Timelined for Valentine's Day
<Hope> The presidential suite at the Ritz had been booked and the Secret Service team was in place. The Sweetheart Dance at the club would be starting soon. Hope had planned for the limo to take them to the club this time instead of taking the corvette. She planned on having a good time, and didn't want to have to drive.
<Hope> Hope had spent the better part of two hours in the main bathroom of the suite, after locking Shinobi out, getting herself ready. Her hair was perfect. Her makeup was perfect. She picked up her perfume and sprayed it lightly on herself. A smile spread across her face as she looked at herself in the mirror. He was going to flip!
<Shinobi> It had taken Shinobi roughly a half hour to shower, shave, dress and... wait. He watched a movie on his tablet, then went to the lobby for a while.
<Hope> She was ready. Finally. I'm ready, she told him, putting her things away where they belonged for travel.
<Shinobi> I'll be there in a few then. He paid the bartender and picked up his gift, making his way to their suite. In the hall, he had to pause to check his reflection, straightening his tie, then glanced at David, standing sentry at the door. After a moment, he composed himself, went to the door and knocked.
<David> David gave Shinobi the strangest look. Why was he knocking? What was wrong with these people?
<Hope> Hope jumped at the knock. Knocking? She waited a beat, and when David didn't open the door, she moved across the suite and opened it herself. She caught her breath when she saw him. Dressed the nicest she had ever seen him, his hair immaculate... she second guessed her decision to leave the hotel room.
<Shinobi> She was... green. Very green, and gorgeous, and he needed to say something. "Hope..." Something more. "Wow." He smiled, going into the living room of the suite and remembering his gift. "For you," he said, offering her the bouquet of sunflowers, daisies and a single red rose. "Happy Valentine's Day."
<Hope> She shook her head, snapping out of her stare. A smile spread across her face as she took the bouquet, kissing him softly. "They are amazing. Thank you." She smiled at the flowers and set them down on the table. Nimbly she picked out a daisy and without even looking, pinned it in her hair. "I have something for you too."
<Shinobi> He smiled at the flower in her hair, not processing the words. Stepping up to her, he set both hands on her shoulders, thumbs brushing across her soft skin. "You look amazing, Hope. And very... Ariel."
<Hope> "Have you looked at yourself? You look fantastic." She leaned up to kiss him softly, holding out her hand for his present to fly into, which it did.
<Shinobi> Unable to resist, he tilted his head and deepened the kiss for a moment, nipping her full lower lip before he let her go. "For me?" She had said that, hadn't she? "Thank you," he said, moving back a little to look at the small box.
<Hope> "It's not much, but I made some... improvements to it for you." She watched him with a smile on her face. She had made sure the Stark tech in the watch didn't make the watch look like anything less than a Rolex.
<Shinobi> Taking the gift, he smiled at her and opened the box. "Hope... thanks." He knew money was no object to her, but still...
<Hope> "It should interface with your phone." She kissed his cheek again. "It looked like your style too."
<Shinobi> "Yeah, I love it." Taking out the watch, he looked it over and strapped it onto his wrist. "A smartphone interface. Wow... what's it do?"
<Hope> "Everything." She laughed a little. "It can obviously tell the time, date, anything else you want to program it to display, like weather and temperature. It can answer the phone, play music... and just look like a regular watch. I didn't think you'd like the ones that clearly look electronic. This was more... sophisticated."
<Shinobi> "That's awesome." He inspected the watch for just a moment, then hugged her tightly. "You are definitely the best girlfriend."
<Hope> Her face flushed at that, wrapping her arms around him tightly. "Now that isn't something I'm used to hearing."
<Shinobi> "Really?" He pulled back, surprised, to see her face. The blush made her freckles stand out and he smiled. "I'll have to say it more often then."
<Hope> "I always feel like I'm a terrible girlfriend," she admitted, watching his face.
<Shinobi> "Why?" He was honestly puzzled, and reached up to lightly touch the flower in her hair.
<Hope> She shrugged, thinking that through. "Maybe it means I don't have very high expectations... so when I fail..."
<Shinobi> "You don't have high expectations of whom?" He cocked his head.
<Hope> She swallowed, forcing herself to keep his gaze. "Me."
<Shinobi> His eyebrow twitched. "Well, I expect you to be the best girlfriend. That shouldn't be too hard, right?"
<Hope> She smiled and rested her forehead against him. "Nope. Not at all. Are you ready to dance with your best girlfriend?"
<Shinobi> "Absolutely." He tilted his head and gave her a kiss, lingering for a moment, then moved back to offer her his arm. "Let's go."
<Hope> Hope cuddled with Shinobi in the back of the limo on the way to the club. Once there, the driver opened the door for them. She stole one last kiss from Shinobi just before the door opened.
<Shinobi> He stepped out of the car and glanced around, noting David's position, then offered her his hand.
<Hope> She took his hand, sliding out somewhat gracefully. She squeezed his hand, then dropped it to take his arm.
<Shinobi> The Hellfire Club looked busy, and he could only hope that Monet wasn't here tonight. Shinobi rested his hand over hers on his arm and smiled at her. There was no line for them, of course, and soon they were inside.
<Hope> Her usual first stop was the bar, but she didn't really know what she wanted to drink. She smiled up at him once they got inside, then looked around, taking in the gowns the other women were wearing. "Are you thirsty?" she asked him.
<Shinobi> "Not really, but it never hurts to have a drink for when you get cornered." He kept her arm, surveying the room. It was busy. "Might need one if Monet is here."
<Hope> Hope smirked. "I can deal with Monet if she's here." She led the way toward the bar.
<Shinobi> "Well," he said, finding himself following her to the bar, "I can too, I'd just rather be drunk to do it."
<Hope> That made her smile. "Yeah... yeah I think you can." The bartender was quick to pour two scotches when he saw the redhead approach.
<Shinobi> "Thanks," he told the man, taking both crystal tumblers and handing one to Hope with a smirk. "I know it."
<Hope> That made her smile more as she took her glass, taking a sip.Thank you for coming with me.
<Shinobi> Oh, I wouldn't miss this. And, we're alone. He moved his free hand around her and rested it on her back, bared by the dress.
<Hope> Hope smirked and took a careful sip, looking up at his eyes. Indeed we are. Do you want to dance?
<Shinobi> Yes. But, let's get the lay of the land first. It is the Hellfire Club, after all. He held her gaze, then let it fall to the neckline of her dress.
<Hope> It is... that means I should do a bit of work, doesn't it? She took a sip of her scotch, smirking at him.
<Shinobi> You're the one in the Inner Circle. He brushed his fingertips teasingly on her back. I'm just your arm candy.
<Hope> Arm candy I intend to devour later, she teased, sliding closer to him.
<Shinobi> I am more than okay with that. He drew her in, pressing his palm flat against the small of her back.
<Hope> She kissed his neck softly, smirking. Forcing herself away from him, she reclaimed his arm and led him into the thick of the club, looking to see who was there.
<Shinobi> So, I understand my father has had a lot of the members killed. He sipped his scotch and worked on fitting in as they made a circuit of the room.
<Hope> It happens. Usually it's just business. Sometimes it's personal. Hope paused a couple of times to give brief greetings to important members.
<Shinobi> Meeting those members as Sebastian Shaw's legitimate son was... a new experience. Didn't they try to eat him?
<Hope> And Johnny. Hope swallowed some more scotch. Yes they did. That was when Jess moved in with him. Once he got back. It took me a long time to forgive her for hiding her head in the sand and not helping us look for the others.
<Shinobi> Sensing she was disturbed, he paused and looked at her. Are you okay?
<Hope> She leaned up to kiss him softly. That was where everything changed. Johnny was taken. The team didn't do enough to find him. I knew time was precious. My friend Eddie... he and I went out on our own.
<Shinobi> Shit. I'm sorry. Good job, bringing up her dead fiance. Uncaring that they were in the middle of the Hellfire Club, he gave her a hug, careful of their drinks. You went looking for him?
<Hope> You didn't know, it's not your fault. She hugged him tightly, smiling faintly. Of course I went after him. Course... my methods were not appreciated. I was kicked off the team.
<Shinobi> The X-Men are idiots. While many of his opinions had changed over the last few years, that one had stayed quite constant.
<Hope> She laughed and snuggled into him. Yes they are. I took on Dr. Rott. Without powers. She smirked, remembering that.
<Shinobi> That gave him pause. Rott was crazy. Even Dr. Essex thought so, which... He wasn't sure what he thought about Essex anymore, truthfully.
<Hope> Hope just smirked. I kicked his ass.
<Shinobi> That was you... There was realization in his mental tone, when several things clicked together at once.
<Hope> Eddie killed him... Wait. What about me? She looked up at him quickly.
<Shinobi> He was watching the room, lost in memory. Everything was falling apart then. Nur wanted to be a god, but most of us saw he was fucking nuts. Essex did...
<Hope> They both were, she pointed out, trying to gently pull his face down to look at her.
<Shinobi> We knew shit was going down. The X-Men changed the rules and started killing us, which, smart move, but it made things more dangerous. It was around this time he'd starting thinking he was better off on his own. If Essex had left, I would have too. Wouldn't have been captured.
<Hope> Hope pressed her face against his cheek, holding him close. Bobby was on that team, she admitted. I was terrified he was going to kill me too, if I got out of control. If I lost control.
<Shinobi> Drake the killer. I was surprised he didn't get Cortez. Learning the identities of the rogue X-Men killers had been a little surprising. He shifted to look at her face. [/i]Really?[/i]
<Hope> She nodded, looking up at him. He killed one of us. I get why now, but it still made me really uncomfortable to have him around.
<Shinobi> Death, he recalled, unsure how he felt about this sudden return of memories. He killed Death.
<Hope> Hope shuddered in his arms, swallowing hard. Teagan. She corrected him. Her name was Teagan.
<Shinobi> He met her eyes, searching, then kissed her forehead. Teagan.
<Hope> Smiling softly, she looked up at him, relaxing again. She gave him a brief nod. I need a refill.
<Shinobi> They hadn't paid attention to their names. It hadn't seemed important at the time. He swallowed and let go to take her hand and lead her to the bar.
<Hope> Hope laced their fingers as they walked, grateful when the bartender was quick to offer her a refill.
<Shinobi> He downed the rest of his own glass and plonked it on the bar.
<Hope> Hope rested her head against him, drinking her second glass. I'm still glad we're together now.
<Shinobi> A refill appeared and he nodded at the bartender in thanks but ignored the drink in favor of Hope right now. Leaning down, he pressed a kiss to the bare skin at the juncture of her neck and shoulder. I would hope. His mental voice was playful in an attempt to get the evening back on track.
<Hope> It worked. She grinned and turned to face him, wrapping her arms around him tightly. Obi... I don't think I really expressed how much I like the way you look in that suit.
<Shinobi> I'm open to you expressing your feelings. He smirked, flattening his palm on the skin bared by the back of her dress. You look amazing... Ariel.
<Hope> Hope grinned, backing up to twirl for him. Yeah?
<Shinobi> Oh yeah... He watched her with hungry, appreciative eyes.
<Hope> That made her smirk as she stepped back against him, pulling his arms around her. Just for you.
<Shinobi> Then I'm the luckiest man in the world, he sent, tightening his hold on her and tilting his head down for a kiss that he deepened immediately.
<Hope> She deepened the kiss, pressing her back against him as she did. Her hand slid up to his cheek, resting it there to keep him close.
<Shinobi> He moved his hands over her curves, feeling the silky, soft fabric of the dress. One hand came to a rest on her neck and he could feel her pulse speed up.
<Hope> Closing her eyes, Hope sighed a bit. You keep that up and we'll have to make it an early night.
<Shinobi> We haven't even danced yet, he pointed out, breaking the kiss and tracing the long muscle in her neck with a fingertip. The angle gave him an excellent view down the front of her dress and he smiled to himself.
<Hope> You're right. We haven't. She gave him a good shudder this time, grinning and enjoying his touch.
<Shinobi> Should we remedy that? He stroked her neck and traced her collarbone, watching her face and the play of the light in her eyes.
<Hope> We should. She smiled up at him, catching his gaze. Let's have some fun.
<Shinobi> Absolutely. He bent to give her a fast kiss and took a sip of his drink, pushing it back to the bartender's care while they danced. The man knew who they were, and knew it would be his head if either of them were drugged. Shinobi gave her a grin and offered his arm to lead her to the floor.
<Hope> Once on the dance floor, Hope slid into position, automatically starting to move to the music. She noted that unlike the first time they danced, this felt different. Better.
<Shinobi> It was certainly more natural now, and now he knew what was under her form-fitting dress. His hand fell to her hip as they moved, the song fast enough that the older set was waiting it out.
<Hope> She bit her lower lip, grinning just a bit as she stayed pressed against him. Her red curls bounced with her movement as she danced with him. We should have done this sooner!
<Shinobi> Definitely. Hand moving to the small of her back, he watched the movement of her hair, gaze falling to her lip and the white teeth indenting it.
<Hope> She was very aware of Shinobi's eyes on her, which made her smirk. She traced her hand over his arm as they danced, oblivious to another set of eyes on her from across the room. A rather, unwanted pair of eyes.
<Shinobi> His attention was focused entirely on Hope, feeling the beat of the music and shifting to the changing songs. The man on the other side of the dance floor sipped his drink, sizing up the competition.
<Hope> Hope wasn't even ashamed to admit she preferred the slower songs with him, being able to just rest her head against him as they moved slowly. She sighed a bit, not sure how long they had been dancing, but incredibly happy with her world. The man continued to drink as he watched the couple, working up his nerve.
<Shinobi> Slower songs required far less in the way of actual dancing, a generality he noticed didn't seem to be any different at the Hellfire Club. He wasn't complaining, since she felt and smelled fantastic. Bending down a little, he brushed his lips over the crown of her head.
<Hope> That caused her to look up, smiling at him. "Have I told you that I love you today?"
<Shinobi> "Yeah, but I'm never going to get tired of hearing it." He leaned in and gave her a soft kiss, then pulled her closer to breath in her ear. "I love you too."
<Hope> She grinned and turned to steal another kiss. "And I'm so glad you do." She kissed the tip of his nose. "I need to use the restroom." She stole another kiss. "I'll be back."
<Shinobi> His eyebrow twitched at her sudden change of subject, but he was growing more accustomed to it. "I'll be at the bar," he said, giving her bare shoulder another caress before he let her go. "Go powder your nose."
<Hope> "Mmm bar. Grab me a scotch will you?" She blew him a kiss with a smile as she headed to the bathroom.
<Shinobi> "Well, of course," he laughed, raising a hand to mime capturing the kiss and flattening his palm over his heart. Watching her walk away was a pleasure as well, although he soon noticed he wasn't the only one watching. It wasn't surprising - Hope was beautiful and bright and dressed as colorfully as her hair - but as he observed, one man turned to look at him as well.
<Shinobi> Shinobi assessed him briefly. Young - their age - tall, blonde. He gave him a dismissive smirk and went to the bar.
<Hope> Hope didn't take long in the bathroom, though she did touch up her hair. She eyed her nose, smirking. He was so cute. Satisfied that she would leave the bathroom as gorgeous as she had entered, Hope gathered herself and stepped out.
<Shinobi> He retrieved his drink from the bartender and took a sip, turning to survey the room. The man was gone. Curious, he scanned the dance floor and the tables, a sinking feeling in his stomach. Plonking the glass back onto the bar, he started for the hall.
<Blondie> A hand caught her wrist, pulling her into a corner where he could block her exit. "My lady..." He took a sip of his drink, inspecting his catch more closely.
<Hope> Her eyebrow raised, intrigued and amused. Had this guy stumbled out of fantasy night? Or one of the dungeons? Oh she hoped it wasn't a dungeon. Ew. "Yes, now if you will... unhand me," she eyed the hand on her wrist before meeting his gaze again. "I'll be on my way."
<Blondie> Grinning, he leaned in closer. "So I've heard all about you."
<Hope> "Really? How fascinating. And what have you heard?" She feigned interest, subtly tying to get her wrist free.
<Blondie> He leaned in to whisper in her ear, "That you know how to have a good time."
<Shinobi> Are you okay? Shinobi was already in the hall leading to the bathrooms and it took a moment to catch a flash of green further down in a recessed doorway. The blonde was touching her.
<Hope> I am now, she told him when she caught sight of him, and couldn't help but grin. She looked at the blonde again. "Oh I do. You have me so figured out. You want to know a secret?" She asked the guy, leaning in to his ear as his face lit up. "My boyfriend is right behind you." You can have the honors.
<Shinobi> He caught up and saw his hand on her wrist, and her attempts to wriggle away. She wasn't in any real danger from this clown, but he didn't know that. Shinobi clamped his hand on the man's forearm and squeezed until he let go. "It's time for you to go get a drink. Sit down, then think about your life."
<Blondie> "Why don't you get lost, Jackie Chan? Maybe she needs to be reminded how a real man does things." He shoved at Shinobi.
<Shinobi> Jackie Chan? His eyebrows shot up, then his eyes narrowed. Jerking the man around, Shinobi twisted his captive arm around his back and shoved him face first into the wall. Pressing his weight into him, he lowered his voice. "I let you go, you're just going to walk away."
<Blondie> A soft whimper actually escaped as the guy nodded, deciding it wasn't worth it.
<Hope> Hope just watched, trying so hard not to smirk. Damn her man was hot.
<Shinobi> His lip twitched and he swung the guy toward the hall, then let go with a little shove. Keeping himself between Hope and the man, he waited for him to catch his balance.
<Blondie> Before he could really catch his balance, he lumbered back to Shinobi quickly, taking his chance at a suckerpunch to his jaw.
<Shinobi> Unsurprised, he phased, stepping into the punch. Shinobi solidified in time to stop the man's movement and use his momentum against him, hardening the flesh of his own fist to smash the man's nose.
<Blondie> He shouted in surprise and held his nose, heading quickly for the bathroom. Blood was already gushing from his nostrils.
<Shinobi> He waited for the man to disappear and turned around to face Hope. "That was interesting," he said, giving her a smirk and inspecting his hand for blood.
<Hope> "Damn..." she smirked back at him, moving to take that hand and inspect it herself. "I should have found someone for you to punch sooner."
<Shinobi> "Oh, you liked that, did you?" He raised his other hand to brush back her hair and trace the shell of her ear.
<Hope> "Defending me from creepy stalker... phasing through his punch like a boss... and then breaking his nose? Yeah. I liked it." She grinned, nuzzling his hand. "Probably more than I should."
<Shinobi> He drew in a breath through his nose, somewhat surprised, and he could definitely feel her excitement through their link. "Have to keep my lady safe, right?" Stepping in closer, he watched her face for a moment and then closed the distance to kiss her.
<Hope> She grinned as she kissed him, wrapping her arms around his neck and pulling him closer to her. She'd been totally right to risk her life with him. He had everything under control... and looked incredibly sexy doing it.
<Shinobi> With both hands free, he cupped her face, then skimmed his touch down her sides and to the bare small of her back to pull her close. She was his now, and he would do anything to protect that. He backed her into an alcove across the hall, needing to feel her pressed against him.
<Hope> She moved for him without protest, stopping only when her back reached a wall. Her hand moved to the waist of his pants, pulling him closer with a tug.
<Shinobi> He groaned and kissed along her jawline and to the hollow beneath her ear. "They have private rooms here... not just the dungeons, yeah?" Or, their ridiculously expensive hotel room, he recalled.
<Hope> Distracted by him, it took her a moment, but Hope had to pause to breathe, swallowing hard as she took his hand in her own. "Come with me." It was definitely time to put her rank to good use. One private room, coming up!
<Hope> Hours later, after a full night at the club, Shinobi and Hope headed back to their hotel room. Hope was glad she had insisted on the limo now, as she was warm and snuggled into her boyfriend for the ride back. Once back on their floor, she kept his hand, walking lazily toward their room. "I'm really glad you agreed to come with me," she confessed.
<Shinobi> "You really thought I wouldn't want to come?" He laughed a little, realizing his voice was far too loud in the quiet hall. After the noise of the club, and the scotch, he was on the other side of sober.
<Hope> "Well... yeah," she admitted, laughing a little. "I mean... it's... formal... and... yeah," she laughed, fishing for their room key.
<Shinobi> "I can be formal." He blanked his expression and looked at her, doing a good impression of some of the older, more dour members of the club they'd met earlier. Before their bedtime, anyway. The older crowd shuffled off early.
<Hope> She laughed and squeezed his hand. "I know that. It's just hard to explain." She brought his hand up to her lips, kissing it softly.
<Shinobi> The truth was, he looked decidedly less formal now, since his tie had found a home in his pocket long ago and his shirt collar was left open from their intermission in the plush private room. "What's hard to explain?" He twisted his wrist and took her hand, fingers folding around it.
<Hope> "Well... it's not something I would normally have done either. Something just special about you. Made me want to go," she watched his movements, smiling at their hands.
<Shinobi> "I looked like I needed a prom date?" He laughed again, nuzzling her fingers.
<Hope> "Exactly like that," she laughed, smiling as she watched him. "I might have another present for you."
<Shinobi> "Another?" He lifted his arm to flash the Rolex. "Haven't you already done enough? You're going to make me feel bad, princess. All I got you was a bunch of flowers."
<Hope> "Hey, you leave my flowers alone," she laughed. "They are beautiful. But yes... just... one more. One I know you're going to like." She slid her key into the door, and opened the room for him. Right as planned, they entered to a rose petal trail on the floor to the bedroom. Candles lit the area, giving the room a soft orange glow.
<Shinobi> Shinobi looked into the room, then back at Hope, surprised. "Wow..."
<Hope> That made her giggle in her slightly drunken state. "There's some champagne on the table... give me five minutes?" She asked, leaning up to kiss him softly.
<Shinobi> "Sure..." He was still in shock, so he closed the door behind them and returned the kiss, bemused as he watched her walk away. That dress did wonderful things for her. And him.
<Hope> Hope took some time in the restoom, working on the very last part of her present for Shinobi.
<Shinobi> He moved into the room and brushed his fingers over a candle's flame, impressed. She had gone all out for this. Locating the champagne, he saw chocolate and strawberries as well. He smirked and picked up the bottle to open it.
<Hope> Satisfied with her wardrobe change, Hope slid a black silk robe over her green with black lace lingerie. It was the same lingerie she had bought days ago with Carol, making her smile. She knew then he'd like it. She knew now he would love it. She opened the door to the bathroom and looked for him.
<Shinobi> Pouring the champagne, he heard the door open and turned back to her. "Hey, this is-" She wasn't wearing her dress anymore...
<Hope> Smirk was already on her face as she crossed to him, taking a glass of champagne from him. "Wonderful?" she supplied.
<Shinobi> "Beautiful." He took her in, forgetting about the champagne flute he held. The robe barely peeked open, but he saw lace. Mouth going dry, he tore his eyes away and to her face.
<Hope> She smiled, taking a sip of the champagne. "I couldn't give you Valentine's without one more thing to unwrap."
<Shinobi> "Well..." he paused to clear his throat, voice turning huskier than he'd expected. "I'm honored." Recovering enough to smile, he stepped in and trailed his fingers over the silky material of the robe.
<Hope> Hope leaned up to him, nuzzling his cheek and neck. She tilted her head to whisper in his ear, "Happy Valentine's Day."
<Shinobi> "It certainly is." He turned his face inward and brushed his nose and lips over her neck, moving downward.
<Hope> Hope closed her eyes and sighed a bit, setting the champagne down. With both hands free, she moved to his shirt, slowly unbuttoning it. She opened her eyes again to look at his bare chest, smiling softly.
<Shinobi> Taking the hint, he shrugged off his suit jacket and tossed it aside. He turned back to her and hooked one finger in the loose bow at the front of her robe, pulling the knot free. In the warm glow of the candlelight, her hair looked like fire.
<Hope> Hope stepped back just enough to slide the robe off for him, finally and fully revealing the present she had purchased with him in mind.
<Shinobi> Green. I love you... The light did wonderful things for her pale skin as well, casting her golden.
<Hope> I love you too. She stroked his cheek softly, looking into his eyes. So much.
<Shinobi> He lost himself in her eyes, cupping her face in his hands and moving in close. So very much. It was moments like this he felt that link between them. It was remarkable.
<Hope> Remarkable was the exact word she'd have used. After so much disappointment, she finally felt happy. She brushed a bit of his dark brown hair away from his face, running her fingers on through it. None of that disappointment mattered anymore. She smiled at him. She had him now. Hope leaned in to kiss him.
<Shinobi> The contact intensified the sensation and he threaded his fingers into her hair. Happiness. He felt it too. You told me to find what makes me happy.
<Hope> She nodded, watching his face again. Find it and hold onto it.
<Shinobi> His thumbs brushed over her cheekbones and he kissed her again. I am.
Read our instance transcripts here for hot character sessions!
1 post • Page 1 of 1