<Hope> New York, the city that never sleeps, was the perfect place for Hope Stark, who also never slept. There were countless things to do in the New York nightlife, but this trip wasn't for that. This trip was to clear her head. She sat at the bar of the club, nursing a scotch. The club was just, the club, and nothing seemed spectacular at all.
<Shinobi> Beside her, Shinobi was watching the room through the mirror as he sipped his own scotch. So far, he hadn't seen anyone he recognized, and was endlessly thankful Monet hadn't put in an appearance.
<Hope> She kept scanning the room with her mind, looking for any key words or attitudes that would tip her off. Nothing. And she was exhausted. She turned on her seat to face the room, she took a deep breath. She was tempted by the idea of the shooting range, but like hell was she taking Shinobi down there.
<Shinobi> Noticing her movement, he turned as well. Nothing?
<Hope> Nada, She took a sip of her drink, looking over at him. That's... good right? Maybe nobody here is in on it?
<Shinobi> He shrugged. Or they have better shields than you. His own were improving, but still a work in progress. Taking a sip of his scotch, he gave her a slow wink. Maybe we should mingle. Snoop the old-fashioned way, huh?
<Hope> I don't want to mingle... can we just... dance? She reached over, taking his hand.
<Shinobi> "Of course," he said, taking another drink and sliding from the bar stool. Placing the glass on the bar, he gave her hand a kiss and waited for her to stand, smirk in place.
<Hope> Hope smiled at him, completely at ease with him there with her. She stood, waiting on him to lead further.
<Shinobi> Shinobi led her to the center of the floor and touched her waist lightly with his free hand, drawing her closer. Hand sliding down, it stopped at her hip and he waited a moment for the song to change before he started to move.
<Hope> Her face lit up as she moved with him, keeping perfect time with is pace. Calmed again, Hope was able to listen with her mind and her ears once more.
<Shinobi> He felt her concentrating on the room, and it was definitely a bizarre sensation. I hope there are no other telepaths here tonight...
<Hope> You know I'm aware of all powers within a three mile radius right? She looked up at him, watching his face. She never got tired of looking at him.
<Shinobi> What if they're shielding? With tech, or with a masking ability? He smiled at her, sensing the rush of affection and returning it as he squeezed her hand.
<Hope> They can't hide their ability from me. They can hide their mind or their thoughts... but not their abilities. At least... she didn't think so. She smiled back at him, squeezing his hand.
<Shinobi> Okay, so what's here in this room? He spun them in a circle, surveying the light crowd. Playing spot the mutant was always enlightening.
<Hope> She opened her mind, sharing with him what it was like to sense all the abilities as they circled the room.
<Shinobi> He very nearly tripped, still not quite accustomed to when she did that. Wow...
<Hope> She pulled it back quickly, putting it safely behind her wall. That's what it's like for me. All the time.
<Shinobi> The flash he'd received was astounding, though he hadn't been able to really discern one power from the other. That's... a lot. Try it again?
<Hope> Are you sure? Hope questioned him, not wanting to overwhelm him.
<Shinobi> Sure I'm sure. It's interesting. He flashed her a grin and led her in a twirl.
<Hope> Hope laughed as she twirled, opening her mind to him again. For her, the endless powers were a giant switchboard that she could plug into whenever she wanted. By focusing in on one, it becomes more clear what it is.
<Shinobi> This required a little more concentration, so he dispensed with the fancy footwork and tried to follow her instruction. It was strange. There were some definite low-level mutants in the room, and if he focused his attention on a particular powerset, he realized he could tell whose it was.
<Shinobi> She's an illusionist! He stared at a middle-aged woman at the bar. He has a slight healing factor... he looked at a younger man. That led him to another healing ability, one far more powerful and he sucked in a surprised breath, turning to find David lurking in a corner booth. Holy shit...
<Hope> Hope just smiled at him, immensely joyful in sharing this with him. Isn't it amazing?
<Shinobi> It is! He grinned, closing his eyes to focus again, and realized he was seeing his own powerset, far more intense for its proximity to Hope, but a lesser ability than David's. And that's me, right?
<Hope> Hope closed her eyes, sharing the moment with him. She bit her lower lip, nodding. That's you. You should see Bobby's when he's around.
<Shinobi> They weren't dancing anymore, and he bent to rest his forehead against hers. This is so strange, but it is amazing. Thank you...
<Hope> She rested in his arms, running her fingers over him just a bit. I like sharing everything with you.
<Shinobi> He smiled, his hand gliding from her hip to the small of her back to pull her against him. I'm glad you do.
<Hope> Hope reached up to stroke his cheek and paused. Wait... she focused in on an odd signature. Something wasn't right there.
<Shinobi> "Hmm?" Feeling her disquiet he leaned back to see her face. What?
<Hope> I don't know... something.... there's another phaser, but his signature is weird. She tried to focus in on it better, wanting a better feel for it.
<Shinobi> He looked around the room. Like me?
<Hope> Maybe? It's... Yes. It's like yours.
<Shinobi> Now he was curious, and tried to follow her lead again, focusing on a signature that was - yes - much like his own. That's not in this room though. Is it in the club at all?
<Hope> Reading his mind, Hope took off, trying to go toward the signal.
<Shinobi> Shit. He went after her, catching up within a couple steps. Phasing isn't that rare, Hope, think about this.
<Hope> I just... want to see. She couldn't explain why the signature felt odd, but she definitely wanted to see who this person was.
<Shinobi> Shinobi stopped, looking over his shoulder to locate David.
<David> David was right on their heels, having already seen her move.
<Hope> The pause gave Hope a chance to get around the corner ahead of the boys.
<Shinobi> "She sensed somebody with powers like mine," he told the agent, picking up pace and giving a quick look around to see how much attention they'd attracted. Luckily Hellfire Club patrons were adept at pretending to ignore most things.
<David> He blinked. "So?" Did this child think? Like ever?
<Hope> Hope kept racing ahead until she got to a T in the corridor. Which way?
<Shinobi> "I don't know!" Once around the corner, he broke into a sprint, catching up quickly.
<Hope> Right. They needed to go right. She paused... and waited for Shinobi, taking his hand in her own before casually strolling down that hallway.
<Shinobi> So what's this way? And what's so interesting about this guy? He bumped arms with her, hoping to distract her again. Should I worry you're just interested in phasers?
<Hope> The way his signature was... I couldn't get a good read on it, and I want to know why. She waggled her eyebrows at him. The part of the club I avoid.
<David> David swore in Chinese under his breath as he followed Shinobi. He needed a raise.
<Shinobi> And you want to get a look at this guy there specifically? He tugged on her hand, trying to slow her down, and shot a look at David. If you really wanted to visit the dungeon you just could have told me...
<Hope> It's... it's not... I didn't... She flushed, stopping to face him at the hand tug.
<Shinobi> He quirked a brow at that, suddenly and inappropriately intrigued. Still, it gave David time to check things out.
<Hope> "I mean... I didn't think of it that way. Just... that's where he is." She tucked a bit of hair behind her ear.
<Shinobi> "Mmhmm..." It was fantastic watching her blush, and he picked up a curl to play with to further distract her.
<Hope> Hope licked her lips and looked up into Shinobi's eyes.
<Shinobi> His gaze fell to her mouth and he smirked, not bothering with pretense anymore when he leaned down and kissed her.
<Hope> She slid her arms around his neck, sliding closer to him as she returned his kiss.
<David> Thankful for the distraction for her, David quietly slid around them to investigate what was up ahead.
<Shinobi> One hand tangled in her hair and he took a step closer, his other hand on the small of her back to press her against him.
<Hope> All thoughts of the mystery man were forgotten. Hope ran her fingers through his hair and deepened their kiss.
<Shinobi> Opening one eye, he didn't see David, but he did see an alcove. Smiling into the kiss, he backed her into it.
<Hope> It was easy to maneuver her. Hope went wherever he led her, backing against the wall once she got there. She grinned in the kiss and nipped him gently, playfully. I like this idea.
<Shinobi> So do I. The nip made him lose track of the reason he was distracting her in the first place and he groaned, guiding her head back with the hand in her hair. He kissed her just beneath the ear, whispering a few additional good ideas.
<Hope> ---Time Passes---
<Hope> Hope straightened herself up, running her fingers through her hair and smirking over at Shinobi.
<Shinobi> Somehow, she'd managed to muss his hair as well, and he used a mirror in the alcove to rearrange it and straighten his tie. Turning back to her, he caught her around the waist and pulled her to the mirror as well, helping her with her wild red locks.
<Hope> Hope leaned back against him, smiling at him in the mirror. "Hey Obi?"
<Shinobi> "Mmm, yeah?" He returned the lazy smile, playing with her hair now.
<Hope> "I love you," she told him, looking up at him behind her.
<Shinobi> His smile melted into something more sincere and he moved his hand to her jaw to turn her head, craning his neck down to give her a soft kiss. "I love you too, Ariel."
<Hope> She smiled in the kiss, stroking his cheek lovingly, turning her body to face him again.
<Shinobi> Her emotions in their link were almost overpowering, and he held her close, returning them as best as he could. So much.
<Hope> Hope smiled, breaking the kiss to look up at him. "Me too."
<Shinobi> So much so, he'd completely sidetracked her from two terrible ideas in the last two days. He sighed, not quite through, and nuzzled her. Where the hell was David?
<Hope> Giggling just a little at him, she squirmed and snuggled into him. "We should grab something to eat on the way back to the hotel."
<Shinobi> "Definitely." Making a decision, he kissed her through her hair and then took her hand, stepping out of the alcove and taking a look around.
<Hope> She laced their fingers together, following behind him. "How do you feel about waffles?"
<Shinobi> "I'm a fan," he said with a slight chuckle, turning back to face her and taming a stray curl while looking over her head for her guard.
<Hope> "Mmmm with whipped cream." She smiled up at him. "Maybe put some here..." she tapped the tip of his nose.
<Shinobi> He laughed and gave up his search for David for a moment, just gazing at her smile.
<Hope> Distracted again, Hope smiled and leaned up, kissing him softly. "And some strawberries."
<Shinobi> "Okay, and some strawberries," he said, still chuckling, and gave her a quick kiss. But first, they needed to find David. Taking her hand again, he led her back to the bar, scanning the room. "We just need to find your shadow, yeah?"
<Hope> "Oh yeah... we should find him. Where did he run off to?" Hope questioned, tightening her hold on his hand.
<Shinobi> That was a good question, because he couldn't see him anywhere in the main room. Knowing it was a long shot, he fished his phone from his pocket and took a look. Nothing, and they'd separated nearly a half hour before.
<Hope> Following his lead, Hope pulled out her own phone, pausing to smile at the picture of them, then sent David a text.
<Shinobi> He chewed the corner of his lip, debating this move, but David was never out of reach. "Hope... can you sense him?"
<Hope> She gave him an odd look. "Well yeah."
<Shinobi> "Where is he then?" He gave the room another once-over, hoping he'd just missed him.
<Hope> Resisting the urge to give him a look, she focused in on David's powers and turned them back around, toward the dungeons again.
<Shinobi> "Shit," he muttered, following close beside her and as they approached the door - appropriately covered in black leather - he moved in front. No way was he letting her take point.
<Shinobi> Listening for a moment, he debating shifting their density but decided that was a massive overreaction. David probably had been distracted.
<Hope> Hope almost smiled at that, but kept his hand. "He should be right inside."
<Shinobi> "Better be." He opened the door, slowly, and was surprised by the darkness inside. That was never a good sign, and his free hand slid along the wall in search of a switch. He felt a quick, stabbing pain, a shock, then, nothing.
<Hope> The darkness made her uneasy as she followed Shinobi inside. There, everything moved so fast. Shinobi's hand went slack at the same time she felt other hands on her. Reacting quickly, her elbow went up to the nose of her assailant, the crack registering just as she felt a sharp pain in her neck from the other side. She let out a scream... and then crumbled to the floor.
March 12, 2018 22:46 GMT-5