were done.
"I am out of eggs. I apologize if you would have liked some." She tried to insist Penance sit at the table during those first weeks together, because having the girl eat on the floor smacked of her treatment at the hands of her Weapon X handlers when Kimura had been absent, and perhaps it would work, one day. Penance insisted on grabbing bits of food and scurrying away with it, however, and Laura despaired of finding a stash of rotting food bits and rodents in the house some time in the future. Still, the girl ate at least some of it, so Laura figured that was enough for her to be thankful for.
"She is a student here after a fashion." Loathe as she was to list another's faults to a seemingly unknown, Laura was suddenly crushed with the need to unburden herself, even if it was on this awkward mutant child. "She does not speak, or seem to understand it, or that her skin is dangerous or that she should not head butt me to get my attention. As far as I can tell she has no real concept of understanding most things, though she responds well enough to my voice, if not what I ask of her." Laura sighed, absently poking at a bit of bacon, wondering where the subject of her miniature rant had gotten to. "She is a baby. An innocent baby that needs to be taught, and as long as I remind myself of that, I know we can manage together."
Icarus - August 10, 2012 07:58 AM (GMT)
That...that made him a little bit sad, actually. Not for himself, but for her. Maybe he wasn't the most sociable of people anymore, not since Julia, but Jay had grown up in an extremely large family. He'd never really known what it was like to be alone, not when there was always one of the younger kids to be seen to, or Paige butting into his business, or Sam looking in the background in his perfect little way. And then there was the concentrated hurricane that was Lucinda Guthrie...
No, Jay may not have always appreciated the company of his family, but loneliness? True solitude? That he was not familiar with. But, apparently, Laura was.
And, again, that was sad.
His response wasn't to say anything, mostly because Jay was only eloquent when it came to writing down song lyrics and expressing himself that way. In plain talk, he never knew what to say to make things better. That was Sam's avenue of things, or even Paige's in her rather blunt way.
So, unsure of himself and of what Laura expected him to say, Jay settled for not saying anything in response to that rather...sad comment. Instead... "Healin' factor," he said simply, letting one wing arch briefly behind him. "I used to get awful hayfever, but nothin' since I manifested."
For lack of anything else to do, he leant against the wall - carefully, and at an angle, since this was another of those things that having a wingspan twice as tall as he was made more than a little tricky. It meant the meat of his shoulder was resting against the solid surface rather than the flatter portion on his back but, well, being a mutant sometimes meant doing things in an odd way.
"I ain't all that fussy about eatin'." He attempted a smile. "My ma raised me not to be a picky eater. She'd just be grateful that you're feedin' me at all." Anyone who did so that she didn't have to...
This 'Penance' was an anomaly though and Jay frowned, a little thoughtful and definitely more than a little bemused at her explanation. "And...you're the one lookin' after her?" he asked, tentatively. "Not any of the teachers?" Because that would have been the more normal way of doing things.
X-23 - September 1, 2012 05:08 AM (GMT)
Of course, having a teacher look after a student would have been the regular, normal way for the situation to play out, but Laura nor Penance were what would call normal, even by mutant standards. "She chose me. She bonded with Logan some time ago and adopted us, I think, or we adopted her. Either way, she chooses to spend time with us rather than any of the other teachers, despite their efforts. It was just deemed easier for us to take care of her, more or less. And then when we left, she came looking for us. I found her in New York City a few months ago, and we've been inseparable ever since."
Laura wasn't sure how she could feel about this entire conversation. ON one hand it had felt good, still did, to speak to someone, anyone, about Penance' situation, un-improving as it seemed to be. On the other hand it felt like a betrayal, complaining about an ally to one's enemy. Except Laura had to remember, sometimes, that there weren't allies and enemies here, just family and potential friends. And friends helped each other, even if it was just by listening.
"I don't think I've ever been sick, or allergic to anything. And as far as i can tell, neither Is Penance." Of course, Laura had been grievously injured in former days, but as those were more wounds inflicted than illnesses contracted she didn't mention those. "A healing factor is terribly handy, when you think about it." Or hell, depending.
Suddenly introspective, Laura forced herself to eat, wishing there was something else they could talk about. The psuedo-uncomfortable topic could become awkward very soon, if it wasn't already.
Icarus - September 1, 2012 12:30 PM (GMT)
And Jay had thought his own story odd.
...well, actually, as to why he was here at the Institute? That was pretty standard. He was here because he was a mutant. He was here because he'd been recruited. He was here because the two elder Guthries had been here before him in their turn and, really, where else was he going to go?
It was only Julia that made things different, that made him sad and withdrawn, and he didn't like to think too much about that. Not when he was trying - honestly, seriously, trying - to fit in more and make more of an effort with the other residents of the Institute.
...he'd just never expected it to be with Laura.
The floppy-haired young man with the restless wings had been looking at her a tad oddly, almost bemusedly, and that was probably rude. But, in truth, he was kind of fascinated and definitely surprised. He'd always kept his distance from Laura before, as much as he'd done with everyone else at the Institute, but maybe that had been a mistake. She was surprising, and so was the story of the red-skinned mutant girl that had so surprised Jay earlier.
He shifted a little catching himself in a lull in conversation in which a polite person would have been replying, and shoved his hands in his pockets in an awkward little gesture. "It's, uh, nice that you're giving back." He shrugged, a little embarrassed. "I mean, it's good, you know? That you've got a chance to look after someone the way you are with her." Further awkwardness flickered across his face. "Everyone deserves someone like that."
...so, that was a compliment. Not that Jay was good at giving them, but hey.
His lips traced a wry, almost bitter smile in the middle of his features though, at her later words. "Oh, I remember bein' ill and all that," Jay drawled. "I don't miss it, not exactly. But..." His voice drifted off now, unable to quite put into words how healing every every wound, every injury wasn't always the amazing thing that everyone seemed to think it was. "...we're meant to learn from bein' hurt, aren't We? But if we heal away every teensy bit of damage, it's like the mistake ever happened." Maybe it was because he was tired. Maybe it was because his brain was in an odd place. Maybe it was just because he thought that, perhaps, Laura would be someone who would understand. "Sometimes, I think it'd be better if the hurt stuck around for just a little while longer."
X-23 - September 18, 2012 12:23 AM (GMT)
This was certainly different than what she had envisioned.
Laura had imagined herself whipping up a quick breakfast and watching the boy scarf it all down and then fly off to the school where he would spend the rest of the day in bed, recovering from his long night. She would be left with a bemused Penance and dirty dishes but would feel much better about the debt she owed the boy and the prospect of someday speaking to him again.
Instead, she was carrying out an actual, honest-to-goodness conversation with said boy, or young man, and wasn't trying to remain emotionally detached from it at all.
In fact, she welcomed the sort of churning wave of emotion his words caused in her, the jarring memory-feeling of pain and bloodshed shadow-walking across her skin, the cloying metal-taste of fear and anger crawling up the back of her throat, the tugging sort of sweep the memories of pain and tears and confusion caused in her stomach. That was then though, and this was now, and she'd learned that her emotions, her pain and anger and sadness and fear, made her all the more stronger, not weaker. But it had come at a price. She had to have known where she had come from, where she had been and everything she had been through, but Laura also had to learn that those things did not define her, that she was more than the sum total of her instructions and that she had to let it go, or the pain would surely have killed her.
She felt the single tear gather and slid down her cheek, and something ached within her like a satisfying stretch after a long sleep. "And if the pain stays, how will we learn to move on, to fight and strive and live? How will we know what and who we can be if we never begin the process to heal? Just as forgetting the pain leads to foolish risk and a twisted mind, so too can our pain kill us, don't you think?" She poked at her eggs for a moment. "No, pain should stay as long as we need it, then leave."
Penance chose that moment to crawl into Laura's lap, pressing her strangely-haired head on the older girl's collar bone. It was a recent development, one Laura wasn't sure she knew the origin of, but sometime during their stay in New York Penance had somehow unleashed her affectionate side, pressing herself to Laura's side at random moments and head-butting her when she sank into despair over Logan in the later days.
Laura smiled, wrapping her arms around the girl's leather-clad middle. Penance shifted her head,sighing, and a trickle of blood ran down Laura's chest, coating one of the red girl's tendril-like hairs with it's crimson stain. Sometimes, sometimes the pain was worth it.
Icarus - September 28, 2012 06:30 AM (GMT)
Oh, God, no, he couldn't handle it if she cried. Mostly because this was Laura, and he hadn't even realised that she had emotions like this, but also because, hello, young man.
Him and crying girls didn't get along as a practically biological imperative.
Jay's shoulders tensed, the spread of his wings only emphasising that particular action of his muscles. The look of obvious panic on his face would have been comical if this hadn't been a serious moment, where someone else was upset and he had absolutely no idea of how to deal with this. The two of his sisters closest to him in age weren't exactly criers (hell, both Paige and Mel were undoubtedly emotionally tougher than three of him were) and it wasn't as if he'd ever been faced with Sam or his mother when they were crying.
So what the hell was he meant to do?
At least it wasn't a flood of tears. But one was enough to provoke him though and he could feel an instinctive sort of panic sprouting somewhere in the vicinity of his gut. Suddenly, he wasn't hungry anymore and, if he was honest, he just wanted to get out of there.
...he didn't go, though. Because he was better than that, kinder than that, braver than that even when he was so desperately uncomfortable. Even when the last girl who had cried in front of him had been Julia, he...no, he wasn't going anywhere. Not a chance. He had to help. Somehow. As best his pathetic self could, but...okay, he had to at least try.
(No guarantees that he'd be useful though.)
"...most things, they get better. In the right amount of time." Wow, inspirational there, Jay. Really, really heartening. "I mean, most pain, it goes away...eventually." Minorly less lame. "Look, Laura..."
Jay paused, trying to work out what he was going to say to a healing chick who was now hugging a sharp, red mutant and bleeding because of it. To try and convince a girl he'd once thought was a robot that, very occasionally, even the worst things in the world got better.
"My girlfriend died." ...way to just blurt that out there, Guthrie. He kind of wanted to flee there and then, but he'd committed now, hadn't he? So he winced and then pretty much had to carry on. "She died and, for a while, I wished I could join her." Worse and worse and worse. Now he was just flailing, throwing words this way and that as if that would fix things somehow. "And it took a long time - a really, really long time. But, slowly...eventually..."
Jay shrugged, a little bit helpless, a little bit hopeless because, really, he wasn't good at this at all. "...things get better. Over time. In their own time. And there's a reason for that."
X-23 - October 7, 2012 01:38 AM (GMT)
' In their own time.'
That was true. She could not deny it, not when she knew as much, needed as much. Even if she did sometimes wish it moved faster.
"I am sorry for your loss." She looked at him then, took in the wide, awkward flare of his wings as they seemed to fill in the entire spcae on his side of the island countertop, the tenseion in his shoulders and the mild shake of his hands, noted the shift in the air around him, and smiled. " You are stronger than you think, Jay Guthrie. I know how it feels to want to die, to feel like you have no purpose, that sort of slow drowning feel that plagues your every waking minute. I know what it takes to push oneself forward, past it, to look that emptiness in the face and move on. It took long, perhaps, but you are stronger because of it."
Perhaps if she had known how uncomfortable her actions had made him Laura would have pulled herself together and retreated into the persona she had been parading under for her entire life, ignoring the fact that she was trying to turn over a new leaf, clear up the breakfast dishes and politely escort her guest to the door. Or not so politely. But she didn't know, Laura could not read minds and though she could smell his discomfort, she underestimated its depth just then and kept speaking.
She didn't know quite how to deal with his loss. She knew it was socially acceptable to apologize to one who had lost someone, a practice that made absolutely no sense to her, since more often than not the person apologizing had nothing to do with the actual death, but seeing as she was, had been, an agent of death, one assigned to kill without thoughts of her target's life of aspirations, the thought of death was a twisted and familiar sort of cousin. She knew death. Had seen it on the faces of many, many people. Had wished for it, tried for it, before reality had stepped in and she'd been reminded of her place, a weapon to be used, one without feelings.
Had been. But not any longer.
So she was sorry for his loss and glad he had rediscovered his will to live, but that didn't mean she wanted to talk about it.
But where did one go from here?
"I suppose I've shocked you, maintaining an entire conversation like this."
Icarus - October 15, 2012 08:07 AM (GMT)
She was more eloquent than him and that...that was a little humiliating actually, given their respective reputations. He was meant to be the painfully sensitive one, the sad little Guthrie, the one who wrote songs and moped around and was a walking cliche in oh so very many ways. Words were supposed to be all he had left to him. And she was the wild girl, a relative of Wolverine, and therefore wasn't she meant to just grunt at things? Or possibly stab them.
And yet here she was. Schooling him in a way. Having an honest to god conversation about feelings, dark ones, the ones you weren't ever meant to admit to having to a normal person with her....he wouldn't have expected this.
He looked her in the eye because it felt like the polite thing to do. You know, if you were two young people admitting to once having wanted to die and being betrayed by the automatic healing power programmed inherently into their blood and bones and body. Or maybe there wasn't a standard of politeness here since how often did this situation turn up?
Jay looked her in the eye, but it was...difficult. No one really made eye contact these days, not when it was easier to look at your phone or at their mouth or whatever else was interesting and [i[safe[/i] in the vicinity. But looking her in the eye didn't mean that he knew how the hell to respond to her.
He barely knew how to respond to himself.
So it was with some relief that Laura herself took some control over the situation, steering the conversation away from the hard stuff, that stuff that made Jay's heart ache under his breastbone and the only scar he had on his body. The look of naked gratitude filtered briefly across his open features before he remembered to look abashed and he scratched at the short hairs at the nape of his neck (though they were getting too long to be called short anymore, wow, he really needed a haircut.)
"Hey, uh, nothin' wrong with not bein' known for talkin' all that much." He grinned, a little wryly. "I'm not exactly known for bein' a good guy to have a conversation with. But, uh...new leaves, huh? Turnin' them over and all that." He shook himself a little, wings fanning out half-heartedly and then shrinking back in again, but he had made an effort to put a more business-like expression on his face. "So, is there anythin' I can do to help with breakfast? Really. My momma raised me to help if I can."
X-23 - October 18, 2012 03:22 PM (GMT)
Penance slipped out of her lap and made her way up the stairs to do heaven knows what. Laura watched her go quietly, a slight smile on her face.
"New leaves." she absently muttered. She supposed they were turning them over, whether they had wanted to or not.
Curious how she had found a kindred spirit, was that wheat they were called, in the awkward boy that took up more than his fair share of space. Or perhaps not a kindred spirit, but they had a few things in common, and that was refreshing, if a tad uncomfortable, foreign. It was more than she could say for the majority of the others students at the school.
Or maybe not. She hadn't made many inroads in speaking to the others, so she would not know.
Still, Jay was amusing, in a way Laura knew he did not try to be, could not help. To a child who had had grace beat into every inch of her little frame, Jay's brand of body shuffling provided a small scale one-man play that entertained her more than it should. It wasn't malicious entertainment either. Laura knew he could not help it. Teenage boys were generally wrong-footed in body, thought and deed. His wings did not help.
"Breakfast is done, unless you are still hungry. Otherwise it is just cleaning that requires doing."
Icarus - October 25, 2012 09:31 PM (GMT)
Apparently, he'd missed his chance to be a polite guest.
Jay made an awkward face when Laura announced that breakfast was done, mostly because it left him feeling rather useless. That being said... "Yeah, I'm a better dish-washer than I am a cook, I'll admit," he said, scruffing a hand through his hair which, really, was getting so long. He was starting to look like a shaggy dog. Or a hobo. A hobo with red angel wings.
It smelled good though and his belly announced its presence with a growl. A loud one. That made him make another face, this one slightly more abashed, and he briefly pressed his palm over his navel, fingers splayed and spread. His power, his healing factor, it meant that his appetite was a tremendously rapacious one. Jay was hungry, nearly all of the time, even more so than a young man his age usually was. Half the time, he had to wake up in the night to eat an energy bar (or six) in the night just so he didn't wake up in a particularly pathetic state of hunger.
So, understandably, after a night spent awake and snackless...
No wonder his stomach was loud and he felt it actively cramp, like a wound in how much it ached. There were interesting things going on with his salivary glands as well and Jay was vaguely concerned he was actively going to drool everywhere if he didn't have something to eat soon. "I...thank you for this. For the cookin', I mean." Another distracted ruffle of his hair with a spare hand. "You didn't have to."
And feeding a guy with Jay's appetite could be expensive a lot of the time.
X-23 - November 4, 2012 11:29 PM (GMT)
She gazed at him a moment, bemsued. He was terribly awkward, more so than she had given him credit for at the beginning of their conversation. Adventure. Whatever.
"Well, you can eat. The food is not going to bite you, or teleport itself into your stomach."
Perhaps she was making him uncomfortable? She hadn't yet met a teenage boy who didn't dig into any sort of food placed in front of them, let alone one who had actually endured having said food cooked in front of them and hadn't begged for or pilfered a snack to tide them over lest they perish.
Laura slid out of her chair and made towards the sink, picking up the heavy, still-warm frying pan from the stovetop as she went. "While I don't doubt your impressive skills, I am a what others call obsessive about cleaning dishes, and prefer to do them myself." She peered at him over her shoulder, hands idly turning on the faucet and putting the stopper into place. "Besides, you've done more than enough by staying up all night. I really do appreciate it."
Icarus - November 15, 2012 07:31 PM (GMT)
Well, she didn't need to tell him twice. Good manners - even ones taught by Lucinda Guthrie - could only last so long in the face of an enhanced mutant metabolism. And breakfast.
Food teleporting would be neat, though, and would probably save on dentist bills as well...
Jay was much better at eating than he was at maintaining conversation, particularly with someone who baffled him as much as Laura was. Sure, he didn't understand why she was putting food in front of him. Or the one caring for a sharp-edged mutant. Or why she couldn't sleep without someone keeping watch. But Laura...she wasn't as bad as he'd once thought.
That gave him something to think about as he chewed, dark bangs falling into his face as he bent over the plate. The only time his efficient consumption was interrupted was when an unbidden, irrepressible yawn broke through even his hunger.
"...I suppose tryin' to claim that stayin' up all night is easy for me ain't gonna fly, is it?" he said when he could talk again, his jaw creaking a little from how wide it had stretched. Jay looked abashed and then peered down at his plate, aware of quite how fast he'd demolished that food. "Thanks for that, though. It tasted great."
He paused, slightly awkwardly, though not with any real malice, and when he spoke again it was carefully, yes, but with an edge of friendliness as well. "I should probably go and crash," he admitted, "or at least try and get some sleep before class." Worst came to worst, he'd try and get Sam to cover for him. Or just get Mel to lie for him.
What else was family for?
X-23 - December 1, 2012 11:22 PM (GMT)
If she could beam, Laura would have just then. Jay was nice, she felt, awkward, but nice. "I won't tell anyone if you skip today," she said giving him a small smile. "It is the least I can do, considering."
It was still fairly early, enough so that only the very earliest of risers, both student and teacher alike would be awake, let alone prowling the school's corridors. Laura was sure he could make it back undetected.
She made quick work of the dishes, even as one stubborn grease spot tried her patience, and soon turned her full attention to the winged mutant. Having company was still new to her, considering she'd never been one for visits and small talk, but this one, despite the circumstances, had been good. She smiled a true, honest smile, and held out her hand for him to shake.
"Thank you, Jay Guthrie. It was nice meeting, and feeding, you." Things were strange, the world defying conventions left and right, but it was nice to know that some change was good. That there were people she could call on in the middle of a bind, and that they'd help her.
Good hearts, she mused.
Did that make them friends? She hoped so. It would be nice to have one, even if it was just one. "I'll see you around, right?"
Icarus - December 13, 2012 06:07 PM (GMT)
Maybe it was because he was tired enough to lose some of his usual stiff awkwardness, but Jay snorted softly in response to her words and rolled his eyes just a little. "Thanks, but someone would find out probably." He looked more than a little resigned. "You've met my older sister, Paige, right? I swear, she's actually a telepath or somethin'. She always knows when you've been up to no good."
Sad, but true. She definitely got that from their mother.
Jay stifled another yawn, covering his mouth with his hand, and stood up to put his plate in the sink - he could at least do that. He even managed to keep his wings furled so that he didn't knock anything over or hit her with a feathered appendage. "You must know what that's like, huh? Since your dad's a teacher and all."
Was 'dad' even the right word? Crap. Jay nearly made a face at his own verbal clumsiness and moved swiftly on, nodding at her words and looking bashful in a way that was pretty damn common for him. "Yeah, same here." He shrugged, wings rising and falling behind him like crimson banners. "I know we've seen each other before, around, but...yeah, it was nice."
He nodded again and, tentatively, tried a smile. There was some hesitancy there, sure, but it was friendly enough at the same time. "Thanks for breakfast, Laura and..." He paused, but forged onwards nonetheless. "...I hope you sleep better soon." That was altogether too awkward for him and, taking the coward's way out, he fled.
Now to actually see if he could get some sleep.