Timelined just after Red Hot White House
<Shinobi> Hope was asleep, but Obi couldn't. Even though White House makeup sex was awesome he was simply too keyed up to relax, both from the bizarre fight and the news of the day.
<Shinobi> He wandered the residential wing for a while, and was happy he didn't get any additional suspicious stares from security. Finally, he found a study, and some scotch - this was the Stark administration after all - and settled into a chair to dial Boston.
<Jessica> Jess had just been settling down onto the sofa after a busy day cleaning the house when the phone rang. She dove for it in case it woke Miriam and almost dropped it - thank goodness for sticky hands. "Hello?"
<Shinobi> "Jess, hey." She sounded harried and he frowned at his scotch. "Everything okay? Did I catch you at a bad time?"
<Jessica> "Miriam's asleep and I just sat down," she laughed, "Don't worry about it. How's DC?" She settled herself down again and hit mute on the tv.
<Shinobi> "Ah, okay." He smiled to himself and took a sip. "It's good... Surprising, but good, I think."
<Jessica> "That's encouraging... and vague. Care to elaborate?" She flopped across the sofa to lie on her back and stare at the ceiling. Aaaah comfy.
<Shinobi> Obi made himself more comfortable as well, sliding down into the overstuffed chair and balancing the tumbler on his knee. "Well... there's going to be a press conference tomorrow. Tony is pardoning me."
<Jessica> Phone 0 - Sticky hands 2. "That's brilliant!"
<Shinobi> "I was shocked. Of course he had to mess with us a little before he actually told us what this was all about, but... yeah." He laughed, shaking his head. "Full pardon. They're going to say it wasn't me... none of it. A shapeshifter stole my identity."
<Jessica> "I told you it would be fine but even I didn't think something like this would happen. That's great news... we should throw a party."
<Shinobi> "Who would come?" He laughed, but for once the sound wasn't bitter at the idea.
<Jessica> "Everyone! I'll bake cake!" She grinned, "No one can resist cake."
<Shinobi> "Okay," he relented, shaking his head and still chuckling. "You're right. No one can resist cake."
<Jessica> "Not even Hope, and she resists most of my cooking." She started making a mental list of people and ingredients. "I'm sure she's pleased about this news too."
<Shinobi> That made him wrinkle his nose slightly. "Yeah... but she kind of freaked out on me..." He lowered his voice slightly, taking a look into the hall.
<Jessica> She raised an eyebrow, "Freaked out how?" It was sure to be good - Hope was queen of freakouts.
<Shinobi> "I'm... not even sure." He still wasn't, even though he was right there for the whole argument.
<Jessica> "Well... that doesn't surprise me in the slightest," she admitted, "Hope often makes no sense," she laughed a little, "But it's all okay now?"
<Shinobi> "I think so." She said so, but it was always hard to know for sure. "It's just..." Obi chewed his lip, then set down his glass to pick at the stitching on the braided armrest of the chair. "At first she was all excited, saying we could get married..."
<Jessica> "And then what happened?" Probably something tiny and insignificant that she blew out of all proportion, knowing Hope. Crazy redhead.
<Shinobi> "Well... they're pinning it on a shapeshifter..." It occurred to him then that Jess might even have gone to school with her...
<Jessica> "Any particular one or just some unknown that they can pretend to be looking for?" She propped herself up on an elbow so she could take a sip of tea.
<Shinobi> "Tony said no names, but the shapeshifter who was an Acolyte was Ronnie..." He swallowed. "Raven Darkholme. She was a student at Xavier's..."
<Jessica> "Yeah... I remember her... I remember not liking her very much." Her nose wrinkled.
<Shinobi> This time his laugh was a bit nervous. "I mentioned her, and Hope... must have picked up on something in our link?"
<Jessica> "Picked up on what?" She hadn't missed his nervous tone and her own was suspicious.
<Shinobi> "Raven and I..." Obi cleared his throat, shifting in the seat. He could hear her tone perfectly well and it reminded him of Hope's tone. "You know I have fake memories, so I... remember other girls, before her..." This was still an uncomfortable topic, but it somehow felt a bit better to put the thoughts into words. "But there couldn't have been..."
<Jessica> Her nose wrinkled again. That was some class A torture right there. "Well... that's awkward..."
<Shinobi> "Yeah. I guess... after everything... I've been thinking about things in retrospect, and made some realizations. So it just hit me, when he said shapeshifter." Obi cleared his throat. "Hope's way too perceptive sometimes."
<Jessica> "And she doesn't tact well..." Jess sighed, "I'm sorry..." she frowned, "So.... was she mad at you for remembering things that didn't happen? Or what...?"
<Shinobi> "No." He hadn't even tried to explain that part. "It didn't mean anything at the time, you know. And it still doesn't, really... but she tried to say I should go find her."
<Jessica> "... Why the hell would she say something like that?" Sometimes she wanted to pick Hope up and shake her. Often, in fact.
<Shinobi> "Yeah..." He sighed, still confused, though he thought he understood her underlying motivation now. "She said I was free now, and maybe I should go be with her."
<Jessica> "... Because you've shown any indication that you wanted to? Honestly, that woman... she loves to make life difficult."
<Shinobi> Though Jess couldn't see it, he nodded. "I think it was just because she's scared..."
<Jessica> "Of course it was.... but that's just my point. She makes it worse for herself," she rolled her eyes a little. "But everything's sorted out now?"
<Shinobi> "I think so, but the real reason she freaked out was because she doesn't think she's good enough for me... or that she can handle being with me maybe."
<Jessica> "... Handle being with you? Because you're so high maintenance?" Jess was baffled. Hope made no sense. At all.
<Shinobi> He rubbed his hand over his mouth, only lowering it to talk again. "No... actually, I'm pretty sure it doesn't have anything to do with me."
<Jessica> She frowned, trying to figure that one out, "Nope... that makes even less sense now."
<Shinobi> "She's insecure." Obi picked up his drink and swirled it, taking a long burning sip.
<Jessica> "Show me someone who says they aren't and I will show you a liar."
<Shinobi> "Well, you know how she is... she doesn't want to admit to a weakness." He stared at the scotch. "I understand. But... I thought we were past this..."
<Jessica> "Yeah so did I.... Everything was going so well... I'm sure I should have expected some sort of drama to happen, huh?"
<Shinobi> He laughed, though there was no humor in the sound. "Now you sound like me."
<Jessica> "I forget sometimes that bad things follow me around..." She shrugged a shoulder, "I always expect the worst... but generally I keep it to myself."
<Shinobi> "That's what she thinks happens around her too..." He frowned. "I don't believe in curses, but she seems to."
<Jessica> "Yeah... I feel that way sometimes too.... But... I've had a lot of bad things happen to people around me..."
<Shinobi> "I've... made bad things happen around me, of course." After slugging back the rest of the scotch, he slid deeper into the chair and rolled the empty cup on his leg. "I did horrible things to her... yet here we are."
<Jessica> "That wasn't you..." she sighed, "It's not like me giving my dad the wrong directions and getting us hit by a truck..."
<Shinobi> "That was an accident. When I started working for En Sabah Nur, I knew there were risks, but I was promised things..."
<Jessica> "You made a mistake... and that's all in the past now.... and apparently it wasn't you either if you ask the government."
<Shinobi> "Yeah," he snorted. "We all know that's bullshit, but I appreciate it. Apparently there's gonna be a press conference, and he'll confer the pardon... then they're making an announcement to distract the press."
<Jessica> She raised an eyebrow, "It'd have to be something pretty big to distract them from that..."
<Shinobi> "He's outlawing Osborn's Sentinels, so yeah... I think that'll do it."
<Jessica> "He is? Holy shit. This is a good week!" She laughed, then remembered Miriam was sleeping and quickly stifled it.
<Shinobi> He laughed at her reaction. "Yeah, I know! Like you said, things were too good, so something had to go wrong."
<Jessica> "At least it was only a minor thing? And it's all fixed now!" she paused when Miriam stirred, "... it is fixed, right?"
<Shinobi> "Keep your fingers crossed. I'll know when Hope wakes up, probably." He felt tired now, and wondered if he could still join her for her nap. "Thanks, Jess..."
<Jessica> "You're welcome... what am I being thanked for?"
<Shinobi> "For listening. For just being there... thank you." He put the glass aside and sat up. "Could you tell Sebastian for me? It'll be all over the news by noon tomorrow..."
<Jessica> "Yeah, I'll tell him... and you don't have to thank me for that. You're family, I'll always try to help."
<Shinobi> Obi smiled into the receiver. "Me too, okay? Night, Jess."
<Jessica> "Night, Michael. Hope everything goes well tomorrow," she sat up properly in her seat, "See you when you get home."
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