Page 1 of 1
Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:07 am
<Hope> The rocking chair in the baby's room was really comfortable. And it was quiet in there. Nobody came in there. There was no baby yet! Hope held onto her two bottles of scotch, drinking from the third. She glared at the door. Fuck SebastianDaddy if he thought he was getting any of her precious bottles!
<Jessica> After dividing up the pizzas, Jess took hers and Hope's portions (along with some mince pies) to find the other girl. Enhanced hearing made this a simple task, even without without the weird emotional vibrations she was getting. She knocked softly on the door to the nursery to announce her presence before stepping inside.
<Hope> She shouldn't be surprised. She just shook her head as Jess entered. "If you are here to enforce prohibition... please leave"
<Jessica> "I'm not... just wondered if you'd want some food," she moved in front of her and held up the plate of pizza.
<Hope> No she did not want pizza. But Sebastian had played a pouty face to get her that pizza. She sighed heavily and reached out with her free hand to take the plate. "Thank you."
<Jessica> "Is the alcohol at least helping?" She leaned against the wall after setting the plate of pies down on the window ledge.
<Hope> "Yes. It always does." She had to set the bottle she was drinking from down on the floor. And then realized this was stupid of her. "Take the chair." She started putting all the bottles down so she could move to the floor.
<Jessica> She offered Hope a smile and went to take the seat, "Thanks..." After getting settled and casting her eyes around the room at all the duckies, Jess focused her attention back on the redhead, "Um... can I ask you something?"
<Hope> Hope laughed at her. "You know you can." She poked at the pizza, finally picking it up to take a bite.
<Jessica> "I'm not sure how to ask...." she chewed the corner of her lip, "I've been experiencing some weird things...."
<Hope> "It's called being pregnant and maybe you should ask Paige?" Hope offered, hopefully, taking a bite.
<Jessica> She shook her head, "It's not a pregnant thing... it's a powers thing..."
<Hope> "Oh... oh! Well I can help with that. What's it doing? Want me to tap in?"
<Jessica> "Will you be able to tell if it's me or the baby?" She loved Sebastian dearly but she really didn't think she could handle a telepathic child.
<Hope> "Two distinct x-genes. I should be able to differentiate. But... I've never tried a baby before." Hope took another bite. Could be interesting.
<Jessica> "Okay... well... check mine first..." she shifted uncomfortably, "I need to know if I've developed anything... new...."
<Hope> Hope nodded, and scanned Jess, not really tapping into the powers. She licked her lips, thinking. "Well... I see all the ones I remember. But I don't remember empathy. Have you always had that? That would totally explain the thing on the stairs though!"
<Jessica> Jess blinked at Hope, shaking her head slowly, "I haven't... and it would explain a lot.... what thing on the stairs?"
<Hope> "The thing... you know the thing! When you touched me. And made me calm down. That thing. Or was that a pheromone thing. Because that's kind of confusing."
<Jessica> "Defintely not a pheromone thing, you'd know if it was a pheromone thing.... and I didn't know I was doing that.... sorry..."
<Hope> "Hey it's fine. I kind of figured out I should have been more angry than I was. So I stepped away. I shouldn't have come here with you... struggling? the way you are. I'm really sorry."
<Jessica> "I'm okay... and I'm glad you still feel like you can come here and be around me... it's been a long time since I've felt useful like this..."
<Hope> "Still... it's putting stress on you, Jess. I can find a hotel tomorrow."
<Jessica> "You think going away where I can't watch you will be less stressful for me?" She laughed and shook her head, "It's better if you're here... besides, now that I know what's going on I can keep a better eyes on things and hopefully avoid the affect so much... empathy's much less stressful than a potentially telepathic child."
<Hope> Hope laughed slightly. "Well... that's true." Jess liked to mother. "Still...how many people do you want here?" she laughed a little again, taking more scotch.
<Jessica> "I'd be happier minus a squirrel, honestly... it was only supposed to be temporary but she seems to have just moved in... I'm not sure how to tell her it's time to go without feeling like a bitch..."
<Hope> "So I guess throwing her stuff out the window is in line with bitch too?" Hope offered, taking another drink. "That's not fair... she was nice to me. But should she really be allll over Shinobi like that? He's...." fragile. And she had fucked up his mind. Shit.
<Jessica> "No. She shouldn't. I don't like it but what can I do? It's not like I have any right to tell either of them to stop even if I know it's bad for them both..."
<Hope> "Yeah... and if I do, it looks like I want in on that." Hope made a face and drank more scotch. Lots more scotch. "Make Sebastian do it."
<Jessica> "I can't do that - I invited her to stay....."
<Hope> "So? Isn't that what husbands are for? Wouldn't know for sure, never going to have one, but isn't that what they are for? Doing the heavy lifting?" She took a sip of the scotch, followed by a bite of pizza.
<Jessica> "I don't know... I mean... there's an issue of tact..." she wrinkled her nose, "Never been Sebastian's strong suit because intimidation works better for him... but Doreen wouldn't take that well..."
<Hope> Hope just took a swig. Why did Jess always care so much what other people thought. "What's this tact you speak of?" she grinned at Jess.
<Jessica> "It's important when you don't want an army of squirrels descending on your electronics," Jess nodded sagely and took a bite of pizza.
<Hope> "It's kind of ridiculous that you have to worry about that after she's been living here for... how long now?" Hope took another drink. Talking about Doreen was so much better than talking about her own life. She wondered how long she could get away with it.
<Jessica> "Well she seems to have gotten a bit attached to Shinobi..." Which was something she could have happily gone forever without knowing or witnessing. Especially the witnessing.
<Hope> "Ew." Hope let slip, shuddering. "I don't want to think about that." Nope.
<Jessica> "Neither do I... I suggest not borrowing mine or Sebastian's powers for too long at a time. For your sanity."
<Hope> "With them and you two? You don't have to worry about that one," she gave Jess a nod.
<Jessica> Jess laughed a little, "Well we're not as bad as we were... it's a bit awkward now," she nodded to the bump. "I can't wait for this to be over."
<Hope> That required another drink of scotch. "Still. Don't want to hear all that. Ew," she gave Jess a small smile.
<Jessica> She laughed, shaking her head, "Think what it's like at the school.... and people wonder why I moved out."
<Hope> Hope laughed at that. "I guess you're right. That place is like a 1970s key party."
<Jessica> "It's sooooo bad and that's on top of the noises old buildings make and all the other tiny creatures that live there. It's a wonder I got any sleep at all."
<Hope> "It's a wonder you get any sleep at all. You live in Boston now."
<Jessica> "It's actually easier here... the sound of the traffic drowns most other things out.... of course, now there's a tiny person kicking my insides at random intervals instead..."
<Hope> Hope eyed that stomach, then shoved the rest of that piece of pizza in her mouth. After a moment to chew and swallow, she spoke again. "And then you have crazy sort of children dropping in and blowing things up."
<Jessica> "Yeah... I don't mind having Shinobi in the house though... it's better for him to be here than somewhere else and he's much better now that the tension's sort of mostly gone between him and Sebastian."
<Hope> "That's getting better for sure. And he's not a dick to me anymore. I let him know that wasn't going to work." She smirked, smug.
<Jessica> "Good... I'm trying to help him trust people... make friends that are good for him, you know?" She finished the last piece of pizza on her plate.
<Hope> "Yeah..." Hope decided maybe she should stay away from him. She picked up another piece of pizza and took a bite, thinking. "I should start looking for apartments. I don't really want to stay at school now."
<Jessica> "Because of Chris?" She sighed, levering herself out of the chair to get the mince pies from the window sil, "Wouldn't that make it complicated for your security detail? Not that I'm trying to discourage you but I know you hate that at the best of times..."
<Hope> "I'm not going to arrange my life because it might be inconvenient for people to do their job." Hope took another bite.
<Jessica> "I know... but are you going to let them stay in the house with you?" She swapped the plate of pies for her empty pizza plate and sat down again.
<Hope> "They live in their own places... but they can come inside, yeah."
<Jessica> "Aren't you supposed to have around the clock security? I mean... you do at the school - that place is crawling with SHIELD..."
<Hope> "I do all the time. I'm sure they are here somewhere. I don't get to go anywhere by myself anymore."
<Jessica> "That must be a nightmare..." she wrinkled her nose, "Kind of an invasion of privacy."
<Hope> "Why do you think I fought it as hard as I did?" Hope gave her a questioning look. "Everyone thinks I'm a huge brat about it, but really? Never getting to go anywhere alone?"
<Jessica> "I would hate that... I do hate that... I really need to be done with this so I can do normal things again... it's really boring being stuck in the house all the time."
<Hope> "Why are you stuck in the house all the time?" She questioned her. "Boston is right out there."
<Jessica> Jess shook her head, "I can't get around very easily and with all the Sentinel craziness I don't feel very safe... I don't want to risk anything happening... it'd be different if I could get up to the school."
<Hope> "So make Sebsatian take you to the school?" Like hell would he let anything happen to her.
<Jessica> "Don't have the car anymore... I used to drive up there and he'd take my bike... and then the car got mangled and now there's a new thing that's... terrifying."
<Hope> "Drive my car," Hope laughed a little. "My car is way better than his... I don't even know what to call it!"
<Jessica> "It's a bloody tank, is what it is.... I don't know what he was thinking..." she rolled her eyes, "I guess I could just get one for myself... something small and child friendly... and less.... bricky..."
<Hope> "He was thinking of something to keep you safe," Hope interjected. "But the Corvette is way better than that thing."
<Jessica> "The other car was perfectly fine... safe is all relative. I don't even feel like it'd be safe to drive that thing down the street - it's such a narrow road..."
<Hope> "So make him buy you a car! It's not like he can't afford a car for his wife. Come on."
<Jessica> "I have my own money, you know... not that I'm ever allowed to spend any of it."
<Hope> "...Then let's go car shopping! Wooo!" Hope took a nice big swig of the scotch. "Tomorrow. They are closed today. Now. At this time."
<Jessica> "You seem entirely too excited about car shopping...."
<Hope> "I like car shopping... maybe I should get another new car! I need a garage."
<Jessica> "You need less scotch if we're going car shopping... or you're not allowed to drive anything."
<Hope> "Weeellllll I suspect prohibition will be reinstated tomorrow." She needed her own place.
<Jessica> "Only if we threw all the booze away and I don't think Sebastian could do that to himself."
<Hope> She underestimated the lengths he would go to in order to piss her off. Hope raised her bottle in 'cheers' and took a hearty drink. "I hope you are right. Because that sober shit was terrible."
<Jessica> "You realise that a permanent state of sobriety is how I live, right? I don't have a choice."
<Hope> "Yep. I do. But I don't have to be that way," she pointed out. "I was sober for months... I dealt with my boyfriend being captured and losing a baby sober. I think I've earned my scotch."
<Jessica> "You have," Jess offered her a small sympathetic look, "I'll let it go... I know how you deal with things. Sebastian's just trying to stop you from damaging yourself I suppose... he worries."
<Hope> "Well, if I hurt myself, then he can worry?" She offered, finishing her pizza.
<Jessica> "If you hurt yourself and I've let you drink it'll be on my head... so don't do that," Jess offered her the pies, "Want to go heckle the telly?"
<Hope> "I'm not going to hurt myself," she pointed out, exasperated. "Don't really want to watch TV, but you go ahead."
<Jessica> "It's no fun without someone else," She pouted, "I'll go and read a book upstairs... if you want to talk and can't find me, just keep going up until you run out of stairs."
<Hope> "Fiiiine, we can watch the TV. But I'm taking the scotch."
<Jessica> "By all means, bring the scotch. I can enjoy it vicariously through you," She got out of her seat, "Popcorn to throw at the tv while we right the wrongs of the world."
<Hope> "And we need to find my batter! I wasn't finished with that yet," Hope declared, carefully carrying her bottles of scotch.
<Jessica> "Yes, that's very important too... I did put some of it in the oven though because I can't eat it raw. Don't worry, there's plenty left."
<Hope> She laughed and followed Jess. "Well... we can't all be perfect," she grinned, teasing her.
<Jessica> "Perfect is a state of mind," Jess waved it off, "Besides, if there was nothing wrong with any of us, it'd be soooo boring. What would we do all day?"
<Hope> "Drink scotch and shop online?" Hope offered. Oooo she could use some new outfits.
<Jessica> Jess laughed, "I would buy so much crap! ... When I'm done being pregnant, we should do that."
<Hope> "I'm doing that today! And after you are done being pregnant!" Hope laughed with her.
<Jessica> "Yay!" Jess gave her a grin, leading the way back up to the kitchen to fetch the popcorn and various states of brownie.
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:08 am
<Hope> With no concept of what hour it was, Hope had pulled herself from the couch and wandered into the kitchen. She had finished off one bottle of scotch that day, and brought her second bottle with her. Just in case. She set it down on the counter and looked around the kitchen. There was no junk food in this house. You had to make it yourself.
<Hope> Stupid rules. She smoothed out her green dress and started looking for the mixing bowls. Well. At least she knew how to make two things.
<Shinobi> Shinobi looked at the clock before he rolled out of bed and showered, but didn't care how late it was. He was hungry, and since Doreen had left, he was curious about what the hell had gone on earlier. After his shower and locating clean clothes, he started the long trek up the stairs.
<Hope> Hope hit play on her phone, keeping the volume down low out of courtesy for the super hearing. She hummed and sang along, moving slightly with the music as she got the bowl down and started mixing up the batter. When a good song came on, however, the spoon became a microphone as she lip sang with it, dancing around the kitchen.
<Shinobi> He sneaked a look at the closed master bedroom door on the way up and then stopped at the top of the stairs to the kitchen. Head tipping sideways, he watched her dance, and then realized she was singing. Well, well.
<Hope> Oblivious to him, she got more into the song, using some of the moves she had picked up from years of clubbing. She dropped the spoon in the bowl so she had both hands to dance with. As the song said throw my hands up in the air, Hope did too.
<Shinobi> Who knew coming out of his room was such a good idea? Shinobi knew he couldn't enjoy the show for too terribly long before she noticed he was there and possibly threw something at him again.
<Hope> She moved around the counter, going for an ingredient when she spotted him. "How long have you been standing there?"
<Shinobi> "Long enough," he said with a smirk. After a pause to see if there was any incoming crockery, he stepped up onto the floor and slid his hands in his pockets to swagger toward her.
<Hope> She couldn't help herself. She smirked back at him. "Really now? Should I be ashamed?" She leaned over the counter to hit pause on her music.
<Shinobi> His gaze slid down to watch her action, and lingered. "Not at all, but you knew that." Shinobi stopped and brought his attention back to her face.
<Hope> "You are not wrong," she smirked. "I spent years in clubs... I had to pick up something, right?" She looked back over at him, swallowing and suddenly nervous. "Shinobi..."
<Shinobi> "Looks like all that practice paid off then," he observed, and circled her a bit. "Yeah?"
<Hope> How did she even begin this conversation. "I... I want to apologize. For earlier." She synced up with Sebastian again, just in case. Her eyes ducked down, avoiding his.
<Shinobi> Shinobi stopped and drew his hands from his pockets to cross his arms. "Yeah, what happened there? What was going on?" He watched her curiously.
<Hope> "I make a terrible telepath?" she tried to joke, but sighed a little instead. "Chris and I broke up. And in order to talk to him, I just... needed that reassurance."
<Shinobi> "And I was... reassuring?" His tone was dubious, but he leaned toward her and down to try to catch her eyes.
<Hope> Reluctantly, she caught his gaze. "In a way, yes. You are a lot like me. And how I could have been in a different situation. Not the same but..." she struggled for the word she wanted.
<Shinobi> Now he had to look away, although only briefly. "Close enough." He huffed a disgusted laugh. "Damaged goods?"
<Hope> "I shouldn't have done that to you. And I'm sorry." She said, forcing the words out before she could chicken out. It was all she could do to keep eye contact with him.
<Shinobi> He nodded slightly in acknowledgment. "It was just... startling. And you're not... a terrible person. Not by any stretch."
<Hope> "Thank you. Now if only I could get myself to believe that." She pulled the bowl over to her, sticking her finger into the batter. She stuck her finger into her mouth, licking off the brownie goodness, her eyes looking up at him only just before she spoke. "You helped at least. If that makes it any better."
<Shinobi> "Well, there's a first time for everything." His smirk faltered at that lick and he swallowed.
<Hope> She smiled at him, pushing the bowl over on the counter so he could reach it too if he wanted. "I know a lot of bad stuff happened in the past. To both of us. Especially you... but you don't have to be that person anymore. You have this... amazing opportunity in front of you, Shinobi. I guess I kind of want that too. To start over."
<Shinobi> "Yeah... that's what Jess and my father keep trying to convince me of." After a moment of consideration, he dipped his finger into the bowl as well and sucked it from the tip. Tasty. "Is that why you broke up with him then? I didn't really hear much of it... but I did feel..." He frowned and stared at the bowl again. "I guess I felt how upset you were. It was... weird."
<Hope> The smirk she had at his finger licking disappeared into a cringe. "Yeah... I mean no. I mean... I don't know." She ran her hand through her hair. "I lost my fiance a year ago. Chris and I got together pretty quickly afterward. Everyone tried to tell me I was rushing things, but I didn't listen."
<Shinobi> "Lost?" He realized he had batter on his knuckle and sucked that off as well, watching her.
<Hope> "He was killed with the others at the school," she supplied, watching him lick that off, distracted. She shook herself back to attention. "Chris and I fought all the time. Then he started doing drugs, I don't know when, but we fought constantly. Then he was kidnapped for several months." And I lost his baby, she added to herself.
<Shinobi> "Ah. I'm sorry." Another casualty of that Viper woman. "He was kidnapped?" This seemed to be a common thing amongst those X-Men, didn't it? "What sort of drugs? Common street drugs?"
<Hope> "I think it was Kick. It messed with his powers. Bobby dealt with most of the drug removal... afterward." She stuck her finger back into the batter, licking it off while lost in thought. "I know how you feel with everyone telling you what to do and how to act and what to think."
<Shinobi> Kick. He winced, then lost his train of thought while he watched her. "What do you mean?"
<Hope> "Because they do it to me too. Not just the Shaws... but Tony. And the press secretary. And everyone else. Everyone is always trying to tell me what to do. Go here Hope. Do this Hope. Go read to these orphans, Hope." She dipped her finger back into the batter and licked it off.
<Shinobi> Shinobi reached over and scooped out some more batter for himself. "My father," he started it carefully, and he was still weighing those words every time he said them. "He said I've never had the opportunity to be my own man... and that's the chance he wants to give me here." He looked down at his finger, studying it with great interest.
<Hope> "You haven't really, have you? You can figure out who you are. What you like. What you want to do." She took more batter out, licking it throughtfully. "I still don't know what I want. Just... in life. Do you?" She looked over at him again.
<Shinobi> He was quiet for a while, licking the batter from his finger. "No." Looking back at her, he shrugged one shoulder. "I'm supposed to go to school... to work with Sebastian... to the club." He paused to lick again and snorted. "He's already got me in therapy. Twice a week, with the same guy he hired when SHIELD had me..."
<Hope> Hope couldn't help but laugh a little. "The same path. And you wonder why I find you comforting." She left him long enough to grab two spoons from the drawer, offering him one upon her return. "And neither of us know if we want it. The life we're supposed to have. The life we're born for." She took a spoonful of batter.
<Shinobi> "Thanks." He was a bit surprised, but took the spoon and twirled it between his fingers. Comforting. It was an odd idea. "It's better than the life I had..."
<Hope> "Amen to that," she took a bite of batter from the spoon, studying him a bit. "Maybe I should get my own place. I don't want to go back to the school."
<Shinobi> Pausing mid-scoop, he looked at her. "Yeah?"
<Hope> "Maybe. I mean, DC is a bit far to stay with Tony." She took another bite, thinking.
<Shinobi> "I'm sure they'd let you stay here." He took a bite of batter. "You're family... it's obvious." She was most definitely more family than he.
<Hope> "What's so obvious about it?" she asked, licking her spoon.
<Shinobi> "He cares for you." He very nearly mumbled it, and shoved the spoon into his mouth.
<Hope> That gave her pause. Hope stared at him, processing. He did. He did and he didn't have to. She had Tony. She wasn't an orphan anymore. She swallowed and reached out, taking his hand that wasn't being used for brownie batter. "You can't see he cares about you too?"
<Shinobi> He frowned and stared into the bowl, taking far longer with the spoon than necessary.
<Hope> "He didn't know about you, but once he did? What did he do?"
<Shinobi> "Actually," he said, stabbing the batter with the spoon again. "He assaulted me and called me a fraud."
<Hope> "And after that?" She asked, carefully dropping his hand after the stabbing.
<Shinobi> "After the DNA test results..." He stopped to think, picking out more batter. His own memories from that time weren't the best. "He was different."
<Hope> "Hard to deny blood." She smirked a bit, taking another bite. "I hacked into the FBI database to find a match for mine. It barfed up Tony Stark. I ran it like ten more times to be sure."
<Shinobi> That made him straighten up and look at her directly. After a moment, he laughed. "Sneaky. I like it." His grin faded. "I didn't have the resources to double check, but the truth seemed fairly evident, no matter how much he denied it at first." Shinobi smirked, tilting his head in mimicry of his father's smug expression.
<Hope> Hope smirked back at him, finding the resemblance uncanny, though she knew the truth about why. "He wants you to work with him. He wants you in his life. If he didn't, you wouldn't be here." She took his hand back, giving it a squeeze. "Don't compare your relationship with him to mine. He... kind of earned our relationship. I was terrible to him."
<Shinobi> "That's what Jessica has told me." He realized she was holding his hand and looked down, turning his own to curl his fingers over hers. "I find it doubtful that's it's truly that simple." Mulling it over for a moment, he pursed his lips and decided to share. "He won't tell me who my mother is. So, I don't know if she's alive, or dead, or anything about her... other than the obvious." Essex wouldn't tell him either.
<Hope> "Does he even know?" She asked, squeezing his hand. "Mine... died as I was born. Which is how nobody knew about me. She hid herself, even from her family. To protect Tony."
<Shinobi> He gave her a sympathetic look and returned the squeeze. "I don't know. He won't talk about it... at all. He's done business in Japan. I was at the Hellfire Club in Tokyo. Once. I introduced myself as his son and they all seemed... quite surprised. But she could have been from anywhere. I don't know how I ended up in Nebraska, of all places."
<Hope> "I know you want to know... and I don't want to discount her at all. But for now? What about Jess?" She stepped just a tiny bit closer to him. "You have a family right here, Shinobi. A family that wants you."
<Shinobi> "You sound like her. Jess." He smiled faintly, and since she was close took the opportunity to study her face. "So. We're... family?" For the first time since their chat had turned serious, his gaze turned intent.
<Hope> She started to answer, but his gaze stopped her. How was she supposed to answer that? She opened her mouth a bit, closing it again. "You are all a family. I... don't know what I am."
<Shinobi> "Really?" His eyes narrowed slightly and he cocked his head, lightly squeezing her hand. "I think I know." This was getting interesting.
<Hope> "What do you think, then?" She asked, squeezing back.
<Shinobi> Since the spoon was forgotten, he left it in the bowl and reached over to hook a lock of her bright hair. "You're Ariel, of course."
<Hope> She laughed, smiling at him. "Yeah. I'm Ariel." She set her own spoon down into the bowl too, staring at the two of them for a moment. If she stayed there, she knew what was going to happen. "I uh... should um...." she stammered a bit, stuck.
<Shinobi> "Right." He straightened up, something in him remembering earlier, when she'd been in his mind. "It's late." Shinobi tucked the hair behind her ear with a smirk and squeezed her hand again.
<Hope> She smiled at him, relieved and grateful. "I'll see you tomorrow? Or... today?"
<Shinobi> "I've got nowhere else to be." He returned the smile, studying her face.
<Hope> She nodded as she smiled, finally pulling her hand from his as she walked back a couple of steps, to the counter. She picked up the bottle of scotch she had brought with her and handed it to him. "Can you hide this?"
<Shinobi> He took the bottle with a soft laugh. "Of course. I'll keep it with mine."
<Hope> "I really can't thank you enough. This prohibition is terrible." She smiled a bit. "Thank you. Goodnight, Shinobi."
<Shinobi> "Good night." He wasn't in a terrible rush to leave, and he'd forgotten he'd come up in part for food. Picking a spoonful of the batter up again, he popped it into his mouth. "Get some sleep, Ariel," he said around the spoon, and turned toward the stairs.
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:09 am
<Hope> Hope sat on the floor in one of the more open spaces of the Shaw house, typing away on her laptop. She wasn't exactly sure how long she had been living on the couch in Sebastian's work room... but she was positive it was time to leave. Thus, her hunt for an apartment.
<Jessica> Jess had spent some time rummaging around in her tatty old backpack and had finally found what she was looking for. After a stop in the kitchen for coffee and cookies, she headed through the house to find Hope. "Hey..."
<Hope> Hope jumped a bit, having been fully consumed in her hunt. "Hey!" She closed the lid on the laptop just a bit, smiling at Jess.
<Jessica> "I thought you might like some sugar and caffeine." She offered the plate and the coffee cup. "You've been up here for hours."
<Hope> Hope took them, laughing a little. "Yeah... I probably have. Thanks." She set the cookies down to hold the coffee with both hands. She put the mug to her nose, inhaling it deeply before drinking it.
<Jessica> "What are you up to?" She nodded to the laptop, "Not car shopping without me, I hope? Sorry about the other day... Hard to sleep a lot of the time so I have to nap when I can..."
<Hope> "No... not car shopping. Why are you apologizing for sleeping?" She gave her an odd look. "I'm... apartment shopping."
<Jessica> "Because we made plans, however alcohol fueled, and I ruined it," she dragged a few cushions over and sat down on them on the floor. "Sick of us already?"
<Hope> "It's fine, Jess. Really. It's not like either of us really need a new car anyway." She shifted a bit, setting the coffee down. "It's not that I'm sick of you guys. But I'm living on your couch. And Sebastian hid projects while I'm here." And Shinobi... well that was separate issue.
<Jessica> "I do need a new car, though. Did you forget the part where the tank is a scary scary monster that I don't want to climb inside?" She shifted in her seat with a wince, "I'm sure it's not because he doesn't want you to see them... he just... has a process and you know you couldn't help yourself."
<Hope> "Exactly. It's not that I'm offended or anything, but I know I'm being a pain in the ass." She picked up a cookie and took a bite, placing the rest back on the plate. Ugh, cooked. "I know you don't like the tank. I thought married people talked about stuff like that? But again, I really don't know. So don't trust my judgement."
<Jessica> Jess shook her head, "He came home with it... I can't yell at him because we don't need the money and it makes him feel better so... I'll just get a small car and he can drive that scary thing. Married people compromise... and also avoid talking about things that will start stupid rows that don't mean anything when the wife is pregnant." She eyed the cookies, fortunately having planned for this.
<Jessica> "Sharky, bring the bowl..." the silver corgi waddled in, a bowl in a recess on his back full of brownie batter. "I have a backup snack."
<Hope> That made Hope laugh as she took the bowl. "I guess I'm pretty transparent. Thanks." She took a bite, savoring the flavor. "I don't want to be another Doreen."
<Jessica> Jess sighed, "You're not, don't even think like that..." She gave Hope a small shove, "You don't shed all over the furniture."
<Hope> Hope couldn't help but laugh at that one. "I know, I know... but the whole... overstaying your welcome thing..."
<Jessica> "Hope, you've been here a few days. Doreen's been here over a month.... and that was only supposed to be a few days... and I saw... things... if you do any of those things we'll talk but until then you're fine. I promise... and Sebastian would be offended if he thought you felt like this."
<Hope> "So we don't tell him and find me a super cute apartment?!" She asked, fake smile in place. But it fell, she smiled. "Well I'm not moving out today... but I still feel like I should be looking. I also... know... about those... things.... you probably saw." She made a face. So ew.
<Jessica> Jess' nose wrinkled, "Be glad it's only a mental image and not a memory burned into your retinas." She patted Hope on the arm consolingly, "I'll help you look... have to make sure it's somewhere nice."
<Hope> "There are a couple down the street from here, but I found one across town that I really like." She opened the laptop back up to show Jess. "It's right next to the commons and gardens. Well, less than a block away. Walking distance."
<Jessica> "Ooooh nice," Jess clicked through the pictures of the apartment, "Having some green space nearby is always good. Stops you going stir crazy."
<Hope> "I thought so too. I didn't realize how much I liked being outside until recently. Maybe I should just go live on a park bench. Like a hobo..."
<Jessica> Jess laughed, "Yeah you and all your secret service body guards.... maybe you could get them to build you a fort out of newspapers."
<Hope> "Bobby totally would build me an ice fort, if he wasn't off being Mr. Almost Married man this holiday break." She laughed, grinning. "It would be a magnificent fort too."
<Jessica> "I'm sure it would.... I remember the ice palaces he used to build." She smiled, "Aaaand how much it used to suck that I couldn't go and play in them."
<Hope> "Such a show off," she laughed. "It's only 7 minutes away..." Hope pointed out to Jess. "Not far."
<Jessica> "That by car or on foot?" Because she sure wasn't driving there until she got a new car.
<Hope> "By car," she laughed. "It's across town."
<Jessica> "Boo.... need to get a new car first or you'll have to pick me up."
<Hope> "I can do that!" Hope grinned at her. "Either way. I don't even know if the place is vacant."
<Jessica> "Well then find out! So we can go look at it... and then go look at more places even if you don't want them because it's fun to look around other people's houses."
<Hope> "You know, it really is," she took a sip of her coffee. "And I need someplace I can paint."
<Jessica> "You don't like our colour scheme?" Jess teased.
<Hope> "The white is lovely, don't get me wrong. I need a yellow room though. At least one."
<Jessica> "The nursery has yellow... but you can't sleep in there, someone already claimed it." She patted the bump, "Also the yellow has added duckies."
<Hope> "Yeah... the two together is a bit much still. Well ducks in general. Yellow though... yellow has good memories."
<Jessica> "Ducks are awesome! Well the babies..." she protested, "But... before you go... I have something I wanted to give to you... I've been holding on to it for a while."
<Hope> "Something to give me?" Hope ignored the comment about ducks, looking over at Jess questioningly.
<Jessica> Jess nodded, reaching into back pocket of pants and taking out the item, "I kept this for you... for when you were ready to deal with things..."
<Hope> Was she ready to deal with things? Maybe. But she didn't really have a choice. She had to sort things out and deal. But what in the world could it be? "Really?"
<Jessica> She nodded, "I didn't think you really meant it before... when you threw it at me... thought you'd regret it later..." She opened her hand to show Hope the engangement ring that Johnny had given her. "I kept it safe for you... until you were ready to let go."
<Hope> Her mouth opened, breathing stopped. She finally worked herself back enough to close her mouth and take the ring, holding it carefully in her fingers. Johnny. "His nickname was Ducky you know. Sue called him that. She'd quack at him."
<Jessica> Jess nodded, laughing, "Yeah... and he hated them so much." She watched Hope's face as she studied the ring.
<Hope> Hope was fixated on it, and all the memories attached. "Thank you for keeping it."
<Jessica> "It wasn't mine to throw away... And I wanted to wait to give it back to you... so I could be sure you wouldn't throw it at me again."
<Hope> She winced a bit, still unable to look away from it. "Sorry...I hope you never have to know how I felt that day."
<Jessica> Jess shifted and leaned over to wrap Hope into a hug. "I hope you never feel that way again."
<Hope> Hope broke. She squeezed the ring closed in her fist and wrapped her arms around Jess, crying on her.
<Jessica> Jess just held her and let her cry, it had been a long time coming.
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:09 am
<Hope> Hope was told this room was a cupola whatever the hell that was. It was quiet and she could be alone with her thoughts, analyzing her broken relationship that she had just ended. She leaned her forehead into her knees, holding her legs to her chest and crying into them. How the hell had she gotten here?
<Shinobi> While Shinobi still had half a jar of peanut butter and the bottom of a jar of grape jelly in his dungeon room's small kitchen, his mini fridge was out of milk. No one could eat peanut butter and jelly without milk, so he tightly wrapped his sandwich in a paper towel and started the climb to the main kitchen, nibbling around the edges.
<Hope> Hope wiped her face and turned so she could look out the window at the falling snow while she cried. Was the snow mocking her? All those stupid romantic movies had people cuddled up or kissing while it snowed. Here she was alone at the top of an old bell tower. The bell tower part was pretty cool at least.
<Shinobi> Once he was in the kitchen, he found the milk, but he also alerted Jessica's weird silver dog of his presence. Sharky waddled up to him, butt wriggling, and danced under his feet until he found some of the raw meat the creature ate and tossed it some. Him. It. Whatever. "You're strange," he informed it.
<Hope> Had she made a mistake? Hope cringed and pressed her face into her knees again, rocking forward and back slightly. What was she doing? What was she going to do?
<Shinobi> Once Sharky snapped down a couple of pieces of meat, he yapped once and spun in a circle. Taking a bite of his sandwich and washing it down with a drink, Shinobi watched the dog skitter to the stairs and then turn around to look at him expectantly. "What?"
<Hope> She sat up a bit, pulling at her red hair. Maybe she should cut it. Or go blonde! She could pull off blonde, right? Chris was blonde. Hope sighed and sank into herself, curling up against the window.
<Shinobi> Sharky came back, circled him, and barked again, then ran for the stairs and halfway up. He turned and stared, then barked again. "Yes, you're Lassie. I get it." Shinobi started up the stairs after him.
<Hope> Though she couldn't quite make out the voice, Hope could definitely make out the bark. Even the dog had ditched her. She reached around herself and pulled her sweater closer, tighter, wiping her face on the sleeve.
<Shinobi> They were going all the way to the top, and he started to wonder if something was wrong with Jess. "Hello?" Sharky vanished up the spiral stairs and he followed.
<Hope> A surprise Sharky made Hope smile. She pulled Sharky into her lap, cuddling him. He hadn't abandoned her!
<Shinobi> "Jess?" Since no one answered, he was starting to wonder if he should have brought his phone, or where the robot was. Tucking his snack into the crook of one elbow, he rounded the top of the stairs at a trot that shook the metal frame.
<Shinobi> "Oh!" That wasn't Jess. "Hey."
<Hope> Hope realized too late that he had just called out to her. She startled, but held onto Sharky. She tried a smile, but lost it quickly. "Hey."
<Shinobi> Her hair was a mess and her eyes and nose as red as her hair. "Bad day?"
<Hope> She laughed a little, nodding. "You could say bad... year? Decade? Life?" She pressed her lips into each other, then looked back out the window. "All of the above sometimes."
<Shinobi> "I know that feeling." There was little in the way of furniture up here, so he sat on the floor and reshuffled his snack, placing the milk on the floor. "Sorry, I didn't know you were up here. I could get you a drink?"
<Shinobi> After a moment of thought, he smirked at her. "Or a sandwich, or part of mine? I promise I haven't licked it all over or anything."
<Hope> "Nobody knew I was up here," she reasoned, looking over at him finally to inspect his sandwich choice. She really smelled it before she saw it. Hope about flailed at him, recoiling and pressing herself back against the glass. "No thanks!"
<Shinobi> He jumped to reach for her arm at the extreme reaction, and even Sharky barked and squirmed. "Okay..." Once he was sure she wasn't going through the glass he sat back and took a bite.
<Hope> "Sorry," she cuddled Sharky again, swallowing hard. That had been close! "So... how did you find me?"
<Shinobi> "The weird dog." He nodded his head at Sharky and slid back against one of the window sills to face her.
<Hope> She backed away from him as far as she could, stroking Sharky, but ready to use him as a shield. She smiled at the dog and snuggled him close. "Good boy, Sharky."
<Shinobi> "I heard he's named after my father." Shinobi snorted, watching her from the corner of his eye. Her behavior was strange.
<Hope> She laughed a little, relaxing when he didn't get any closer with his poison. "He is. Well, sorta. Bobby and his almost wife Paige call him that. And the baby is Baby Shark. You need a Shark name too."
<Shinobi> "Why shark? I've heard it, but..." He shrugged, taking another bite. At least she wasn't crying anymore, but she was still edging away from him. The bread was suddenly hard to swallow, and he coughed slightly to cover and took a drink.
<Hope> Sharky be damned. Hope shielded herself with her sweater immediately, wrapping it over her and Sharky both, protecting her face from flying peanut particles. "ACK!"
<Shinobi> The overreaction very nearly made him choke in truth, and check to make sure he hadn't done anything disgusting. When he was able to speak, he started with "What?"
<Shinobi> And then he remembered the hotel. "You're allergic to peanuts."
<Hope> "Highly," She affirmed from under the sweater. "Is it safe again?"
<Shinobi> "Yeah. Sorry." He wasn't sure what to do now, and wrapped the remaining portion up in the towel, checking for crumbs.
<Hope> "You can still eat... just... keep it over there?" She asked, peeking out. "Stan and Phil both have EPI pens... wherever they are."
<Shinobi> "It's fine." If Stryker had known this, it would have made a mission much easier. The thought made him drop the sandwich as if it burned him.
<Hope> While odd, it didn't really register that she should be concerned about. "That's why I specify about the nuts. Johnny and I had some Chinese food one time. Apparently... they used peanut oil."
<Shinobi> Shinobi was staring blankly at the wrapped sandwich while she spoke. After a beat, he carefully shoved it away, along with the glass. "Should I... go? I can trash it. Brush my teeth?" Burn it and take a shower?
<Hope> "As cute as you are, I don't think we'll be making out. You'll be okay," she told him with a smile. "Unless.. you want to go. Then yeah, go?" She ran a hand through her hair.
<Shinobi> He returned the smile with a grin and watched the motion of her hand. "I don't really want to go, no."
<Hope> She glanced over at him, relaxing and extending her foot so that it could touch his just barely. She looked back out the window, resting her head against it. "I'm glad you're staying. I was moping up here by myself."
<Shinobi> The grin faded into a wistful smile and he rolled his leg just enough to bump her, and then back up to where she'd started them. She had little feet. Like Ariel. "So," he finally said, leaning against the sill again. "Why are you moping? Need to get back to the sea?"
<Hope> She smiled at the bump and looked over at him instead of the snow. "Just... everything. Whether I made the right decision. Stuff you don't want to hear about."
<Shinobi> "Tell me anyway?" Since he had her attention, he smirked.
<Hope> "Just thinking about Chris and all the shit he pulled."
<Shinobi> Oh yeah, that boyfriend. Ex-boyfriend. He wished he remembered if he knew anything about that particular subject. Man. "So... what shit was that?"
<Hope> "So I kind of got with him maybe too soon after Johnny died." At least she could say that name now, though it occurred to her that maybe he didn't know Johnny. "Johnny was my fiance." She moved her fingers to her empty left ring finger, swallowing, then dropping that hand.
<Shinobi> "He... died at the school, right?" He caught the movement, watching her hands. Little hands, little feet. She was delicate.
<Hope> She shifted her hair a bit, looking back up at Shinobi. "Yeah. He did. And everyone tried to warn me, but you know how we are. Did I listen? Noooo."
<Shinobi> That made him laugh softly, bumping her foot again. "Why listen when your opinion is obviously the correct one?"
<Hope> She laughed, bumping his foot back. "Exactly. And it was just... weird... with Chris. Thinking about it now, anyway. It was just sex... but then I wanted more. He resisted but I insisted. Once again... I should have listened."
<Shinobi> He smirked, thinking of his own particular situation. "Yeah... it happens..."
<Hope> "Few months later, he started doing the Kick. I don't know when exactly. But we just started fighting and fighting and fighting. That's all we did. And we were kind of off and on, or I thought so. So I guess I didn't technically cheat? I considered us off at that time?"
<Shinobi> "He lost that memo." Shinobi nodded, watching her face. "Or maybe he used it to snort a line. I heard of people using Kick like that." He made a face.
<Hope> She cringed a bit, looking out the window. "I got attacked by a sentinal before that. It knocked out my powers and Drake's. My iceman guard. We both wound up in the hospital. I... didn't wake up for a long time. Guess who didn't come."
<Shinobi> "You were attacked... before? Before this last time?" He sat up slightly at that. Perhaps these sentinels were more of a threat than he thought.
<Hope> "Yeah, hence my theory that they are specifically out to get me." She sighed, sitting up a bit too. "Chris was too busy getting high to care that I was in a coma."
<Shinobi> "A coma? Well." He realized he missed the contact now. "I suppose you do make a tantalizing target..."
<Hope> Her face flushed slightly as she smiled. "How could they resist? The fighting got worse after that. Then he was kidnapped for three months."
<Shinobi> "Three months." His surprise showed in his tone. The time in Stryker's facility was mostly a blur, for which he was thankful. He couldn't remember how long Nur had Hope and the others, either. "By whom?"
<Hope> "I don't know. They turned him into some terrible... thing. He went on a rampage in Alaska. Killed a ton of people." She returned to her relaxed pose, foot out as she sprawled.
<Shinobi> Her toes were colorful, and he smiled and slid down to join her again. "There..." Should he tell her this? "I don't think there are many groups who could pull that off... not as many as you think, unless it was a government program. After... Essex... most of them went dark.."
<Shinobi> "Of course, I've kind of been out of those circles for... a while." That was very likely a mistake, even after his attempted damage control.
<Hope> She leaned forward a bit, careful to leave her foot where it was. "I highly doubt it was government... But if it was... holy shit Shinobi. Tony never did like him. Do you think... no... surely not..."
<Shinobi> "I... didn't exactly mean that." He frowned, leaning himself to watch her face.
<Hope> Hope searched his face, studying his eyes, hunting for information. "My dad... is the government."
<Shinobi> "He isn't the whole government." He looked down with a frown. "The man who took me... Stryker... he worked for the government."
<Hope> "I guess... I guess you have a point." Hope pulled her sweater tighter around her and Sharky, stroking him absent mindedly. She rested her head against the window, sort of curling into herself again. "I miscarried while he was gone."
<Shinobi> "Oh..." Now, he had no idea what to say. Shinobi rubbed both hands on his denim-covered thighs. "I'm... sorry..."
<Hope> "After everything... that's the thing that really gets me. I couldn't even do that right. I had one job."
<Shinobi> He had questions, but no place to ask any of them. She looked miserable, but he wasn't certain she would want his sympathy. Was that was it was? Was that what he was feeling?
<Hope> "I'm sorry," she told him finally. "You should be out celebrating or something." She wiped her face again. "It's New Year's Eve. That's what people do."
<Shinobi> "I'm... not in a SHIELD prison. That's enough to celebrate." She was crying again, and he looked around for something to give her, but all he had was his peanut-infested paper towel. He slid a little closer to her. "Are you sure I can't get you anything?"
<Hope> She watched him, considering his off. What was it she needed or wanted? She wasn't sure sure on the wanting, but needed something else, and it was worth the risk of rash. She scooped up Sharky and moved herself so that she could sit beside Shinobi, resting her head on his shoulder. "Nope. Not a thing."
<Shinobi> He drew in a startled breath and didn't move for a moment. When he remembered to breathe again, he felt warmer. "Well... good."
<Hope> She laughed a little a him. "You've done plenty."
<Shinobi> "What..." Pausing, he cleared his throat. "What did I do?" Confused, but compelled, he finally moved a little and slid his arm around her shoulders.
<Hope> "Listened." She shifted to snuggle into him just a little. "Just listened."
<Shinobi> He closed his eyes at this contact, moving just a little closer to hold her. "Well, that was easy."
<Hope> Hope leaned up and kissed his cheek softly. "Happy New Year."
<Shinobi> Turning his head slightly, he moved back enough to see her face clearly, eyes drawn to her lips, then back to her eyes.
<Hope> Hope swallowed hard, slowly looking up to meet his gaze. She wanted to. She very much wanted to. Maybe if he hadn't just had peanut butter. Maybe if she hadn't just cried all over him. Maybe next time he looked at her like that. Hope rested her forehead against his cheek, resting a hand gently at the base of his neck, on his shoulder. But not today.
<Shinobi> "Happy New Year." He rubbed her arm, giving her a gentle squeeze. Fucking peanut butter.
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:10 am
<Hope> Hope had nearly taken up residence in one of the Shaw bathrooms. She had been in there over an hour, but she was nearly done. Hair in place, she was working on her makeup. Her blue dress fit her form rather well, and she had found some tights with huge stars on them. A pair of black heels later, and she was ready to hit the club. Well nearly.
<Shaw> Sebastian was not sure what he'd been hearing coming from that bathroom for the last hour and a half, but it sounded serious. After checking his work room over for damage, he wandered to the kitchen and made himself coffee. Forty-five minutes later he made more, and then decided he may as well get some work done himself.
<Hope> A reddish pink lipstick was the last item she applied. She fluffed her hair one more time before turning off the light and heading out of the bathroom to collect her coat and purse.
<Shaw> He looked up from his tablet when he heard movement. It was rather late for her to be... clicking.
<Hope> Hope sent a text to Shinobi that she was going out if he was interested in getting out of the house. Coat on, purse in hand, Hope headed downstairs.
<Shaw> Saving his work, Sebastian sat up and looked over the back of the sofa at her. Stars. His eyebrow went up. "That's... an interesting option for sleep."
<Hope> "Who's sleeping?" she gave him a strange look. "I don't plan on doing any of that tonight."
<Shaw> Of course he was aware of that, but he feigned surprise. "Oh? Where are you going?"
<Hope> "Royale. Why?" She asked him, crossing her arms over her chest.
<Shaw> It took a moment, but then he realized what that was. "Ah. And you're taking your... shadows?" He put his aside his tablet to get up.
<Hope> She tilted her head to the side a bit. "Like I have any choice in that? Of course they are coming."
<Shaw> He nodded, then slowly moved closer to circle her, taking it all in.
<Hope> Hope turned to keep his eyes on her front, not her back. "What are you doing?"
<Shaw> Sebastian grinned at her response. "Making you nervous, apparently."
<Hope> "Yes. Stop that." She whacked him just a little, giving him a very confused look.
<Shaw> "Are you certain you want to do that?" He laughed at the smack, head dropping into a tilt to study those stars. "You look like you'd fit in at fantasy night... or Ringling Brothers."
<Hope> She stared at him a bit more, looking down to check her phone and respond to Shinobi. "I want you to stop giving me that creepy face."
<Shaw> He laughed again, shaking his head. "Those things on your legs are mesmerizing. It that really in fashion?"
<Hope> "Would I be wearing them if they weren't? I have several different styles of tights. And why are you worried about my tights?!"
<Shaw> "Well," he straightened and crossed his arms. "I'm not truly concerned about the tights."
<Hope> "Well that's a relief." She didn't take a step back, though she wanted to. So what was it he wanted? "What are you concerned about then?"
<Shaw> "How are you?" He studied her face this time.
<Hope> "I'm fine..." she told him, the same look of confusion and concern still on her face.
<Shaw> "Are you certain a night of drinking is a solution?" He realized acutely he had no room to talk about things like this, but he hoped he was somewhat older and wiser by this point.
<Hope> "A solution to... what? Exactly what do you think of me, Sebastian? That since I just broke up with Chris I'm going to go get drunk and then sleep with the first cute guy I see at the hotel next door?"
<Shaw> "You are a Stark. I would be disappointed if that wasn't your plan."
<Hope> "Then prepare to be disappointed." She moved to head to the door.
<Shaw> "Hope," he started, deciding to fall in beside her instead of blocking her path. "Have you given any thought to your plans... beyond tonight? You know you are more than welcome to stay here with us, for as long as you need."
<Hope> These married people were in cahoots together. She paused to look up at him, considering his words and her answer. "Bit crowded, don't you think?"
<Shaw> "I'm confident we can work it out. Miss Green shall be returning to the school after break, I believe."
<Hope> "I see." She told him, shaking her head just a bit to readjust her hair. "I told Jess... I found a place. Seven minutes away. I'm really not into overstaying my welcome."
<Shaw> "Little Stark, you're hardly doing that." He very nearly had to move to avoid the hair. "Did you now?"
<Hope> "I'm living on your couch, Sebastian..." She pointed out. She looked up at him, wanting to tell him the rest of why she wanted to leave, but not wanting to tell him at the same time.
<Shaw> "Soon enough a bedroom will be free," he pointed out. "And in the meanwhile, I can convert one of the lounges into a bedroom, love. Easily." Now he did step in front of her, taking her hand. "I dislike the idea of you being alone right now."
<Shaw> "Well, alone with your shadows, but they are just that."
<Hope> She squeezed his hand. "I know. Me too."
<Shaw> "Then stay, at least for a while."
<Hope> "I don't think that would be a good idea," she admitted softly.
<Shaw> Sebastian cocked his head. "Why?"
<Hope> She looked up at him, trying to come up with a reason. Any reason. Any. She checked her phone.
<Shaw> He studied her face, concerned, and then her phone beeped.
<Hope> She smiled at it and typed back, then lowered it to look up at Sebastian again. Her smile fell. Oh right. She was supposed to be coming up with a reason to not live there.
<Shaw> "Already?" He didn't see the message, but that smile said everything.
<Hope> "What I can't have friends?" She asked, but knew she was found.
<Shaw> "I'm certain you do." He crossed his arms and smirked.
<Hope> "It's not like... that." She shifted her weight. "At all."
<Shaw> "I just don't want to see..." How to word this, with a prickly Stark... "You hurt. Again."
<Hope> "I know. I don't either." She looked up into her second father's eyes. "It's not like... that."
<Shaw> "All right." Sebastian shrugged one shoulder. "Still, I would feel better if you stayed here with us, at least for a while." Forcing himself to relax, he moved in and hugged her. "Tony is... too far away. I'm right here."
<Hope> She sighed, hugging him tightly. "It's not... you." She tried again. "And it will take some time to get the apartment sorted anyway?"
<Shaw> "True enough." He kissed the top of her head, realizing she smelled entirely too strongly of perfume and product. "Just be careful tonight, all right?"
<Hope> "Just going to have fun. Nothing for you to be worried about... old man." She smiled up at him.
<Shaw> "Of course." He smirked, quirking an eyebrow, and let her go. "Tomorrow, we'll chat again, yes?"
<Hope> She smiled a little, nodding. "Anytime you want."
<Shaw> Sebastian gave her a nod and a small, sincere smile. "You know were I am, should you need me."
<Hope> "In my room... oddly and weirdly enough..." she laughed a little.
<Shaw> "Well, true enough. You could work on those upgrades to Widget while you're in there if the fancy strikes."
<Hope> "Happy to help." She primped her hair and headed off to the stairs. "Don't wait up, old man."
<Shaw> "Don't get arrested, little Stark. Or recorded. I'll be monitoring the relevant social media."
<Hope> "Hashtag stalker!" She called as she descended.
<Shinobi> His shower had been fast. Shaving was faster, and he dug through several of his new shirts before finding one he liked - black. After a final check in the mirror, he pocketed his phone and new wallet with new identification and rushed up the stairs.
<Hope> Hope waited in the foyer, texting Phil that she was ready to go. Once she laid eyes on Shinobi she grinned. "Woooow, you clean up nicely."
<Shinobi> Catching sight of her, he stopped and grinned. "I have to agree."
<Shaw> The sounds coming from the foyer were... perplexing, and troubling.
<Hope> "You ready then? They've already called ahead, so you get the VIP treatment tonight." She approached him, still taking in his outfit.
<Shinobi> "Well, I've never experienced that." He closed the distance, slowly. After another once-over, he smirked. "Stars? No seashells?"
<Hope> "Maybe they are starfish." She smiled, taking his arm and leading him toward the door.
<Shaw> Expression sour, Sebastian moved to the bar. This called for scotch.
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:10 am
<Hope> The VIP treatment meant Hope and Shinobi hadn't needed to wait in the line outside the club at all. They were escorted inside immediately, and the club had even provided a VIP lounge area for them. Complete with club security. They had brought in extra police and bouncers to make sure that the first kid came back to their club. She was a big spender, after all.
<Hope> Royale was one of the two choices Hope had picked from for the night. This one had a slight medieval theme throughout it, which she knew would amuse Shinobi once they were inside and she noticed it herself. Drinks were super fast to get, and Hope opened up their tab, including the agents on it.
<Hope> The agents took up their positions, making sure they had proper vantage points, one up on the second level.
<Hope> Hope, however, didn't really notice any of that. They had been there awhile with no incident, which meant she had enjoyed a few drinks by the time she took Shinobi's hand in her own. With her scotch in her other hand, she pulled him to the dance floor. "You've seen my moves... now I want to see yours!"
<Shinobi> His own drink sloshed at the tug, and he laughed."Do you now?" Shinobi was pleasantly buzzed and intertwined their fingers as they found a place on the floor. Despite the security, it was reasonably busy - enough people to jostle them at any rate.
<Hope> The busier it was, the better Hope liked it. They could blend into the crowd and disappear. Well maybe he could. Her hair made her stick out usually. She turned to face him, grinning and keeping his hand. "I do. So whatcha got?"
<Shinobi> Shinobi kept her hand, turning to face her and taking a sip of his scotch, moving to the music. It had been a very, very long time since he'd been out, but once he'd been good at this. It was required, after all.
<Hope> Hope grinned and moved to an acceptable distance in front of him to dance with him, falling into beat with him. "You've been holding out on me!"
<Shinobi> "It's not like there's been much opportunity, before now." With effort, he kept his hand from wandering once it was free.
<Hope> "Should maybe make more opportunity..." she thought aloud, dancing in a slow, twirl of a circle, keeping his hand the whole time.
<Shinobi> He used that hand to pull her close, moving with her. "That sounds like a great idea."
<Hope> The slight touches as they moved woke Hope up a little. This was so much better than staying home and moping about how life hadn't turned out as she expected. "Doesn't it?!" She grinned and danced a bit closer. "Great to have someone who can keep up with me."
<Shinobi> "As it is to have someone to keep up with," he laughed, noticing she was moving closer and smirked.
<Hope> She smirked back up at him, downing the rest of her scotch and putting her glass on the tray of a passing waiter.
<Shinobi> He met her eyes and took a sip of his own, which was too full to just toss back. The beat of the music was thrumming through his bones, and her movements and hair were mesmerizing.
<Hope> Hope relaxed in his gaze and his hold, allowing herself to just... enjoy the music and the dancing. She slid her newly freed hand up to his shoulder, close to his neck.
<Shinobi> He took another drink and tilted his head toward her hand, and since she was now close enough, he moved his other arm around her too.
<Hope> it was so easy to forget everything and just get lost in that gaze. So much so that she was surprised to feel another hand on her waist that did not belong to Shinobi. This bold guy danced up behind her, very, very close behind her. Hope jumped a bit in surprise, turning her head to see who this person was. She blinked. No clue who this guy was!
<Shinobi> Shinobi stiffened at the intrusion and straightened, giving the guy a once over and then a glare. His arm tightened and he attempted to move them away.
<Hope> Hope gave Shinobi a what the hell look as they moved, but the guy followed them.
<Guy> "Hey baby..." He ignored Shinobi, focusing on the redhead instead.
<Shinobi> "Excuse you. I don't believe that's her name, and I don't believe she's interested." He neatly spun them to put himself between Hope and the drunk.
<Hope> Hope had just time to smile at Shinobi as she heard the guy again. If Shinobi would focus on her and not the guy, they'd be fine. Maybe she should call Phil.
<Guy> "Hey man, what's your problem?"
<Shinobi> "She isn't interested." He sneered at the man and turned his attention to Hope. "Fool."
<Hope> He really was a fool. Hope stayed close to her dance partner, thinking maybe they should move. "Should get a refill anyway. Maybe this idiot will take the hint."
<Shinobi> "Mm." Shinobi gave the man another dismissive stare, since he was trying to work his way back around to Hope again. He knocked back the rest of his glass and shoved the empty at the drunk before taking Hope's hand to escort her to the bar.
<Hope> "I wonder how much trouble I'd get in for punching him..." she wondered aloud, moving his hand to wrap around her instead. Maybe only partly for effect.
<Shinobi> He wasn't at all opposed to this, and moved his hand to her hip, taking a moment before he let it settle. "Allow me, if he requires it," he said with a smirk.
<Hope> She smirked back at him, staying close. "Absolutely. You earned it." Once at the bar, she ordered them both fresh drinks.
<Shinobi> "Have I?" He laughed, leaning against the bar and keeping her quite close. She smelled wonderful, and knew how to play the game. "I wonder what other privileges I may earn tonight then."
<Hope> "Ohhh well... I guess we'll just have to find out, won't we?" She asked, smirking up at him. As her drink arrived, she picked up the glass, looking up at him.
<Shinobi> Shinobi accepted his own drink and caught her eyes, his smirk widening into a smile. "The night is young." He raised his glass to her and took a drink.
<Hope> She raised her's back and really thought about what he had offered. But no. She couldn't. She took a sip and set her glass down. "A few years ago... this is what I did all the time. Every night."
<Shinobi> "Oh yeah?" He took a look around. "Sometimes it was required... for business. Rarely for fun."
<Hope> "I've had fun tonight... Well with you. But this whole scene? I don't know anymore," she admitted, looking down at her drink.
<Shinobi> "It's..." After another look around, he frowned and took a drink. "There is a definite air of desperation."
<Hope> She laughed, sighing. "Oh my God, Shinobi... does this mean I'm getting... old? And my next step is to buy a cat and stay home knitting? Or something?"
<Shinobi> Her expression made him laugh despite himself. "You're positively ancient, Ariel." Shinobi picked up a curl and twined it around his finger. "Get a fish."
<Hope> "And a hermit crab?" She asked, smirking at him. "Ariel had a crabby old man named Sebastian telling her what to do too."
<Shinobi> "See, I named you well!" Now truly amused, his laugh was loud even with the music.
<Hope> Hope laughed with him, tapping the tip of his nose gently with her finger. "Yes, yes you did! Now I just need Flounder." And Prince Eric. She drank more scotch.
<Shinobi> "Mmm, maybe a tail," he chuckled, wrinkling his nose at the tap.
<Hope> "Yeah... what is the deal... with...." Did she want to bring up Doreen? Not really. Especially not when he made that face. "I really think I am getting old."
<Shinobi> He cocked his head, wondering what she'd started to say. "You're my age, we're hardly old." He took another drink.
<Hope> She worked her mouth a bit, struggling for words. "At one point in time... I would have taken you next door and done... really... obscene things with you," she told him, talking with her hands a bit. "But that got me into a lot of trouble." She pressed her lips a bit, trying to save herself. And suddenly, old man Shaw was in her head. She wanted to wait.
<Shinobi> His eyes widened at her words and the flailing. When they processed, he took a drink. "But just the right amount of trouble could be great fun," he said, giving her a smirk over the rim of the glass and a slow blink.
<Hope> "It really would," she admitted.
<Shinobi> Shinobi's grin just broadened. After a moment, he put the glass down and moved his hand over hers, lightly touching.
<Hope> She squeezed his hand, regretting her words before she spoke them. But she had to. She was supposed to be healing... not doing the same crap that led her there. "And if you are still interested in that fun in a couple of months... Well. I'll show you how it should be done." She gave him a smirk, though a weak one. "But I think my days of one night stands in hotels is done."
<Shinobi> "I won't be going anywhere." He stroked his thumb over her skin, studying her face. Well, barring any unforeseen returns to SHIELD detention, of course.
<Hope> Surprise, shock, and relief all floated through her. She gave him a genuine smile, squeezing his hand more. "You know... they want me to stay at the house longer."
<Shinobi> "Do they?" That was truly interesting. "And are you?"
<Hope> "I haven't decided... " she looked back over into his eyes. "I don't know what I want to do yet. But I'm slowly starting to figure all that out."
<Shinobi> He nodded, drawing his teeth over his lower lip as he thought. "Well, when you figure out the secrets of life, let me know, will you?"
<Hope> "You want to know the secret?" She brought a hand to his cheek, stroking it gently. "Find what makes you happy. What makes you feel... whole. And hold onto that. Until you find that thing? Try things! Try all kinds of things. Like tonight."
<Shinobi> He swallowed at this turn, and his eyes searched hers. After a moment, he leaned into her touch. "I'll... remember that." There was nothing else he could say, and he covered her hand with his.
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:11 am
<Hope> Hope carried the speech she was supposed to give with her as she headed to the kitchen. She had considered hiding longer, but she was starving. If she was lucky, nobody would hear her. She doubted she'd be that lucky. Her publicist had just ripped her a new one about the photo that leaked, forcing her to issue a statement and condemn her own actions.
<Hope> This whole being a role model thing was stupid. Hope was by no means a role model. She set the speech down on the counter and opened the fridge, digging around for something quick to eat so she could hide again.
<Jessica> Jess heard the noise in the kitchen and employed her flight powers to sneak up the stairs. Whichever one of them it was lurking in there needed to be talked to and she didn't want them to flee from the sound of feet on the stairs. Landing gently at the top of the stairs, she went to the doorway and cleared her throat.
<Hope> The sudden sound without the feet had just the opposite of the desired effect. Hope shouted and dropped the carton of milk she was holding. "Son of a bitch!"
<Jessica> "Hello to you too," Jess walked over to her, picking up a roll of paper towels on her way for the milk.
<Hope> "Where did you even come from?" Hope asked, picking up the milk as she calmed down from her sudden surprise.
<Jessica> "Naptime," she replied, offering the paper towels out to her, "Needed one before more cleaning happened."
<Hope> Hope took the towels with a thanks, bending down to clean up her mess. "Gotcha."
<Jessica> "Where have you been hiding?" She went to put the kettle on, prodding Sebastian via their link.
<Hope> "If I tell you... then you'll just find me there later?" Hope winced a bit.
<Jessica> "I think I could find you if I really tried, anyway. You're a beacon of emotional turmoil."
<Hope> Hope shot her a glare. Those were her emotions damnit. It wasn't fair to have them thrown at her.
<Jessica> "I'm not eavesdropping..." Jess held up her hands at the look, "I kind of can't help picking it up... I'm new at this, I don't know what I'm doing..."
<Hope> Well there was a surefire way to fix that. Hope didn't point that out though. Instead, she threw the paper towels away. Food could wait.
<Jessica> "Hope... are you okay?" She seemed anxious and flighty.
<Hope> Hope just blinked at her. Did they not know?! That would be super fantastic if they didn't know! "Uhhhhhh yeah! Great!"
<Jessica> Her nose wrinkled, "Are you sure? Because you're acting weird..." Sebastian, wake up!
<Hope> "You're the empath. Why are you even asking?" Hope picked up her speech and stealthily slid it into her back pocket.
<Jessica> "Because I feel like it's rude to eavesdrop on someone else's emotions... didn't you just glare at me because you were worried about the same thing?"
<Hope> "You were already doing it?" Hope pointed out awkwardly.
<Shaw> Unlike Jessica, he couldn't fly, so Sebastian plodded up the stairs slowly and with a yawn. He hadn't bothered to look in the mirror, and he didn't care at the moment. Coming out onto the landing, he took in the scene. "Good morning, little Stark."
<Jessica> "I wasn't!" Jess tried not to flail, "I was just saying that I could."
<Shaw> He raised an eyebrow at his wife, and then looked between the two.
<Hope> Good morning? What was so good about it? At least she had heard that one coming, though she was kind of trapped in the kitchen. She swallowed. "Hey." She gave Jess an odd look. She was... odd today. Odd... oh hell. They did know didn't they? Maybe? Maybe not.
<Shaw> You haven't brought it up yet, have you? Hope was... twitchy. He moved a little closer, sizing her up.
<Hope> She retreated a couple of steps, immediately regretting it.
<Jessica> Have you seen what I'm dealing with? Jess focused on her tea because it would give her an excuse to not look at either of them.
<Shaw> Backing away from him was not what he'd expected, so he stopped. "Are you all right, love?"
<Hope> She needed scotch. A whole bottle. Or two. Or five. She nodded. "Yeah. I'm fine. Was just um..." Think! "Was just on my way out really."
<Jessica> "On your way out through the fridge?" Jess raised an eyebrow at her.
<Hope> "I was thirsty." She explained. "I can just grab something there. No big deal." She waved it off a bit.
<Shaw> His eyebrow followed, and he decided to cut right to the chase. "We've seen the papers, Hope."
<Hope> She closed her eyes briefly, reopening them with a sigh. "Who hasn't?"
<Shaw> "Shinobi, to my knowledge." He moved close to her again, reaching for her shoulder.
<Jessica> And Carol hadn't until SHIELD sent someone to show it to her but Jess decided to leave that part out.
<Hope> Hope took a step away from him again. "Good. Maybe he won't."
<Shaw> "Why are you... edging?" He frowned, but didn't move again.
<Hope> "Why are you... advancing?" she challenged him back.
<Shaw> "Because you're acting strange." He crossed his arms and stared at her.
<Hope> "Just... go ahead. Yell. Tell me what a horrible mistake I made."
<Shaw> "Because that is what you expect?" Sebastian studied her face, and glanced at Jessica, since her nervousness was starting to wear on his frame of mind as well.
<Hope> "Because that's what happened!"
<Jessica> Jess turned to look at Hope then, "What happened?"
<Shaw> Perhaps there was more to this matter... "The media breach is unfortunate, but nothing that can't be handled."
<Hope> Did they not realized that she had revealed his location to anyone hunting for him? She sure as hell wasn't going to fill them in on that if they hadn't figured it out on their own! She crossed her arms, trying to calm down. Was there a way to mask her emotions? Maybe not, but she could manipulate them.
<Hope> Hope focused on her memory of Tony giving her the 'adoption' papers to change her name, immediately feeling some relief. "I guess you're right."
<Shaw> His own mind ground to a halt at her sudden change of gear and his eyes narrowed. "What happened." Sebastian started toward her again, his voice dropping. "What did he do to you?"
<Jessica> Jess cocked her head on one side, suspicious herself. "Sebastian..." always jumping to the worst conclusions.
<Hope> His question fluttered her back to their moment at the bar, and she had to fight to not let her face flush... or smile. "Nothing. We just danced. And drank. We had an entire team of agents with us."
<Jessica> Ohhhh craaaaap. Jess turned back to her tea making. Crap. Crap. Crap.
<Shaw> He looked between the two women again, feeling he was missing something.
<Hope> "Give him some credit, Sebastian."
<Jessica> Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. Crap. What was she supposed to do about this? Could she ignore it? Maybe... probably not. Fucking empathy. She wanted to bang her head against a wall but they'd notice that.
<Shaw> "Well, I assumed it was safe enough, because otherwise I would not have stood by when I heard you leave together." He backed down, slightly, but still looked between the women. "You're acting so strangely, however, that it made me wonder..." Wait.
<Hope> "I just got chewed out?" She offered, trying to cover her tracks.
<Shaw> That was a very questioning tone for an explanation. "Tony called me first thing this morning."
<Hope> "Oh fantastic. He can call you and can't return my twenty. Great." Hope snapped, running her fingers through her hair. "I get the publicist."
<Jessica> "Hope..." Jess chewed her lip, "Calm down, we're not going to yell at you..."
<Shaw> "Ah." That explained a great deal of this then. "You know how he is." Straightening up and uncrossing his arms to attempt to dial himself back, he smiled at Jess. "She's right... there's nothing to be upset about. It's simply media intrusion, and we can handle it. I understand that you and Shinobi have much in common."
<Hope> They hadn't heard the same speech she had then. While protecting herself was a great option, it might not protect him. "Until they find him," she finally stated.
<Shaw> "Pardon?" He was beginning to feel he needed a neck brace for this conversation.
<Hope> "Just think about it," she told him softly.
<Jessica> The penny dropped, "That's what she meant earlier... when she said she didn't think we were getting how much of a problem this was... she didn't mean Hope..."
<Hope> "I'm a non-issue, as I was kindly reminded. They elected a Stark. They expect that from me. But when someone figures out who he is? That's on me."
<Shaw> "Shinobi? I've already been working on that. The media hasn't identified him, and I'm ensuring they never will. Of course, Fury and Tony did, but as for the general public making the connection, we won't allow it."
<Hope> Hope just stared at him. It wasn't the public she was worried about. It was Stryker. She looked down, waiting for him to catch up.
<Jessica> "It's not the general public that are the problem, Sebastian... there are other people besides SHIELD that know who he is."
<Shaw> "Nathaniel Essex and En Sabah Nur are dead. His fellow Acolytes are either in custody as well or have just as much interest in staying downwind as he." After a moment, he frowned. "You're thinking of Stryker. Why would he have an interest in a failed experiment?"
<Hope> "Who was he trying to kill again? And who was his failed experiment just on the papers with?" Hope looked up finally. "As I said. I fucked up."
<Shaw> "SHIELD has already debriefed Shinobi of every details he knows, so unless Stryker wishes to emerge from his cover to remove Shinobi for simple spite, for his failure, I don't believe that is a real concern."
<Shaw> Sebastian heard the front door open and close downstairs and looked questioningly at Jess.
<Jessica> "Then we don't need to tell you to be careful," Jess glanced at Sebastian. "Hope... we're just worried about you, both of you." She glanced down at the floor, shrugging helplessly at Sebastian, I'll go and check?
<Hope> "Be careful about what?! What could I possibly do to top this?!" Hope looked between them.
<Shaw> Please. He nodded at Jessica with a faint smile, then turned his attention back to Hope. "It's not as serious as you think..." But she was very concerned about Shinobi, of all people. Interesting.
<Jessica> Jess took her tea with her and headed for the balcony because it was faster than the stairs.
<Hope> Or Sebastian didn't see how useful that weapon would be. She sank down into a chair, too exhausted to stand anymore.
<Shaw> He followed and sat down adjacent to her. "Love, it's fine."
<Hope> "I'm finally trying to do everything right. Trying to sort through things. Not sleeping with guys following a breakup. Not jumping any guns. Just... doing it right. And this happens." She crossed her arms on the table, laying her forehead down on her arms.
<Shaw> "What is really bothering you most, Hope?" Sebastian watched her, keeping his link with Jess open in case of trouble. "Trying to recover is excellent. It's what you need - time to think things through." After a moment of thought and a nod to himself, he continued. "I'm proud of you, for that."
<Hope> "That I didn't think things through. That I put him, possibly all of us, in danger. You may not think it's a big deal, but the White House does. I don't know who might want him or for what, but they can find him easily now." She told him, not looking up.
<Shaw> He considered this. "And you're worried about him?"
<Hope> "Why wouldn't I be?" She asked him, finally looking up.
<Shaw> "Hope, love..." Pursing his lips, he wondered if he was truly the person to broach this subject. "Jess and I have noticed you and he have been growing... close."
<Hope> "Isn't that the whole point of this family thing?" She asked, totally deflecting that.
<Shaw> Shinobi's escape provided him an opportunity. "Yes, and while I do think of you as my daughter, we both know what Shinobi truly is, and as such, I know how he thinks." Sebastian looked her over. "You're attractive, and he's opportunistic."
<Hope> Hope gave him a horrified/disgusted look, feeling she needed a robe. And a sweater. And a huge ski coat. "Why thank you for that."
<Shaw> He looked down with a smirk. "You know what I'm attempting to say."
<Hope> "Yes and please stop," She eyed him a bit. "I need to go call Tony. Again. She pushed back her chair, getting to her feet. "And for the record. People can be close without fucking each other, Sebastian.”
<Shaw> "Can they?" He was entirely too amused by this. "I wasn't aware."
<Hope> The words well apparently not you were almost out of her mouth when she stopped them, suddenly horrified. Shinobi was half Shaw. Not half like a child... half exactly. Was that his game?
<Shaw> She locked up and he blinked at her mildly.
<Hope> Hope pushed off the table angrily and headed for the stairs. She was so done with all the men in her life.
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:12 am
<Hope> As excited as Hope had been that Tony finally called her back, that quickly dissipated the longer he chewed her out. Finally, she couldn't take it anymore. She snapped. "Look I'm sorry I ruined your morning hot toddy, but I've already spoken with the publicist..... Yes he felt that I needed to make a statement, but then he decided it just needed to disappear."
<Hope> Hope sank onto the sofa in Sebastian's work room, hoping he was gone somewhere. Somewhere that welcomed his creepiness. "Yes I came to Shaw's because of Chris.... no I haven't been out drinking and clubbing every night! It was one night! And you're one to talk! ......... That's what he pointed out too! They elected a Stark, they should be all surprised."
<Hope> Hope pulled at her hair, getting more and more uncomfortable. "No I don't need to spend the rest of Holiday at the White House! I'm perfectly capable.... YES he's been 'supervising me.' Have you not heard of his fucking prohibition?! It's awful!"
<Shinobi> He was half surprised she was still in the house, and Sebastian's surveying look as he went by didn't improve his mood. He wasn't sure if he felt better or worse after his chat with Jessica.
<Hope> She tapped her foot, anger finally getting to her when he hit a more sensitive subject than Sebastian. "The fuck are you talking about?! ..... Yeah I know who he is.... yes I know..... Yes I know!... Are you kidding me!? No I haven't slept with him! I haven't even... I am not dignifying that with a response!" She ran a shaky hand through her hair.
<Hope> She paused as he yelled some more, then rolled her eyes, though he couldn't see it. "Well have you SEEN him? I mean fucking hell. Can you blame me?! ...... HA! If you don't want to hear it then don't ask!" She yelled back at him, looking for something to throw. "No he isn't. Stop saying that! You don't even know him!"
<Shinobi> Her voice carried through the open spaces and he didn't need those enhanced senses to hear almost every word. Shinobi stopped on the stairs.
<Hope> "None of you do. None of you know what that's like. You are so quick to condemn him, but not one of you can give him an ounce of credit! ..... No he isn't fucking your daughter! .... Yes he does know that, thank you VERY much." She wanted to throw her phone. Had she seriously waited all day for this shit?
<Hope> Her rage calmed a bit as he did, she bit her lip, shaking her head a bit. "He's a better guy than Chris is, if that's fair at all to say.... Yeah I do. If he wanted to kill me, I'd be dead already. Really? You really want to go there?.... No you don't have to worry about that. I don't get to have a life, remember? You chose to run for president.... "
<Shinobi> There was no way he was walking into that, so he pulled out his own phone to text her.
<Hope> "Yeah okay.... Yeah he pointed that out too. I agree." She quickly checked her phone as she got an incoming text, her throat tightening when she saw what it was. Talk. Talk was never good. Not more talks. "Hey yeah..." She caught herself sniffling. "Yeah I love you too. I promise I'm fine. He's not dangerous. He's a decent guy... for once.... Bye Dad."
<Hope> Hope hung up the phone and looked at that text again. Was 'NO!' too mean? It was too mean. Better just rip off yet another bandaid. She texted him back <Sure>.
<Shinobi> Despite what he'd heard - decent? - he waited for a few moments more and started back up the stairs. Shinobi had never been in Sebastian's work room, so this was a first on several levels and he looked around while he knocked on the jamb to the open door.
<Hope> She startled a bit, but couldn't help herself. She smiled when she saw him. "Hey."
<Shinobi> "Hey." He loitered at the threshold, looking anywhere but at Hope.
<Hope> The one time he couldn't manage it. Hope pulled her pillow to her lap and squeezed it tightly, her smile dropping. She braced herself, waiting to hear what he had to say. She dropped her eyes, staring at her pillow instead.
<Shinobi> "May I... come in?" He glanced at her, then back to the work bench.
<Hope> "Yeah," she got out, feeling sick, which both surprised and confused her. "Of course you can."
<Shinobi> "Thanks." He managed to look at her, and almost smiled, except she looked miserable.
<Hope> Should she start? Should he? She just waited, fidgeting with her fingernails instead. Then her eyes fell on her bag. Maybe Tony was right.
<Shinobi> Shinobi went inside and stopped himself from looking around the room - his focus was on one thing. "Paparazzi shitheads. I thought your bodyguards were supposed to take care of them."
<Hope> That stunned her and pulled her back to reality. "I thought so too, " she told him softly. "I didn't even notice either. Maybe it was a really good camera phone?"
<Shinobi> "Yeah, could be." He smiled a little, searching her face.
<Hope> She smiled back just a little before cracking. "I'm so sorry, Shinobi." The weight of her mistake fell on her once faced with him directly.
<Shinobi> He paused. "For what? It's... more of a problem for you." He sat down on the arm of the sofa, at the opposite end from her.
<Hope> "Until somebody figures out who you are in that picture. And decide to find you." She pressed her hands to her face, blocking him out so she could focus. "Anything that happens to you is my fault now. I don't care if Sebastian doesn’t think it's a big deal. It isn't... until it is."
<Shinobi> "Your father already knows who and where I am," he pointed out, watching her. She was worried about him?
<Hope> "Yeah." He didn't get it. Well no use in both of them worrying over it. She lowered her hands, daring to look back at him again.
<Shinobi> "Jess said they won't let SHIELD take me back... especially not over this, but I don't know that they could stop it. Or that they should." He cleared his throat and looked at her with another smile. "But if they do, it was worth it."
<Hope> "If that was all I was worried about... I wouldn't be worried." She looked down at her hands again. Her shoulders slumped a bit. "I'm more concerned about somebody who would want you to complete that failed mission. And now they have an excellent opportunity. Silver platter."
<Shinobi> "Oh." That's what all those hints were about. He slid off the arm of the sofa and into the seat.
<Hope> She looked over at him again, not really sure what to do. "I don't care about the press and what they said about me. I'm used to that. I wouldn't even care about SHIELD, because really? I can deal with their boss. But this? I.... I can't fix this."
<Shinobi> He crossed his arms, rubbing his thumb over his lower lip. "I won't let him take me again."
<Hope> "I didn't plan on letting him take you either," she pointed out, looking over at that subtle movement of his thumb.
<Shinobi> Shinobi paused the restless movement to look over at her. "I failed before." That needed more explanation, but it took him a moment. This was difficult. "Essex always told me I should never be taken alive."
<Hope> She let that sink in. Was he really saying what she thought he was? Would he really do that, just to not be turned into a weapon again? A weapon that could kill her and or Tony? Or was she reading too much into things. Probably the latter. "I'm not letting anyone take you."
<Shinobi> "I can't... hurt you." Not again. He couldn't be used again. Pulling his legs up into the seat, he stared at the partially open door.
<Hope> She swallowed hard and moved her pillow to the far side so she could move next to him, resting her head on his shoulder. She thought of saying something reassuring, but she wasn't really sure what to say to that. She settled on just staying where she was, head against him. It said enough.
<Shinobi> He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, though of course it was shaky when he exhaled.
<Hope> "At least... with me around... there's extra security, on top of the security." She chewed her lip a bit. "Though I don't know how much longer I can stay."
<Shinobi> "That's what I thought." If he didn't have much time, maybe it was best to not get any closer.
<Hope> "They said 'as long as I needed' but I feel...." She shrugged. "That..." she couldn't force the words out. They'd all get tired of her being there, especially with the media pulling stunts.
<Shinobi> "You should go?" He swallowed over the words and let go of his own knee to slide his arm around her shoulders.
<Hope> "That they will want me to, though may be too nice to say it," she admitted softly, snuggling into him a little.
<Shinobi> "Jess told me it's up to you." He wondered if it was his imagination that she was moving even closer. "You're a Stark, and you can't be made to do anything."
<Hope> She smiled, despite herself. "It's different when it is someone else's house," Jess had said that though? Really? She had her pegged.
<Shinobi> "So... are you?" His thumb was now rubbing small circles on the bare skin of her arm just below her sleeve.
<Hope> She smirked up at him a bit. "I guess... they'll just have to throw me out?" Or tell Tony. Either way.
<Shinobi> "You're staying then?" He hated the hopeful tone to his voice, but it had been impossible to stop.
<Hope> "I'm staying," she confirmed. Until one of her dads forced her out at least.
<Shinobi> He looked down at her with a wide smile. "Yeah? That's the best news I've heard all day."
<Hope> She bopped the tip of his nose gently with her finger. "Yeah." She matched his smile easily, feeding off his own enthusiasm.
<Shinobi> That made him laugh and he turned toward her, reaching to catch a lock of hair and twist it around his finger. "Now you need that fish, princess."
<Hope> She laughed and nodded a little. "Yeah I guess I do. I don't know how Sebastian would feel about a fish in his work room... though I guess he already has a mermaid in here."
<Shinobi> "He definitely does." After a moment of thought about that statement, he frowned. "You know Doreen left, right?"
<Hope> "Oh... are you alright?" she asked, remembering their... relationship.
<Shinobi> "Yeah. We... I'm not sure we parted on the best terms." He frowned a little, not sure what happened there himself.
<Hope> "I'm really sorry about that, Shinobi." Maybe it was a lie, but it was what people said in these situations at least.
<Shinobi> He shook it off and smirked at her. "It's fine." Since he still had a piece of her hair, he twirled it. "Jess and my father were cleaning out the room. It has its own bathroom, so I would think it'd be more comfortable for you."
<Hope> That would require professional maids. And so much bleach. And a bonfire for that mattress. She laughed a little... then just stared at him. "You thought about that?"
<Shinobi> He had. "Well... it makes sense. It is the guest room, since I have the other guest room."
<Hope> Hadn't they offered her that room? She couldn't remember. She was busy trying to leave at that time. But, she supposed, if enough bleach was applied... "Maybe it does make sense. Give Sebastian his space back."
<Shinobi> "Precisely." He grinned, feeling triumphant. "I bet they'd let you redecorate." His nose wrinkled. "I did. You should have seen it. Jess' giant insect brother stayed there before."
<Hope> She laughed a little. "Maybe they will." That was a commitment though. Redecorating meant staying. She swallowed hard. It meant staying awhile.
<Shinobi> He hummed a few bars of Under the Sea and twirled her curl.
<Hope> That brought a huge smile back to her face as she watched him. "Maybe you should ask them."
<Shinobi> "Maybe I will." His eyebrow arched up and he smirked.
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:32 am
<Shinobi> The room certainly looked different now. Emptier, for one, and much more... yellow. Even though the painting wasn't complete yet, it made everything brighter. It had taken him some time to make the connection between this and the color scheme at the home in Alaska, but once he did, he understood.
<Shaw> "And why, precisely, was it that we didn't pay to have this assembled?" Sebastian was on the floor, sorting bits of hardware. "I recall I learned my lesson on this when assembling the crib."
<Hope> "Somebody was sure they were the most brilliant engineer who ever lived and surely they could put together a bed. And when you see Hope, you should tell her how horribly wrong she was," Hope told them, struggling to read the directions.
<Shaw> He leaned over and looked at those directions, plucked them from her hands and turned them over. "That won't help, but there you go."
<Shinobi> He watched this with a smirk and reloaded the paint roller, stretching to reach the corner nearest the window.
<Hope> Hope frowned at the new picture, then grinned. "That did help!" She moved to attach the piece that had her stumped, grinning in triumph. "On second thought. Tell Hope she's the best damn engineer in the room." She smirked, glancing over at Shinobi.
<Shaw> "I never thought I would wish I could read Swedish." He handed her a piece that looked likely and went back to digging through the box.
<Shinobi> He laughed softly at her triumph and was rewarded with a splatter of yellow paint on his face and shoulder.
<Hope> Which made Hope laugh at him, quickly ducking her head to pretend she had been laughing at Sebastian. "Is it too late to call and ask for assembly? Or would we need to turn in our rank of master engineers if it bests us?"
<Shaw> "I wasn't aware you had such a rank, love." Sebastian flashed his teeth at her.
<Hope> "Well I figured this out and you didn't. So where does that leave us?' She asked, smiling sweetly.
<Shaw> "Mmm, well, it makes you the apprentice, since the master doesn't lift a finger on lesser projects." He flicked the last small package of washers at her.
<Shinobi> He watched them as he cleaned the paint off, still amused, though his eyes lingered on Hope.
<Hope> "Is that code for 'I have no clue what I'm doing?'" She smirked at him, catching the washers and opening them.
<Shinobi> There was just a bit more of this wall left, and then he planned to take a break. Shinobi reloaded the roller and tackled another high place, since Hope had left them all for he and his father.
<Shaw> "If that will help you sleep better tonight." He returned the smirk and watched Shinobi for a moment. "However, I can't fault your choice of colors."
<Hope> "And why's that?" she asked, screwing another part in. "I mean, besides the fact that it's not Guthrie's signature pink." She glanced over at Shinobi again when she thought she wouldn't get caught.
<Shaw> "Why, the black, of course," he said with a laugh, starting to pick up the mess of plastic baggies and cardboard packing material.
<Hope> "Like your soul...." she smirked over at him, going back to tightening screws.
<Shinobi> His lips pressed together to stop him from laughing.
<Shaw> "Of course." Sebastian gathered the last box and after a last glance between them moved to the door. "I'll take these downstairs and check in on Jess. I'll... be back."
<Hope> She smiled as he left, glancing over to Shinobi. "Thanks for your help, Shinobi."
<Shinobi> "You're welcome." He was nearly finished with this job for the day, however, and did his last reload and stretch. "It's very bright."
<Hope> That made Hope smile. "Ariel did have a thing with the sun and being on land, right?" She laughed a little. "I like yellow."
<Shinobi> "I noticed there was a lot of it... in Alaska. At that home." No matter what he did, he seemed to be covered in those little dots of paint.
<Hope> She nodded. "Yellow and sunflowers. Daisies too, but not as much as sunflowers. They're just... special," she smiled over at him. "Always somewhere in between living and dead. They latch onto the tiniest rays of light and turn to face it." She swore under the breath, putting her thumb in her mouth.
<Shinobi> He turned back to look at her when she swore. "You okay?" The wall was done, or as near as, and so he dropped the roller and wiped his hands on his shirt to join her.
<Hope> "Mmhmmm." she mumbled around her thumb. "Maybe I shouldn't have been so cocky about my engineering skills after all." She told him, inspecting it.
<Shinobi> Shinobi took her wrist and looked at her thumb. It was completely unnecessary, he was sure, but why pass up a good excuse? "I enjoy listening to you put him in place." He grinned. "I remember the sunflowers on the sign... so they're always looking for a better day, yeah?"
<Hope> She laughed a little, watching her hand with him as he inspected it. Her smile faded at the last part, caught by his phrasing. "You know... they named me Hope at the hospital because the nurses thought I would need that most. Or something. It was in my file.... A note from them." She looked up at him slowly, thinking about that.
<Shinobi> "Guess they were right." He smiled a little, unwilling to let go of her hand now that he had it.
<Hope> "They have no idea how right," she smiled back at him again, in no hurry to extract her hand from him.
<Shinobi> Mouth twitching, he tilted his head. "My name means ninja. I have no idea what anyone was thinking."
<Hope> "Not sure about ninja... but I totally think you'd make a great Jedi. Battling the dark side of the force, always pointing me in the right direction. Like.... Obi-wan... Obi!"
<Shinobi> He didn't know what to think about this, and blinked at her several times. "I'm... an old white guy?"
<Hope> She laughed, squeezing his hand. "You took from that an old white guy?"
<Shinobi> Laughing along, he brushed his thumb over her knuckles. "No, I got it... but I think I was the dark side for... most of my life. But I like it." Shinobi looked down, noticing more yellow paint. "I've never had a nickname before."
<Hope> "You don't have to be the dark side anymore," she told him softly, flicking a bit of his longish hair with a smile. "You get to be Obi now. Champion of... um... painting in hard to reach places."
<Shinobi> "Well, that is a worthy occupation." He smirked, and kissed the back of her hand before he let it go. "I'm going to have to be champion of the shower pretty soon, since I got yellow paint everywhere."
<Hope> "It looks good on you. Really brings out your eyes." She fake fluttered her eyelashes at him, actually giggling.
<Shinobi> "Brown does go with everything," he smirked, then laughed at the flutter. Unable to help himself, he reached over and brushed her hair back to better see her smile.
<Hope> She laughed a little more, sighing just a bit. "It really does." She really focused on the color of his eyes and how dark they were compared to her's. Before she realized it, she caught his hand after it was free of her hair and held onto it.
<Shinobi> Shinobi looked down at their hands and smiled to himself. There was no peanut butter stopping him this time, but he wasn't sure.
<Hope> Hope stroked his hand a bit with her thumb, lost in thought a bit as she smiled at his smile.
<Shinobi> He lost himself in those green eyes, leaning in slightly.
<Hope> She noticed him lean and had a split second to make a decision. She leaned in toward him nervously, her mind racing, trying to calculate the outcome of her action.
<Shinobi> Gaze on her mouth, he swallowed, parted his lips, and sat up, pulling his hand free. By the time he got to his feet, he was literally shaking, and after mumbling an apology bolted for the door.
<Hope> Stunned, Hope watched as he retreated. After some time, she finally closed her mouth and set a reminder on her phone for when she woke up. She shoved her feelings down and went back to work, figuring out that damn Swedish furniture on her own. The directions weren't very clear, but one thing was. Shinobi had rejected her.
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:39 am
<Hope> Hope stood in her yellow kitchen, staring at the walls of what had been her home with Johnny in New York City. She had contacted a realtor who had secured a buyer almost instantly. Now it was time to clear it out and make sure anything she wanted to keep was taken with her back to Boston. She ran her fingers over the counter, smiling a bit.
<Bobby> Bobby'd been here before, of course, but it was strange being back. Especially since the fridge was empty. "Bummer," he said, although there was something in the door that might have once been salad dressing. He wasn't sure it was supposed to be that color.
<Hope> She grinned over at him a bit. "Damn. It's good having you back, Drake. I missed the commentary on my life."
<Bobby> "I know, right? What'd ya do without me?" He picked up the bottle and gave it a shake. The color got worse.
<Hope> "Got into a lot of trouble..." she admitted. "Broke up with Chris, caused a scandal..."
<Bobby> "I heard about some of it. Should I kick his ass for you? Or at least frost his shorts?" Bobby unscrewed the bottle and stared, then gave it a sniff. "WHOA! Mistake." He capped it quickly and pitched it into the trash can, cheering for his own basket.
<David> David eyed his new... partner? with disdain. How unprofessional. Why was he even talking to her? He bristled and stayed in the doorway, keeping an eye out on the door and the windows.
<Hope> Hope laughed at Bobby, mocking him a little. "Wow way to go genius. That shit has been in there over a year!" She ran her hand through her hair, considering his offer. "Honestly? I really don't even care anymore."
<Bobby> "I heard you made the covers of the tabloids. Maybe that's why Stan and Phil got reassigned and you're getting the old man?" He jerked his chin toward the stiff by the door.
<Hope> "Oh I have nooooo doubts that's why I got McGrumpy. They are like, back up back up now. And really? It wasn't their fault." She sighed. "But yeah, I guess outing the presidential candidate assassin... pretty bad." She moved to check through the cabinets for anything she wanted to keep.
<Bobby> That made Bobby's brain grind to a full stop. "No shit? That's really who you were with? I thought Phil was drunk..."
<Hope> "It's... complicated?" She offered. "He's... kind of Sebastian's long lost son who was brainwashed. I guess we all know about that, don't we?" She found a teapot and held it, chewing her lip a little.
<Bobby> "Yeah, yeah, I know. He's just as creepy as Sharky senior. I've met 'im." Bobby decided to make himself useful and dragged the trash can to the fridge and started dumping things. "He's like... the Fu Manchu version."
<Hope> "I don't know what the hell Fu Manchu is, but um..." She put the teapot back in the cabinet and turned to look at Bobby. "I kind of... made a mistake? And I don't know what to do now?"
<Bobby> "He's..." For once, Bobby looked over at David and made a belated realization. "Never mind." Wait. A Stark just said she made a mistake. "What kind of mistake we talking about here, babe? I mean, the pictures suck, but the press will just move on to the next scandal..."
<Bobby> Then he made another realization. "Oh, ew, you didn't... like... do him, did you?" His face was stuck now in a horrified expression.
<Hope> She punched his arm, giving him a look. "Why does everyone assume that?!"
<David> "Because that's what you do, according to your file. I'll be outside." David headed out to get away from them.
<Bobby> "He's got you there... also, ow!" Bobby was laughing though, and rubbed his arm as he watched David leave. "Not gonna miss him. Yeesh. Grow a sense of humor."
<Hope> Hope smirked at him whining, crossing her arms. "Yeah... and I'm stuck with him." She sighed, dropping her arms. "Bobby.... I might... like... Shinobi. And I shouldn't. I definitely shouldn't. I'm just rebounding right? Just totally rebounding and not doing this?"
<Bobby> "Waaaait.... you like, like like him? Sharky junior? Speed Racer?" Bobby started to laugh, then caught her expression and blanked his face. "Oh..."
<Hope> "Yeeeeeeah." She tugged at her hair a bit. "I mean... maybe it's just because he's cute and there? I don't really know anymore. But I guess it doesn't matter since he's not interested."
<Bobby> "Rebound. You said rebound. That has to be it. I mean, right?" He was not touching that cute comment with a ten-foot cattle prod. Bobby hopped up on the counter beside her.
<Hope> She rested her head against him a bit. "See, this is why I need you around. You keep me grounded. I kind of figured it out the hard way though. I nearly kissed him... and he ran."
<Bobby> "He ran?" Bobby cackled. "Must be gay."
<Hope> "He's not gay but..." she made a face. "He might be into... something... different? Something.... he was doing it with a girl with squirrel-like features." There. She said it. And then she regretted it. She was less than the fluffy squirrel.
<Bobby> Bobby's face screwed up in thought, then realization, then slight horror quickly followed by a stifled snort. "Doreen?"
<Hope> "Yeah her! So... ugh. Forget it. Clearly I just need to get some scotch and get my head together. OH The bastards put me on prohibition. Can you IMAGINE?"
<Bobby> "They cut you off?" For once, Bobby agreed with Sharky on that one. "Probably a good idea... with Shark junior there and all." He moved to turn toward her and meet her eyes. "Babe, you know he did try to kill you, and your dad... he killed Pryor and Zazel."
<Bobby> He frowned, for once deadly serious. "Are you sure it's safe there?"
<Hope> "He's as safe to be around as I am. You do remember what I was... right?" She took Bobby's hands, squeezing them. "He'd rather die than hurt me again. I've... been in his head. He threw away peanut butter once he found out." She looked back into his blue eyes. "I trust him, even if he isn't into me."
<Bobby> Bobby was dubious about this. "What's your dad say?"
<Hope> "That the constitution guarantees my right to drink. Annnnd that with you guys around, if anyone did try to take him... well increased security is a good thing. Especially since I outed him. He was more pissed that I outed him. I guess he trusts Sebastian?" Well, and she did too. "Sebastian wouldn't let him near his pregnant wife or me if he was dangerous."
<Bobby> "Wait, take him?" Bobby was confused, and this trusting Sebastian thing was still a problem in his books too. But, he supposed she had a point about Jess.
<Hope> "The people who might want him to complete that mission now that he has the proper connections to do it quietly."
<Bobby> "Oh. Yeaaaaah. That... could be a problem." Bobby shook his head. "What if he's like... a sleeper agent?"
<Hope> Hope punched his arm again. "Damnit, Bobby," she laughed at him though. "I don't need anymore paranoid thoughts in my head, thanks."
<Bobby> "Well?" He laughed and ducked, rubbing his arm again. "Dammit."
<Hope> "He had ample opportunity. Though... Stan cuffing him was hilarious." She laughed. "Can't we get him a better code name than Speed Racer though? I mean come ON."
<Bobby> "What? It's funny! Go go Speed Racer!" Bobby cackled.
<Hope> Hope sighed and shook her head. "Maybe I didn't miss your jokes...." she teased, smirking.
<Bobby> "Come ooooon, you know you did." He gave her his brightest grin.
<Hope> She laughed and smiled at him. "Yeah I did. But be nice to Shinobi. He's had it tough enough as it is."
<Bobby> "You know, babe, you picked like the absolute worst fucking place to live. I mean, it's close but I gotta put up with Sharky and Sharky junior?"
<Hope> Laughing harder, Hope grinned. "Yeah. But one of them is really cute to look at. The other is a creepy old man sometimes, but he means well."
<Bobby> "I'll take your word for it... on both counts." He made a face, scooting closer to her again and holding out both arms. "Come here - huggle time, and I'm under orders to hug you for Paigey, too."
<Hope> Hope made a face, but wrapped her arms around him, hugging him very tightly.
<Bobby> Bobby gave her a tight squeeze. "Just be careful in the shark tank, babe, and you'll be fiiiine."
<Hope> "Hey with you at my back? I can take ON the whole damn shark tank!" She grinned. "For real though? They helped me redecorate that guest room to be MY room. He moved me in. I have... like... a home. I don't know how I feel about it."
<Bobby> "Well... you sorta had one here. What made you decide to sell it?"
<Hope> Hope just looked at Bobby, then looked around. "I can't. Even though I'm ready to say goodbye... I don't want to live here. Plus it's too far away to be practical."
<Bobby> He nodded. "Makes sense." Pulling back, he ruffled her crazy red hair. "We all need to pick up that Boston accent now," he drawled in his own attempt.
<Hope> "Oh God. Please don't." Hope gave him a horrified look, and retreated to the bedroom to tackle the worst of the rooms.
<Bobby> "Aww, no?" Bobby jumped down and followed her. "Pretty much all I can do for a Boston accent is JFK, but that's close enough, right? Pisses Carol off, so that's just a bonus."
<Hope> "It pisses off all decent people everywhere," she laughed. Hope pulled out the ring from Johnny and stared at it, in its box. What did one do with the ring from a failed engagement? She set it down on the dresser. You pass it on in hopes that it can do some good for someone else.
<Hope> She looked around the room one last time and took Bobby's arm. She could finally close this chapter of her life and not look back. "Come on. There's a Chinese restaurant around the corner that is terrified of you. We should hit them up. They'll toss in extra egg rolls."
<Bobby> "Terrified of me? Who's terrified of me?" Bobby was mock offended and let her lead him out. "Y'know, statistically, I'm the most popular member of SWORD... except for Kyle..."
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:00 pm
< Shinobi > After the episode ended, Shinobi paused the auto roll and slid down into the bed to stare up at the ceiling. The house was quieter now. More empty. More depressing. He closed his eyes and sighed, stretching and dropping the tablet onto his chest.
< Shinobi > Talking about his feelings today had been especially trying, since he had no idea what they were, especially after those new photos of Hope Stark with her new boy toy emerged. Although the outing with Jessica yesterday had been – dare he say fun? - the one today with his father after his session for more clothing and that hair cut was not.
<Hope> Back from selling her apartment, and a brilliant photo shoot, Hope struggled with her bag as she came in the house. "Dammit." She swore as she dropped it, struggling and letting it get the better of her. She sighed, running her hand through her hair. And she was hot now. How was that even possible?
< Shinobi > He heard some noise upstairs, but decided to ignore it. There was no point in getting his hopes up. He snorted at himself and looked over at the small tank on his desk.
<Hope> Hope sighed and latched onto Bobby's power, feeling immediate relief. She breathed out some fog and tried to get her bag upstairs so she could avoid Shinobi. Shinobi... Her throat tightened momentarily until she found herself falling through the floor.
<Hope> Her body reacted by icing over as she fell through several floors, screaming as she went. She landed with a thud on the floor of Shinobi's room, both powers dropping as she landed on the floor. A very naked Hope lay there stunned, hand moving to the back of her head. "Ow...."
<Shinobi> "What the-" His eyes popped open at the scream, and before he had time to sit up, the flash of movement from the corner of his eye made him roll in the opposite direction. That bit of training meant to save his ass did little for his tablet since it thumped to the floor a second before he landed on his feet beside it.
<Shinobi> Shinobi looked over the bed and couldn't quite process what he saw, glancing at the ceiling and then back at her. "Hope?" Rounding the bed, he didn't know where to look, but managed to see everything before he grabbed the blanket from his bed and threw it over her. Crouching beside her, he smoothed her hair back. "Hope?"
<Hope> "Owwwww," she repeated, winded and stunned. She opened her eyes, surprised to see Shinobi, though she had trouble focusing on him.
<Shinobi> "What... are you okay?" She wasn't, but he looked up at the ceiling once more and back at her. "You... used my powers." But why was she naked? He tucked the blanket around her and moved closer. "Hey, can you look at me?"
<Hope> She closed her eyes for a moment, trying to get the name out. She couldn't focus enough to get his power on her own. Why the hell wasn't David there already. "Get... David." she managed to get out.
<Shinobi> "David?" Who was David? "Where? Here?" He didn't bother to wait for an explanation, since she was obviously hurt, and he knew better than to try to move her even though she looked like she weighed nothing. Squashing down that idea, he went for the door and took the stairs two at a time.
<David> David was just making his way down the stairs when his eyes narrowed at the sight of Shinobi. He grabbed the boy and shoved him against the wall. "The fuck did you do!? Where is she?"
<Hope> Hope closed her eyes again, fighting sleep. He better hurry. Or he was fired.
<Shinobi> Shinobi's eyes widened, recognizing the man from the photos - the man they were saying was him. "She fell through my ceiling, you asshole!" The stairwell backed up to the elevator shaft, and he phased free, backing through the wall.
<David> Not wasting time with the punk, David ran the rest of the way down, finally kneeling beside her and checking first for a pulse. "Stark." He tried to see if she was responsive. When he got a mumbled response, he put his hands on her cheeks. "Focus. Breathe. Think about my voice and focus on healing."
<Shinobi> He airwalked down the elevator shaft and back through the wall into the basement. The guy was hovering over her, talking to her, his hands on her face. Shinobi crossed his arms and moved a little closer, staying intangible for now.
<David> When she tried to say something else, David shushed her. "Just focus on me. Focus on my voice. Focus on what I can do."
<Shinobi> Shinobi looked away, searching for something else to focus on himself, but all he found was the desk.
<Hope> Finally latching onto the power, Hope groaned and sat up. "Owwww! What the hell!?" She pressed her hand to the back of her head as she continued to heal.
<David> "I was wondering the same thing. As she sat up, he realized that the blanket was covering her naked form. He glared at Shinobi, but spoke to her. "Why are you naked?"
<Shinobi> His eyes were drawn back to Hope, then the guy. David. Raising his chin, he stared down his nose at him.
<Hope> "Because I iced over! When I fell. Through three fucking stories. Or did you miss that?" She rubbed her head, thinking about that. "Actually... I iced over as I fell.... Like at the same time."
<Shinobi> "You were cold..." A moment too late he realized this was as good as a confession that he'd touched her.
<Hope> Hope turned her head to look at him, where had he come from? "Where did you come from?"
<David> Rolling his eyes, David stood up. "I'll get you some clothes." He narrowed those eyes at Shinobi. He had touched her. Tony would be getting his full report, that was for sure.
<Shinobi> Shinobi managed a bit of a sneer for that look from David. "I live here."
<Hope> Oh she was in his room. Why was she in his room? Why had any of that happened!? She watched David as he headed up the stairs, noticing the way they looked at each other. "What the hell did I miss?"
<Shinobi> Once he was out of sight, Shinobi solidified and moved over to crouch down beside her. "I was hoping you could tell me. I heard a scream and a ...well, thud..." He gestured to indicate her on the floor. "Here you are."
<Hope> She looked down, trying to think. "I was hot... and couldn't get my bag up the stairs. So I used Bobby's power. And then I thought about you..." she trailed off, thinking. Thinking about people and tapping into their powers automatically hadn't happened since she was a teenager. Was that what had happened?
<Shinobi> "You used my power, and his, I guess... but where did your clothes go then?" She thought about him? "Your other friend needs to keep his hands to himself."
<Hope> "When I ice.... the clothes go away unless I have a special uniform on. Which probably burned with the school. Super." She tried to wrap herself in the blanket better, looking up at him suddenly. "What do you mean hands to himself?"
<Shinobi> "It doesn't matter," he snapped, getting up to sit on the bed, bracing his elbows on his knees as he rubbed both hands over his face. "I saw the pictures."
<Hope> "It does matter!" She snapped back at him, getting to her feet. "What pictures? Can you give me a break and make some very clear sense?"
<Shinobi> "Of you and that... David guy! He looks old enough to be your father! To be my father! ....he looks older than my father..." Irritated that he'd gotten off subject, he tried not to look at her, standing there wrapped in his blanket, and ended up staring at her little feet and those bright toenails.
<Hope> "Why do you even care anyway!? You rejected me, remember?!" She adjusted the blanket so it tucked into itself around her, freeing up her hands.
<Shinobi> That made him look up at her, shocked. "What?"
<Hope> She crossed her arms over her chest. "It doesn't matter. We took those damn pictures for you. So you're welcome. The whole fucking world gets to think I'm a slut, but as long as they think that was HIM and not YOU, nobody will look too closely at the face and realize it is YOU."
<Shinobi> "...for me?" It sounded ridiculous, but the photos were similar to the ones from the club. "So they would think it's him... but who is he?"
<Hope> "He's my body guard. He's like 100 years old. But they don't know that. And he's about as cuddly as a cactus.... but he's supposed to be the best agent they have. And his healing power is the best they've found." She leaned back against his wall, checking to be sure she was still covered. "He's just my guard, doing his job."
<Shinobi> "Oh." He shook his head, trying to work through it, but he couldn't get one detail out of his mind. Shaking his head, he stood up and moved over to her, intent, and studied her face. "I didn't reject you."
<Hope> "Then what would you call it?" she asked, looking up at him, but with her back against the wall she couldn't really go anywhere. She met his gaze though, locking in on it.
<Shinobi> "I was doing what you asked," he said quietly, and raised his hand, wanting to touch her but unsure if he should. Finally, he decided her hair was safe enough, and used the backs of his fingers to move it from her face.
<Hope> Her mind raced, trying to figure out what she had asked him. Finally, it settled on their conversation. She had asked him to wait. She had asked him to give her space and time to sort things out. He had done that, when she hadn't. All anger left her as she pulled him to her, wrapping her arms securely around him. He was wonderful.
<Shinobi> He smiled a little when he saw understanding dawn in her eyes, and then he held onto her tightly. "I wanted to..." He had wanted it more than anything. "When I went to your room in the morning to try to explain... you were gone." Closing his eyes, he rested his cheek against her head.
<Hope> "I didn't get a chance to tell you I was going to New York. My old apartment sold. I had to clean out anything I wanted to keep." She closed her eyes, not moving so she could just hold him. "I wouldn't just... leave. No matter how mad."
<Shinobi> "Jess told me..." But not before he'd overreacted spectacularly, of course. "I'm... I felt like an ass." He moved his hand up to stroke through her hair. "Like I drove you off."
<Hope> "Takes more than that to run me off. I just... I thought it best to wait so people wouldn't say I was rushing things again. You're still getting settled. I'm still getting settled... Patience never was my strongest virtue," she admitted, relaxing into him as he played with her hair. She hadn't realized how much she loved that before.
<Shinobi> "It's not mine either... getting a little better at it." He felt her relax and felt warm. "You told me you wanted to wait, so I thought I was doing the right thing."
<Hope> That made her smile, turning her head to look up at him. "Look at you, looking out for me." And here everyone was worried about him being dangerous.
<Shinobi> He grinned down at her, and the moment stretched out, and if he wasn't careful, he'd try to kiss her again. "I'm trying." He still played with her hair though, unable to help himself.
<Hope> "I like it," she admitted, sighing a little. Her fingers went up to his hair, flicking a spike. "You got a haircut."
<Shinobi> "Do you?" He smirked just a bit, and then lost it when she touched his hair. Closing his eyes, he swallowed, clenched his jaw and tried not to embarrass himself. "Do you like that?"
<Hope> "I really do," she played with it a bit, getting it to fall right. "It looks good on you."
<Shinobi> Now was not the time to point out he generally wore it this way when he worked for Nur. "Thanks," he managed, then cleared his throat and smiled at her a little. It grew at her expression while she fussed with his hair. "It's got nothing on red."
<Hope> "Well not much can or does." She smiled at him, moving her hand so that her arm was wrapped back around him. "Shinobi... I should um. Get dressed."
<Shinobi> "Right." He smirked again, and took a step back. "I can... get you something a little better than a blanket." Breaking eye contact, with effort, he went to dig through a drawer.
<Hope> It was much easier to think without him so close. She ran her hand through her hair, making a face. Ugh she must look horrid. "So do I look like a drowned rat?"
<Shinobi> "Not at all. Like a mermaid." His insistence to Jess earlier that he could do his own damn laundry, thank you very much, was coming back to him now, and he frowned, coming up with a pair of black boxer briefs. "I'm afraid I haven't done laundry yet..."
<Hope> "Oh..." she really didn't want to leave him. Hadn't David mentioned clothes? Maybe he talked to Drake and realized he should bugger off. "I um... could um." Go. She could go. Fix her hair, face, and put on proper clothes.
<Shinobi> " Here you go, Ariel. I promise they're clean." Grabbing the back of the neck of his tee, he started to yank it off. "And I haven't worn this for long."
<Hope> Staring. There was staring. Hope licked her lips and stepped to him, putting her hands on the offered clothes. "Thanks," she forced out. Bathroom. She should go to the bathroom. She should.
<Shinobi> Shinobi smirked. "You're welcome." After a moment, he nodded toward the bathroom door. "Or... I could promise to turn around?"
<Hope> Yeah right, like she trusted him with that! "Right... just um. Just a sec?" She smiled a little, awkwardly, and retreated to the bathroom.
<Shinobi> He grinned at the closed bathroom door, crossing his arms. Well, his day had certainly taken a turn for the better.
<Hope> Hope took the opportunity of being alone to press his shirt to her face, breathing it in and smiling. She slid it on and the boxers, then went to the mirror to try to do something with her poor hair.
<Shinobi> Shinobi glanced in the mirror over his dresser himself. His hair did look good. Pleased, he decided maybe he should pick up a bit.
<Hope> Thankfully he had some things she could use in there. It took her a few minutes, but when she reemerged, she was presentable. Not her usual self, but presentable. Somewhat. While the shirt covered her ass, she was very thankful for the boxer briefs, which were loose on her. It made her smirk.
<Shinobi> The door opened while he was checking the tablet for damage and he dropped it back onto the bed with a soft thump. "Well, well... look at you." He strolled over to her, game face in place, although his palms were sweating.
<Hope> She smirked up at him, leaning against the door frame a bit. "This shirt is really nice," she smoothed out the hem a bit, aware she didn't have a bra on.
<Shinobi> "It suits you. Perfectly." He didn't bother trying not to look, though he brought his eyes quickly enough back to her face. Somehow, she had managed to fix her hair in there. Shinobi moved in close and picked up one of the soft curls.
<Hope> Hope grinned at him, straightening herself up. "Careful. It might disappear..." she teased, watching him.
<Shinobi> The idea of her keeping the shirt made him swallow. "In that case, I hope it does." He watched her hair slide through his fingertips for a moment.
<Hope> She smirked at him again, taking his spare hand in her own, intertwining their fingers. "Do I still look like a mermaid, Obi?"
<Shinobi> "Oh, yeah... most definitely." The nickname made him smile, and lose track of his thoughts.
<Hope> She smiled at his smile, lost there for a moment. Her eyes shifted down to his chest, then back up to his eyes. So dark.
<Shinobi> He wasn't sure how long it was before he remembered. "I have something for you," he finally said with a grin.
<Hope> She shook her head a little, bringing her back to reality. "What? You have something for me?"
<Shinobi> "Yeah." Giving her hair a final twirl and smirking, he kept her hand and led her to his desk, and to the small fish tank. "Every Ariel needs a Flounder."
<Hope> Her smile was slow as she took in the bright green betta with blue rocks at the bottom. Flounder had a seashell... and a fork. "You got me a fish?" She asked, truly touched and wrapping her arm around him instead of holding his hand.
<Shinobi> "I got you a fish," he confirmed, and would have been happy to get several more, now.
<Hope> She snuggled into him, smiling happily. "Obi... this is..." she just grinned. "Nobody has ever gotten me a pet before."
<Shinobi> That made him blink, although he had no room for comparison. "Really? I suppose... I never had one either." Shaking himself, he tapped the lid and watched the fish puff up. "He's feisty. I got him... a few days ago."
<Hope> "Just like the real Flounder," she grinned, leaning down to look at the fish. "He's beautiful, Shinobi. And green! Like Ariel's tail."
<Shinobi> "I got him the day before your furniture was delivered. It was... a welcome gift, I suppose." He knew that was a thing, though he'd never had cause to exercise the etiquette he did know. Recalling the day he'd tried to deliver it, he nervously rubbed his fingers over his mouth.
<Hope> "And then I disappeared," she supplied for him, wincing. "I'm sorry...." She looked over at him, stuck on the movement of his fingers on his mouth.
<Shinobi> "And then you disappeared," he agreed, eyes still on the fish.
<Hope> "Well I won't be going anywhere else for a little while. Until I'm needed in DC again." She looked back over at the fish, smiling at it. "Can you help me get Flounder up to my room?"
<Shinobi> "Sure, of course." He realized she still had her arm around him, and he had an arm around her as well, so he turned toward her and wrapped her up for another hug.
<Hope> Hope held onto him tightly, pressing her face into the warm flesh of his chest. She had to count in her mind, worried of acting in a way unbecoming of the lady she was striving to become. "Thank you, Obi."
<Shinobi> "Thank you." He held her tightly, bending down to almost touch the crown of her head with his mouth and nose. She smelled a little like his hair gel now, but still like Hope... and peppermint.
<Hope> "But I didn't do anything," she protested, reluctant to pull away from him.
<Shinobi> "Yeah, you did." Deciding what the hell, he closed his eyes and kissed the top of her head. "You came back."
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2015 7:54 pm
<Hope> With Shinobi's help, Hope had her bag back in her room and her little fish tank set up. They had put the tank on the dresser where it could be easily seen throughout the room. She still had some decorating to do, but Hope lay on her back on her bed, hanging off the foot of the bed slightly, upside down and texting. Decorating could wait.
<Shinobi> Since Sebastian was still out and one of Hope's guards was occupied with Jessica and the other was... missing... Shinobi helped himself to his father's closet for a shirt. Still buttoning, he ran back up the stairs to Hope's room.
<Shinobi> He stopped in the doorway, the last few buttons forgotten, at the sight of her draped over the bed, hair cascading down over the edge.
<Hope> Oblivious that she was being watched, Hope typed away at her phone, posting something to her Twitter feed.
<Shinobi> And she was staying. He grinned to himself and watched her for a moment, leaning against the doorway with his arms crossed. Eventually, he cleared his throat.
<Hope> She glanced to the noise and grinned, rolling over on her side and propping herself up on her elbow. "Hey." But it was his outfit that caught her attention. The small bit of flesh peeking out from where those forgotten buttons were meant to cover. She swallowed hard. Why had she wanted to wait again?
<Shinobi> "Hey again." She hadn't changed clothes either, which made his stomach clench in all sorts of ways. "All settled back in?"
<Hope> He voice once again pulled her back. She set her phone aside and sat up, one foot sliding off the edge of the bed. "Kind of?" She laughed, running her hand through her hair. "I need to unpack." Her eyes never left him, not able to look away.
<Shinobi> "You want some company?" He stared at her hair, then snapped himself out of it and smiled.
<Hope> "From you? Always." She smiled back at him.
<Shinobi> She shouldn't tell him things like that, not if she wanted him to give her that time she asked for. "Careful, you'll feed my ego." He pushed off the door frame and sauntered into her room, deciding the bed was too dangerous, and the fish needed some attention.
<Hope> "Aren't you a Shaw? It's not possible to make your ego larger," she teased, watching his movement. "So... I have a theory."
<Shinobi> "It does certainly seem to be genetic," he said with a chuckle, tapping the tank to provoke the fish. "A theory?" Shinobi deemed it safe enough to look over his shoulder at her.
<Hope> "Yeah..." she watched him with Flounder for a moment. "I think.... I lost control of my power. Because I was using two of them. At the saaaaaaaaaame time."
<Shinobi> "And you can't normally do that, I take it." He turned around to face her, arms crossed again to take her in.
<Hope> "No, I never have. I didn't even know I could. But that would explain why I was a block of ice falling through the floor. Right? It makes sense?" She tucked a bit of her hair behind her ear, watching him.
<Shinobi> "It does. Your skin... you were ice cold..." He moved closer to her. "Scared the shit out of me." That she'd just come through his ceiling had taken time to process as well. "You're lucky you stopped at the floor, or that you didn't solidify inside the bed," he said more quietly.
<Hope> "Or solidify through anything in between," she pointed out, looking away from him and down at her toes. "I wasn't even trying to use your power. It was a complete accident."
<Shinobi> "Or gone to the opposite end of my power." He sat down on the bed beside her. "I can help you with mine, but... that's weird. I know we can... further evolve. It happens..."
<Hope> "I'd really like to train with you. At least then you could possibly rescue me. I've used phasing before. Kat has it. But every signature is a little different." She smiled and pushed her hair back over her shoulder, out of her way. "I guess mine finally evolved then?"
<Shinobi> "It's convenient, and it certainly came in handy when your new bodyguard got a bit overenthusiastic." He watched her hair again, and the movement of her hand.
<Hope> She stared at him, her look changing instantly. "What did he do?"
<Shinobi> "He accused me of doing something to you. I evaded him. My power is excellent for that, at least. It has offensive and defensive capabilities, so I'm lucky there."
<Hope> She eyed him a bit suspiciously. "So I don't need to handle this?"
<Shinobi> Finally catching on to her meaning, he laughed. "No. No harm done." The implications were moving, however. "I'm fine, really. Unless he's going to continue, or wait until I go to sleep to shoot me."
<Hope> "I wouldn't.... think so. Maybe I should do something about it. Proactively. Before he gets overzealous in his job. Hopefully Bobby is around more. Bobby is... chill." She grinned at her own pun. "Bobby and I worked things out a long time ago."
<Shinobi> "Yeah, I've met him..." The day he realized he almost felt concern for his father. It was rather memorable. "So, do you think you can do it again? Now that you're aware of what you're doing? There are several mutants in the vicinity, after all."
<Hope> "Definitely. I wouldn't want to use yours with another again. But... maybe two I've used before would go better?" She wasn't sure why she thought he'd have more insight into her powers than she did, but the change in her ability had her nervous. Was it just two? Or could she use even more than that?
<Shinobi> "Perhaps Bobby Drake and Jess then? Although I'm not sure I want to be electrocuted." He smirked, sitting back and making himself comfortable. "Have you used hers very much? You seemed comfortable with that telepath." Ah, yes.
<Hope> "Yeah I've used her's. I think I can control it. Bobby's is second nature. When you're with someone all the time like that, it's best to be familiar with it. Well... here goes." She latched onto Bobby first, breathing out fog as she did. Then she focused in on Jess, trying to pick hers up and hold it at the same time.
<Shinobi> "That's certainly interesting..." He watched the mist of breath, tucking one leg under him to turn and watch her.
<Hope> Unaware, Hope immediately began leaking pheromones as she latched onto the second power. "Oh this is.... weird. Really weird." She pushed off of the bed to move to the wall, trying out that sticky thing.
<Shinobi> "You should see her do it to clean the ceiling fans..." It was a fascinating afternoon, although now he felt somewhat ashamed of some of the applications he thought of that day. "Has that telepath left the area?"
<Hope> Hope wasn't sure what to do with that emotion. Oh no. She had forgotten about that power. "Uhhh" Hope dropped back to the floor to feel for Sebastian. "Yeah it's back. Close enough to feel. Why?" She sat back down beside him. Then it hit her. Empathy wasn't the only part of Jess' powers that she had forgotten about.
<Shinobi> Shinobi drew in a ragged breath, shifting uncomfortably and unable to take his eyes from her the closer she got. "I tried to contact you.... like you said. Thinking to you to reach you..." His nostrils flared when she sat down. He wanted her so much it almost hurt, and the clenching of his heart definitely was painful.
<Hope> His emotions that she picked up got her to her feet quickly, moving to the corner as she dropped both powers. Holy crap. Holy crap! "S-sorry." She paused. "When did you try to contact me?" She needed a fan to clear the air. Or a match.
<Shinobi> "After the photos first came out..." Swallowing, he got up to follow her. She was in his clothes... and he hadn't forgotten what he'd seen before he covered her. She was almost his... she should be his.
<Hope> She winced, trying to keep him at arm's length. "I'm sorry. I should have kept it active, if the telepath was in range. I got distracted after being yelled at."
<Shinobi> Shinobi's gaze roved over her and then he focused on her eyes. He caught her wrist, bringing her hand to his mouth and blowing a hot breath over her skin as he skimmed her pulse point with his nose and lips. "I thought I'd never get to see you again..."
<Hope> Hope shuddered at the breath. It would be so easy. He only stopped because she had asked him to, right? But no. Not like this. This wasn't fair. He was acting on pheromones that she had accidentally released. "We should um. Get some air, Shinobi."
<Shinobi> "Why?" He kissed her wrist, mouthing and nibbling. "You want this... you want me... I want you, and it's more than just this." Moving in quickly, he gripped her hip and pulled her against him. "So much more."
<Hope> "You have no idea..." He was right there. It would be easy. He was right! They both did... No! Pheromones. "I'm really... really sorry about this." she warned him as she picked up Bobby's power.... and quickly dropped the temperature of the room. She tried to pull away from him once the cold hit, ready to freeze his jeans if this failed.
<Shinobi> "What the-?" It was cold and she was gone. Shinobi spun around to stare at her, phasing to escape the biting cold.
<Hope> "Are you good now?" She asked, not looking directly at him out of guilt. But not so guilty that she didn't stay by the door this time.
<Shinobi> He had no idea, but he was definitely confused. "Good with what? What the fuck?"
<Hope> She brought the temperature back up, dropping the power. "I'm so, so sorry. My bad. I... might have... influenced you there accidentally? I shouldn't have been so cocky about multiple powers." She looked back up at him to see how pissed he was.
<Shinobi> The density shift hadn't entirely stopped the effects of the cold, and now he was shivering for an entirely different reason than he had been moments earlier. "Whose power did... what?" He shook his head, feeling strange.
<Hope> "Jess... she has much better control over it than I do. I'm so, so sorry." She told him, scared to go back over to him yet in case they were still in the air.
<Shinobi> "It's... what is it?" He solidified and didn't feel any better for it, backing himself into the corner to lean against the wall. A glance at her told him he couldn't get any closer and he turned to stare at the yellow.
<Hope> She cleared her throat a bit, then sighed. "Some kind of pheromones." She looked over at him, feeling even worse. "Maybe.... I could leave? I'm so sorry."
<Shinobi> "Do you know how to disburse them?" He rested his forehead against the wall, along with a fist. "I should go." Yet he didn't move, as it was taking all his concentration not to go after her.
<Hope> "No..." She looked down at her feet, feeling terrible. "Let's get you out of this room. Up to the roof! Fresh air! That's it! Window!" She moved quickly to the window to open it.
<Shinobi> He watched her, trying to slow his breathing. "Sorry..."
<Hope> "It's definitely not your fault," she assured him, backing away so he could go to the window.
<Shinobi> "Yeah, but I could have... hurt you." It was what they'd been worried about with Doreen, after all, but this was much, much worse. Shinobi moved to the window and stuck his head out, taking a deep breath.
<Hope> She was touched... but a little amused. "I'm tougher than you think, Shinobi." She leaned back against the opposite wall, watching him.
<Shinobi> "It doesn't matter..." The air was freezing, but it was helping. "Maybe turn on the ceiling fan?"
<Hope> Wordlessly, she flicked on the ceiling fan. "Is it helping?"
<Shinobi> "Yeah." He took a few more deep breaths, and now his nose was freezing, and he was losing feeling in the fingertips that clutched the sill.
<Hope> "So.... won't be doing that again," she tried to laugh a little. Truth was, she needed to if she was going to be here long term. However, she sure as hell wasn't going to with him in the room.
<Shinobi> He laughed and blew out a long breath, watching it freeze in the air. "Maybe someday..." Raising his eyebrow, he looked back inside at her.
<Hope> It took her a moment, but she slowly grinned. "Yeah. Someday. And maybe with some warning next time."
<Shinobi> "Warning would also be good." Deciding it was safe to turn around, he smirked and crossed his arms, only partly because he was freezing. Normally, a someday would have pissed him off, but everything was different now, wasn't it?
<Hope> She smirked back at him, enjoying the view. "I can get some kick ass power combos now though. And can really leave that telepath active as much as possible."
<Shinobi> How about now? He watched her carefully. Maybe he was wrong, since he hadn't heard his father return, or maybe there really was another telepath.
<Hope> You got me. She smiled at him, moving back into the room again.
<Shinobi> He took a few steps and looked around, gauging how he felt, then shrugged and closed the window. Indeed I do.
<Hope> She tucked some hair behind her ear, relaxing again. She sat down on the edge of her bed, eyes still focused on him. You sure you're ok?
<Shinobi> Yeah. It was nothing a long shower wouldn't cure, he supposed, although it had been... odd. That was... odd. I knew what I was doing, sort of, but it was just... instinct. He cleared his throat and paced a short circuit, trying to remember what he'd said to her.
<Hope> She shook her head a bit. That's kind of what it's designed to do I think. Those primal instincts. If it hadn't been for those pheromones... She shook herself from that thought. I just need to learn some control.
<Shinobi> Shinobi stopped and smirked at her. Or less control.
<Hope> Her eyes shifted up to him quickly, swallowing. Didn't feel right taking advantage of you when you were basically drugged, after all.
<Shinobi> His lip just curled further. I wouldn't complain. Downstairs, he heard voices, and one was distinctively his father's, talking about coffee and the Starbucks next door. The man was loud, and never bothered to temper his tone, so enhanced senses were not necessary.
<Hope> She smirked and ducked her head. Not complaining wasn't' the point. She glanced at the door, rubbing her arms a bit from the chill in the room. She should tell Sebastian about her power increase. I'll keep that in mind.
<Shinobi> It seemed safe enough, so he joined her again on the bed and put an arm around her, rubbing her cold bare skin. Okay, so, maybe not Jessica's powers for a while, but you could use my father's and ice potentially.
<Hope> She moved closer to him to get warm, not really sure she wanted to try two powers again, though Bobby's would warm her up. I could do that... I use your dad's a lot. She was using his currently. But wait, wasn't she still hiding the identity of the telepath? She couldn't lie to him! Not after she just drugged him.
<Shinobi> She was warm, even though she may not feel it herself, and smelled fantastic. After a few moments of silence, he ran his tongue over his teeth, making the connection. My father is the telepath.
<Hope> What makes you say that? She questioned, shifting uncomfortably against him.
<Shinobi> It's true, isn't it? It was more of a hunch than anything, but from her reaction a good one, and he leaned down to catch her eyes.
<Hope> She was doomed, she realized, as she looked back into his eyes. Yes. Not many know.
<Shinobi> He frowned, mulling this over.
<Hope> She swallowed, watching his face carefully and processing what was filtering over their connection.
<Shinobi> It made a lot of sense, answered many questions, and raised a few more. That's convenient.
<Hope> What's that supposed to mean? She asked, nervous and worried she had opened up another can of worms.
<Shinobi> It means you can practice more, right? He was watching her face. She was nervous.
<Hope> She laughed and rested her cheek against him again. "Yeah. It really does."
<Shinobi> It was time for another talk with his father, obviously. He gave her a squeeze and turned to rest his head against hers.
<Hope> Hope closed her eyes and breathed him in. I don't know if I was supposed to tell you or not.
<Shinobi> I'm sure you weren't. He thought about that for a moment. I won't tell him. He doesn't need to know, and I have wondered for a while.
<Hope> Thank you. I probably wasn't. I'm usually really careful about using that part. Damn he smelled good. And that shirt was soft.
<Shinobi> He and Jess... they communicate without speaking. They're doing this... It was... intimate. Moreso than the telepathy he'd experienced in the past, although that was primarily used as a weapon. The thought made him shiver.
<Hope> Yes they do. All the time. He keeps it active as long as he's in range of her. She felt calm and content sitting in his arms on her bed. She held him tighter at the shiver, rubbing him gently to warm him.
<Shinobi> I never liked telepaths. He closed his eyes, willing himself not to think of the past.
<Hope> Hope weighed her decision carefully. She moved so she could press her forehead against his. Eyes still closed, she tried to calm him. I can stop if you want. If it makes you uncomfortable.
<Shinobi> Surprised, he opened his eyes. She was so close. It doesn't. Not this. Not you. His father was another matter, however.
<Hope> She smiled, relieved. I still like you here, she admitted.
<Shinobi> I'm still reassuring? Once more, if he moved just a bit, her mouth was right there.
<Shinobi> He smiled in return and brushed his nose against hers. So easy. It would be so easy, and she smelled great and he was sure he still felt those pheromones...
<Hope> She had no words, only feelings of joy and peace. She slid her hand to his shoulder, squeezing it a bit. He'd make an excellent Prince Eric, and she really hoped that thought hadn't filtered over.
<Shinobi> She really did need to work on this telepathy thing. Shinobi grinned and opened his eyes, kissing the tip of her nose before he backed off.
<Hope> Hope opened her eyes when he moved away, still smiling. I guess I should get really dressed before Sebastian or Jess see me.
<Shinobi> They already assume the worst, of course. His expression shifted to something more sly.
<Hope> She tapped the tip of his nose gently, but moved away from him to her closet. Even though I told him and Tony both otherwise... I doubt they believe me.
<Shinobi> I did the same with Jess... Although, now, she knew there was more to it than he'd let on to Sebastian.
<Hope> Hope sighed and kept searching in the closet. At lest she might believe you. She needed to go to campus. She was missing most of her wardrobe. I kind of need to go back to campus and get some stuff. You could come when I go if you want.
<Shinobi> He watched her rifle though the closet, shifting only slightly uncomfortably. I do like you in this, however... The invitation got his attention and he smirked. I would love to.
<Hope> She paused to look over at him, smirked over at him, debating that for a moment. Until somebody tries to put you through a wall, getting the wrong idea. Or blame her for it.
<Shinobi> He was sure the mental sigh was almost audible to her. Well, I have been told I need to visit the school and learn from my... previous mistakes.
<Hope> Hope softened a little and moved to sit back down, wrapping her arms around him. You have a fresh start. And at least this time... you aren't alone.
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:21 am
<Hope> Hope rather enjoyed the library of the Shaw house, though not because of the books, which she didn't read, but because it had great cell reception. She lounged about, typing away on twitter, smirking at the idiots she was slamming.
<Jessica> Jess had waited some time for things to settle down again before she went to find Hope. Climbing the stairs would have been a hell of a chore by now if she couldn't fly. She came out into the library and looked around, spying the red hair, "Hey...."
<Hope> "Hashtag bye Felicia!" Hope laughed and looked up at Jess. "Oh, hey Jess." She set the phone down.
<Jessica> Jess offered her a smile, "How did New York go?" she stepped properly into the library, glancing around her before resting her hands on the bump.
<Hope> "Uneventful really. Got everything I needed out, papers signed. New owners are moving in at the end of the month." Hope watched her, noting for the first time, she didn't feel that pang of sadness at watching her touch her stomach.
<Jessica> "Well that's good," she gave her another smile, "It was quiet around the house without you... not sure I liked it much."
<Hope> "Really?" Hope asked, genuinely surprised. "I feel like I just have a wake of drama in my path. I would have thought it would be nice without me here."
<Jessica> "It was boring," she laughed, "Sebastian went to work and Shinobi didn't come out of the basement 'til noon.... I resorted to cleaning. I'm turning into a boring housewife."
<Hope> Laughing, Hope grinned. "Wow. See, I started hiring maids to do that for me. I discovered that I hate cleaning."
<Jessica> "Well, when you have nothing better to do it becomes a last resort..." Jess shrugged helplessly, "Speaking of last resorts... I couldn't help overhearing you and Shinobi earlier..."
<Hope> The sudden change threw Hope. She blinked and looked at her. "What did you hear?" She made a note to talk to him more in their link when Sebastian was in range. Being overheard was not fun.
<Jessica> "That you had a bit of a power mishap... with my pheromones... I wasn't eavesdropping, I try really hard not to do that but I heard my name and you sounded sort of anxious so..." she gave Hope an apologetic look.
<Hope> "Yeeeeah," she cringed a bit. "I didn't think about the pheromones or empathy. It was bad. So bad..."
<Jessica> She laughed, "Well, the empathy I need more practice with but the pheromones? I have that down... if you want help learning to control them, I'm the best person to ask."
<Hope> "Thanks... but I think I want to wait awhile before I try that disaster again. But when I am ready, I'll be sure to come ask?" She asked. "It was kind of nervewracking."
<Jessica> She nodded, "It's tricky... especially when you're attracted to someone... makes it harder to control."
<Hope> Swallowing, Hope nodded. "I would imagine that would be much more difficult, yes."
<Jessica> "I know how you feel about him... there's no use me pretending otherwise. Empathy is a new thing and I can't control it yet so... I pick things up whether I want to or not."
<Hope> Sighing, Hope leaned back and nodded. "Ok ok. I know nobody is thrilled about that little fact either."
<Jessica> "It's not that... I just don't want either of you rushing into something and getting hurt... I care about both of you and I'm sure Sebastian feels the same... we try not to talk about it though because it makes me uncomfortable at the moment." She sighed, "I really wish my powers had better timing."
<Hope> Hope groaned and covered her face with her hands. "I don't need a lecture about rushing into things."
<Jessica> "I know you don't and I'm not giving you one... I'm just letting you know where I stand on it so you don't think I'm going to try to get in the way on purpose or anything - I know how you hate the meddling." She went over to her and rested a hand on her shoulder.
<Hope> "I already got the lovely sex talk with Sebastian. Which, by the way, is NOT a conversation I EVER want to have again. And I think I know better what he's going through than anyone else, given that I had similar experiences." And had been in his head enough times. "I know you are trying to help..."
<Jessica> "I'm not giving you a talk," Jess assured her, "I promise. Just... for the sake of my sanity... try not to broadcast all the sexual tension, okay? There are some things I just don't want to know and it's hard enough to ignore as it is."
<Hope> "I don't broadcast it. It's just... there. All the time. There." Hope poked the invisible tension in the air. "Course if I slept with him, it'd go away," she teased Jess.
<Jessica> "And here's where I cover my ears and hum to myself... If you're going to do that... please do it when I'm not in the house." She wrinkled her nose.
<Hope> Laughing, Hope threw a pillow at her. "Calm down, old woman. I told him I needed time to figure things out. And I kind of need to know if he's really interested... or if it's just... you know. I'm here."
<Jessica> Jess caught the pillow, "Well maybe we could look at getting him into school or something... then he can make more friends... just hopefully he'll stay away from Doreen...." She didn't want a repeat of that fiasco.
<Hope> "I don't think Doreen will be a problem... but yeah. He said he wanted to go with me to campus when I go to get the rest of my clothes. Surely he can make some friends there." Hope smiled a little. "I'm hoping to get him out and get him to try some new things."
<Jessica> "We all want that," Jess smiled at her, "He needs to have a normal life... he's earned it... we all have."
<Hope> "It'll never be 'normal' but yeah. He and I both need to figure out what we want in life. Might as well have a friend to figure that out with," she reasoned. "As long as we can make sure no more media follows us. But that's what Bobby is for. He can freeze the cameras."
<Jessica> "And the government will foot the bill!" She laughed then stopped almost immediately, "Owwww...."
<Hope> Hope laughed at her, then stopped when she did. "You alright?"
<Jessica> She thought about it then shook her head, "No.... this is different..." she fumbled in her pocket for her phone, almost crushing it in her grip as another pain came. She thrust the phone at Hope, "Call Sebastian... and Viper... speed dial one and two."
<Hope> "Different how? And what am I supposed to tell them?" She asked, staring at the phone. Viper? Seriously?! She was so not calling the serial killing psychopath.
<Jessica> "Tell them... that I think I might be in labour and to get here quick..."
<Hope> "Ohhhh no no no no no! You are soooo not in labor. No!" Hope was on her feet, eying that stomach as she tried to dial number one. "Stay in there! We're not ready for you yet!"
<Jessica> Jess leaned on a bookcase for a moment and attempted to pull herself together. She had a bag that was all ready to go, she just needed to get down the stairs to it. "I am ready," Jess protested, "I was done with this when the constant peeing started."
<Hope> "Ok so like, do we need a taxi? Or or an ambulance? Or a huge tub? I don't even know how you do this!"
<Jessica> "Just call Viper!" Jess straightened up, "We're not going to the hospital. I don't like hospitals." She headed for the stairs.
<Hope> "I'm not calling Viper!" She made a face at Jess. "You are impossible!"
<Jessica> "Call the bloody woman right now!" Jess was not in the mood to argue this point, "This was the deal! I do this - she helps!"
<Hope> "I am not fucking calling the murderer of the X-men! You are out of your everloving mind! She'll probably steal the baby! That's much more likely." Hope fumbled with the stupid phone, trying to figure out which one was Sebastian's number.
<Jessica> "Then tell Sebastian to do it or pray Yukio has her number and is paying some attention today." Jess paused on the stairs and sighed. Now her feet were wet. "... I'm changing my clothes."
<Hope> Hope finally figured it out and dialed Sebastian. The moment he picked up, she didn't give him time to talk. "Get HOME now. She's leaking and there's screaming... though that is me... and you are supposed to bring a psychopathic murderer. Is that PEE or water breaking?! I am so not having children!"
<Jessica> "It's not pee!" Jess yelled back, then muttered to herself the rest of the way down the stairs about usefulness and farts in spacesuits.
Re: Christmas 2017: Hope Stark
Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 1:34 am
<Hope> It was undetermined how long ago the Shaws had left to have their offspring, but Hope had wrapped herself up in a blanket on the roof. She sipped on her bottle of scotch and stared out at the city below. So much screaming. So much crying. And then there was Jess. Hope took a swig. She was not having children. Ever.
<Shinobi> He hadn't been gone that long, but when Shinobi turned on his phone there were more than a dozen messages, missed calls and... was that a tweet? Thumbing through them, he realized most were from Hope, with one from Sebastian stating Jess was in labor and to behave. He smirked. Hope's were far more interesting, since they were in sentence fragments with hashtags. Leaking? Argh.
<Shinobi> It wasn't like he got out of the house on his own much, since it was a new privilege, so he'd tried to savor it. Both the freedom and those peanut butter cookies at Starbucks. So, once he got back to the house, he had to stop to brush his teeth, wash his hands... and change his shirt for good measure.
<Hope> Hope snuggled down into the blanket and checked her phone again. Shinobi was an ass. No reply. Still. She scowled and put the phone down, taking another swig. Boys were stupid. She was so tired of them being stupid. She sent him another one. <#scotch fixes all>
<Shinobi> His phone beeped and he checked it, taking a moment to respond this time. Just got home, save some for me. Now he needed to find her, and since his father wasn't home thinking at her wouldn't work. Starting up the stairs to her room, he looked around for signs of chaos.
<Hope> She jumped at the text, but smiled, even though she was upset with him. She texted back. <Bring a coat>
<Shinobi> That one gave him pause. A coat? He sent a text to the same effect and stopped off to raid his father's closet again.
<Hope> <#do you want to build a snowman?> She smirked and took another drink. Boys were dumb.
<Shinobi> What the fuck did that mean? He got a coat and went up another level to the kitchen where he spotted her new guard drinking tea and looking bored. The one in the photos, who thought shoving him was great fun. Shinobi smirked at him.
<David> David glared at the security risk over his tea, not liking that little shit at all.
<Shinobi> That just made him grin, and pass him by to check Hope's room. She wasn't there, so he went up another level and #bingo! The barely-used door onto the terrible, unmaintained roof patio was half open, letting in the cold air, and when he stepped outside he saw her. "What the fuck, Hope? It's freezing!"
<Hope> "Is it?" She asked, smiling at him. He was so cute. Stupid. But cute. "I've had like... half a bottle? Maybe? I don't know how full this was...."
<Shinobi> "Why don't you come inside?" At street level it had been cold, but this was cold this high up.
<Hope> Shrugging, Hope struggled to her feet, pulling her bottle of scotch with her, moving to him.
<Shinobi> It was too late to help her up, but he took off his coat and tossed it over her shoulders and pulled her against him, kicking the door shut behind them. "Again, what the fuck?"
<Hope> "What? It's not that bad," she mumbled, snuggling into him. He felt so warm... maybe it was colder than she thought. "I just needed air."
<Shinobi> "Sure," he said, dragging out the word, and wondered if she was steady enough to navigate the spiral steps. He led her to the sofa instead and sat down, pulling her with him. "There's air in here, you know."
<Hope> "I have a blanket," she pointed out, sitting close to him. "And scotch. And in here is where it happened!" she pointed out.
<Shinobi> "Yeah, what exactly happened?" She felt cold to him, whether or not she actually felt it, so he rubbed her arm and pulled her closer.
<Hope> "Jess went into labor with me here by myself. So I had to call Sebastian. And her water broke. And she wanted me to call Viper! Like hell am I calling Viper!" She told him, getting upset about Viper all over again as she pressed her cheek against his chest.
<Shinobi> That explained the leaking thing, and he remembered Viper killed the fiance. So, even though he'd been on the losing side, the winning side wasn't any less complicated. "Sounds... messy."
<Hope> "It was awful. I don't ever want to have children. Ever. Oh my god," she shut her eyes, cringing.
<Shinobi> He was still conflicted on this whole family thing anyway. "Yeah... agreed," he said, noticing the cringe and giving her a squeeze.
<Hope> She sighed a bit and looked up at him. "I saved you some scotch," she offered the bottle to him.
<Shinobi> Taking the bottle, he took a drink. "So... I guess I'll be a brother..."
<Hope> "Yeah..." She said quietly, resting her head against him again.
<Shinobi> Shinobi was not sure at all how he felt about this, so he took another drink, this time larger.
<Hope> "At least you know he isn't going to send you away. I mean, you're his kid too."
<Shinobi> "Mmm." Jessica had always been on his side, but now she would have a daughter, and not a project. He knocked back another drink.
<Hope> This baby changed everything. Hope slid her arms better around him, squeezing him.
<Shinobi> "It's... weird." Then something occurred to him. "Tomorrow is his birthday."
<Hope> Hope started at that. "Yeah I guess it is. Ha! Happy birthday. Go clean up a screaming infant."
<Shinobi> "Hope..." He started and then took another long swallow of scotch from the bottle, savoring the burn. "You... know him better than I do..."
<Hope> "Yeah?" she asked, looking up at him. Her eyes may have settled on his jawline.
<Shinobi> "How old is he? Really?" He met her eyes briefly, then noticed what she was doing and smirked, tilting his head to assist her intense drunken study.
<Hope> "I don't know... he's like ancient." She grumbled a bit, trying to think. "Thirty-four? Thirty-five? Thirty-four! He will be thirty-five." One finger touched that jawline. So pretty.
<Shinobi> He certainly didn't mind the touch, but frowned. "There's no way."
<Hope> She dropped her finger, starting to realize she had said something wrong, but not sure yet what that was. "No way what?"
<Shinobi> "I'm almost twenty-two, so he'd have been around twelve when I was conceived, and I know that's possible, but..." He shook his head. "He has to be older than that. He heals. I used to think he'd had plastic surgery..."
<Hope> Her mind flailed. She knew it was Shinobi who was off on his age, not Sebastian, but she couldn't tell him that. Couldn't she just kiss him and make him stop thinking? Tempting. She licked her lips and sighed. "I don't know, Obi." The lie felt bitter on her tongue. She'd never felt so dirty lying before.
<Shinobi> "Everything I've found says he's thirty-four..." He sighed and took another drink, sliding down in the sofa and holding her close. She was feeling warmer, and so was he, and she smelled fantastic. "It's just... I wish he'd tell me..."
<Hope> Hope touched that jaw again with her finger, sliding her finger gently. "If there's a secret, it will come out. They always do. They don't stay buried."
<Shinobi> "No... I suppose not." Most of his had come out already, after all. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the contact.
<Hope> She smiled and pet his cheek a bit. "I don't have any more... I don't think."
<Shinobi> "Really?" He rather doubted that, and smirked, taking another slug of the scotch.
<Hope> "Besides you... do you count as a secret?" She fumbled in her pocket, pulling out a peppermint and popping it in her mouth.
<Shinobi> "I'm a secret?" That caused him to open his eyes to stare at her inquisitively, and just in time to catch her with the candy. His eyes lingered on her mouth. "Not a very well kept one..."
<Hope> "I don't know... since David pretended to be you so it wouldn't be you." And she lost herself. Her eyes glanced up to his, smiling. "Want a peppermint?"
<Shinobi> "You know I don't look anything like David, plus there's apparently an eighty year age gap." He licked his lips and took another drink, his eyes never leaving hers. This was a terrible, terrible idea. "You know I do."
<Hope> "But shhhh, maybe nobody will notice that." She laughed and reached into her pocket, pulling out a peppermint for him.
<Shinobi> He smirked and took the mint, a half dozen terribly inappropriate ideas for the candies running through his mind while he squeezed it directly from the wrapper into his mouth.
<Hope> Happy, Hope smiled and tapped the tip of his nose. "I finally refilled my stash."
<Shinobi> "That does explain why you smell like peppermint." Even his blanket smelled like peppermint.
<Hope> She laughed and grinned. "I'm minty fresh."
<Shinobi> "With a little hint of aged scotch," he said with a laugh, and decided he should stop drinking. Already, he was warm and more than a little buzzed, and she was so very close.
<Hope> "Only the best scotch," she confirmed, resting her head on his chest again. "We have the whole house to ourselves... and we're in the library," she laughed a little.
<Shinobi> "Except for David," he reminded her, and parked the bottle next to his hip. "We are... probably safest here."
<Hope> "He doesn't count," she argued. "Well... maybe right on the safe part."
<Shinobi> He nodded and tipped his head to rest against the sofa back.
<Hope> Hope closed her eyes and listened to the sound of his heart beating, smiling softly to herself. She was glad he was there.
<Shinobi> Time was hard to gauge, since he was vaguely drunk and lost in the feeling of Hope in his arms. "I don't know... well, anything, really, about babies, but I'm guessing it's going to get really loud around here. And... smelly."
<Hope> She made a face at the thought. "That sounds accurate."
<Shinobi> "Do you think we'll be expected to... participate?"
<Hope> "I'm pretty sure I am, so you are definitely going to be as well." And she had no intention of participating.
<Shinobi> "So that's how that works?" He had to laugh, and found himself wrapping his arms more securely around her.
<Hope> Laughing with him, she kind of shrugged, hugging him tightly in return. "Probably. Maybe we'll get lucky and won't get asked to touch it."
<Shinobi> The laughter faded. "I'm not sure which one would be worse, actually..."
<Hope> Her hand slid to his arm, squeezing it. "You'll be fine... big brother Shinobi."
<Shinobi> "Yeah. We'll see." He located the scotch bottle and took another drink, although with the mint it tasted terrible.
<Hope> Laughing, Hope sighed and fell silent for awhile. Finally, she broke the silence with a calm, soft voice. "There was one family who kept me for awhile."
<Shinobi> Surprised a little when the comfortable silence was broken, he rolled his head down to look at the top of her head at her tone of voice. "Yeah?"
<Hope> She nodded. "Until I was... three? Four? It was nice... until they had a baby of their own."
<Shinobi> Deciding it wasn't time to point out he was a tad older, he mirrored the nod and gave her a squeeze.
<Hope> "They sent me back," she told him quietly, staying against him so he couldn't see her face.
<Shinobi> "Sebastian won't send you back," he assured her, although he still wasn't at all certain about his own fate.
<Hope> "You don't know that," she pointed out. "Everything just changed for me."
<Shinobi> He was out of reassurances that didn't mean anything. "I know."
<Hope> Hope took a staggering breath and nestled into him. At least the most important things were still stable. She still had Tony... and now she had someone that she cared about. If she could keep the media away from him long enough for her to figure stuff out.