|Bonding Over Ice Cream|
|What: Two female mutant teens run into each other at a mall and talk over ice cream.|
The Island of Manhattan. Or at least new York City has its share of interesting shopping areas. From the glory of 5hth Avenue, to its multiple malls, to rows of small shops that are small, non-chain, mom and pop stores. There's something for everyone.
And yet, among the shopping places in the city, there are a few truly unique places, like 'The Market' A building that while older, and not as big as modern buildings, is still quite large. One that has been renovated to be akin to a shopping mall. A mall that's 3 stories high at least, and where each shop is on the 'small' side, where maybe 5-6 stores exist on each floor... Where every shop is independently, and locally owned and operated. In other words, it's a place that isn't well known, but if you're looking for things that the big chain stores might not offer, or you might not find at a big mall, this is the place to look.
Of course right now, outside a small ice cream 'booth' on the second floor (one that makes its own ice cream right there at the booth, and hand mixes in the fixing's) is an unusual sight. Namely Laura Kinney, in what looks like a black body suit with a black hoodie and combat boots on over it.
Eating ice cream.
Yes, that's right, X-23 is sitting out in the open, eating ice cream. Fear!
The Market is Jubilee's kind of place! No, really! (Stop laughing!) Family owned and operated means the kind of personal touch that's often lacking in chain stores, both in and out of malls. Too many are going the way of Wal-Mart.
Today she has a little more time than usual, and can afford the extra bus fare, so she's visiting her real favorite place in New York. She's left her coat, scarf, and hat with the the polite people at the coat check (another personal service that happens to have the side benefit of reducing five-finger discounting), and is climbing the stairs to the second floor, a bag in hand from a secondhand clothing place on the ground floor. There's a Slushee stand on the ground floor, too, but here, the real attraction is the fantastic ice cream at a stand known as the Olde Country Creamery.
Her surprise might well be imagined when she catches sight of a familiar, black-dressed figure sitting near the stand she happens to be going to! Jubes lifts her shades and rubs her eyes, blinking. "I know her..." she murmurs, and moves to approach the relaxing girl. "Hey!" she calls, once she's close.
And as she hears someone cry out, Lauras head snaps around, seeking the source. It's only after the fact that she notices who it is calling out that her eyes narrow, and she even scowls ever so slightly.
But she doesn't get up.
Nor does she give up on her ice cream.
Instead, she eventually nods her head at the other girl, and remains silent.
Jubilee knows that scowl. Not on this girl, but on someone who very much reminds her of this girl. So she simply smiles in acknowledgement, pausing at the stand to buy some ice cream of her own. Two scoops of cherry vanilla, with real cherries mixed in.
Only then does she approach the black-clad devourer of ice cream. "Mind if I join you? I hate eating alone."
There another moment or two of silence as Laura works on her ice cream. That is before she finally speaks up. All though in those few moments, it's almost as if a small handful of possible responses flitter through Laura's head.
"If you want." is all that's said to the asian girl as that question is responded to.
Otherwise... Laura doesn't say much. Does she.
Or does she?
"Your bug friend. All right?"
"Thank you," Jubilee replies politely, taking a seat close to the other girl. "Broo? He's much better, thank goodness. I don't think Josh will be trying to help him again."
She looks up, blue eyes seeking green. "That's all he was doing, really. Broo wished he was taller, and Josh's heart got in the way of his head."
With her free hand, Laura makes a fist. For a moment or two it's almost as if she's going to pop her claws. But in the end... Doesn't.
"He experimented on someone else. He was lucky." is said before Laura glances away.
"If he does it again, and I find out, he will regret it."
"That must be a sore spot with you. That's the most you've said in the last two minutes," Jubilee notes thoughtfully, thought not without a trace of good-natured amusement. "I don't think he will. He was trying to help, not use Broo for a lab animal, and he knows better now."
And then... Laura shrugs.
"I don't like labs. I don't like doctors. And I don't like people who experiment on others. He experimented on another." is said before the green eyed girl glances back at Jubilee.
"But the Bug Boy is better? That's good."
"I can understand that last part. I still want to throw up when I watch /Frankenstein/. But yes, Broo's much better. I'm sorry he couldn't be here today to thank you." Jubilee looks thoughtfully at the (slightly) taller girl. "You don't talk much. From what I saw earlier, I'm guessing you tend more toward doing rather than saying."
There's something inbetween a nod and a shrug at that.
"Doing is easy. Doing is what I was trained to do."
That doesn't mean she can't talk, since she can, in multiple languages. But still...
"I was created to do. Talking was only meant to get me where I could do what /they/ wanted me to do."
"/Created/?" Jubilee doesn't draw back (much), but surprise flickers across that expressive face. "Wow... most people like us are accidents. No wonder you hate doctors and labs."
She looks back at her ice cream for a moment. "I'm guessing 'they' aren't any friends of yours. I can't blame you for that, either."
There's a slow, careful glance around, as if to make sure not only is no one looking their way, but also to make sure no camera are on the girls, before Laura brings her gaze back to Jubilee.
Then, carefully, she brings her right fist up, and there's a *SKNIT* as her claws pop out. Only for a moment or two, before they retract. But that should be more than long enough for the other girl to get a good look at them, and to make perfectly clear that they're metal.
"Tell me what you thought when you saw those? Did you ever think those are an 'accident'? Do you think the ones that gave me those... Who created me... Could be my friends?"
Jubilee, warned by that glance, still starts as those claws pop out, even though they instantly retract. This is also something she's learned to be wary of, though not from this girl. "No... I never thought those could be an accident, or that they were anything but weapons. No one who could put those into another human being... who could /create/ another human being just to have them... could be a good person," she replies, a little shakily.
But she takes a deep breath, looking the other girl in the eyes again. "But they're only your creators. Just because /they're/ bad people doesn't make /you/ a bad person. You can't help how you're born. S'what you do with what you're born with that counts."
To what part is Laura saying that to? One question? All of them? Or maybe some sort of unasked question?
"Thank you for helping stop your bug friend. I did not want to have to kill him if he became too much of a threat."
"Okay, that clears things up..." Jubilee murmurs, shaking her head. "I had to help. He's my friend. I wouldn't be much of a friend if I didn't. Thank you, though. For not killing him. I know you could've."
And at that, there's a nod.
"I would of." is said in a simple, matter of fact way, before Laura finishes off her ice cream.
"This... Is good."
"And you're welcome."
"Would've what?" Jubilee has to ask, catching herself falling into the same speech patterns as the short-spoken girl. She stifles a smile as the ice cream is complimented. "They're here every day, except for Sunday mornings."
As she closes her eyes, Laura slumps back in her seat. It's almost as if what she's about to say takes a lot out of her for some reason.
"Killed him. He was too much of a threat. He had to be stopped one way or another. Thankfully it didn't come to that."
Then, her eyes do open, and she even smiles at that bit about the ice cream.
"I will remember that. But can't come that often. Have to stay moving. No patterns. or else."
Jubilee's eyes widen again for a moment, but she bites her lip on her reply, seeing that effort. This time it's sympathy in her eyes, not fright. "I hope it never does."
She turns her own bowl of ice cream, offering the other girl a taste from the uneaten side. "You don't have to rush off right now, do you? I was hoping I could at least get a name and number. The right number," she adds with a wry smile. "It's easier to help people when you know they need it.
In a hushed tone, Laura starts to say, "Weapon X Twenty..." before she quickly snaps her mouth shut, pauses for an instant, and then says, "Laura."
Then there's another pause, before the clawed girl reaches into her pocket for a slip of paper and a pen. one that she scribbles a number onto, before offering it to Jubilee.
"Laura. It suits you," Jubilee replies, accepting the slip. She tears off the bottom half and quickly puts down her own number and name on it. Yes, the 'i' is dotted with a heart, or so Laura might see when the teenage mutant offers it to her. "Also emergencies only. But I do consider crushing loneliness or the need to talk an emergency," she informs the other girl with a grin. "And I don't mean talking about clothes and boys." The grin vanishes, replaced by some sincere concern. "Call anytime. I mean it."
To that there's only a slight nod from Laura. Why? because what is there for her to say? After all, if she ever really does alone, she does have others she can talk to. In theory. And safe places. In theory. but still...
She can't risk putting anyone else in danger. or at least that's how she feels, even if she doesn't say it.
Hearing the silence stretch, Jubilee reaches over and gently clasps Larua's hand. "I wouldn't be much of a friend if I didn't try to be there for you," she says softly. "Besides, I might get to see you smile again."
And at that, there's an eyeroll, and a faint smile before Laura shakes her head.
"Thank you. But it's too dangerous for you to get involved. They want me back. And will not rest until I am."
"But thank you."
"I'm a mutant, Laura. I'm in danger just waking up every morning," Jubilee reminds her, smiling a little. But she doesn't push it. "Just... let's go shopping sometime? You need a little color in your wardrobe." She finishes off her own ice cream, scraping the bottom of the bowl clean. "There'd be ice cream, my treat..."
"I wear color." Laura starts to say. "Sometimes." before she shrugs and her expression goes back to being neutral.
"But around me you would be in even more danger. /They/ may decide they want you too."
"/They/ have to catch me first... catch /us/ first," Jubilee amends quickly. "I think we might make a good team. But you're right about the whole patterns thing. Maybe we should meet up next time in a different mall. There's a huge one over in Brooklyn that'd be perfect! Lots of stores, lots of selection, and most importantly, lots of crowds to blend into." Wink!
Yet again Laura can't help but smile, albeit faintly, as she rolls her eyes.
But that's all she says on that, even as she starts to stand up.
"o/~ That's not noo-oooo!" Jubilee gathers up the used bowls and spoons, stretching as she gets up from the little table. "I've got these."
She looks over at the awkward, quiet girl she sincerely hopes to befriend. "Take care, Laura. But call me, please? It's not good to be alone all the time."
And yet somehow, between the moment Jubilee glances away and looks back, Laura is gone.
Which would be really fitting. If this was /Gotham/ and not New York City. Doh!