1963-08-14 - Just A Flesh Wound
Summary: The day after the rescue attempt, Keith is recovering at the medbay.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
jean vorpal kitty cannonball piotr 

They say that no good deed goes unpunished. This is something to which Keith can attest- you get bullet holes and a ruined pair of pants for your troubles. Admittedly, the medbay was a much better place to convalesce than the campground he had planned to slink off to after the mission was done.

In retrospect, that part of his plan seemed completely ridiculous. How would he have taken care of the bullet? In a brief moment of insanity he considered that, maybe, he could take the bullet out himself and tend to the wound, as he had seen people do it on TV all the time.

Yyyeah, right.

It was a stroke of luck that they decided to bring him 'here,' though he wasn't entirely certain where 'here' was, mostly because he hadn't been completely conscious on the way back after opening a second Rabbit Hole to Westchester, once all of the files and things had been ransacked at the hospital. Normally it would have been No Big Thing, but the bullet wound, the anti-… whatever field that had caused his magic to go on the fritz for a bit, and the Professor digging into his psyche to share the crazy all around had taken a toll on him.

Keeping his eyes closed, he yawns, still groggy through and through. He can also feel that his wound has been patched. And that there's a patch of fur gone from his right leg. He groans.

"They must'va had to shave it. Goddamnit I'm gonna look like I've got mange," he mutters, his mouth feeling like it's stuffed full of cotton.

Now he opens his eyes.


When Keith opens his eyes, he is greeted by what is perhaps an unexpected sight: Piotr, still wearing the red-and-yellow uniform that he had worn to New Orleans the night before. He's sitting in a chair between Keith's bed and another, with one of the pilfered files open in his lap.

Now that Keith is awake, however, the Russian's attention has shifted to him, instead.

"You are awake," Piotr says lightly, stating the obvious. He shifts to stand, turning to set the file in his chair. "I will get you water. One moment."


It takes days to rouse Jean from the library or her quarters. As well as the gym. Social interactions have become a practice that she must hone and the best way to do it is to visit people for no other reason than to have a conversation. She had heard that the blackbird was taken out at night. She also has heard that it was returned. She also heard that there were two people who were hurt down in the medbay.

However, if you ask her how she has learned of this news, she would feign innocence and claim the Cinderella aspect that the birds had told her the word.

Glasses were perched high upon the bridge of her nose as she walks. A small book within her hand though laced behind her back, her eyes nearly glazed and focused as she reaches the door. There was an anomoly behind her. Two trays that floats at her eye level behind her back, soup laden with chicken and noodles, straight from the can or bag (where era is appropriate). Dashed with pepper, salt and crackers on the side to make the mouths of the injured happy. Bowls and spoons piled high so that if she felt like it, she could partake in the eating and talking.

The second tray? Orange juice. The daily dose of sugar/vitamin C that's required for healthy living came equipped with another pitcher filled with ice. Though the juice itself was room temperature for taste, some liked it cold. Right?

A quick knock upon the door, and a push open has her wordlessly entering. Concentrating. For the trays break the lines and draw themselves upon either side of them to look for a stand to settle on so she could serve the food and drink should they want it. "Breakfast bell!" She merrily sings out.


The second of the cats that incurred injury hadn't really taken to rest the way she's 'supposed' to. Which is why Kitty was sedated following their adventure. Unlike Keith, she'd only been grazed by a bullet — a flesh wound, she'd argued — and had insisted she needed to get to work rather than spend even a night in this space. After a rather longer-than-it-needed to be argument, she'd caved, and consented to remaining in the Med Bay for one night, promising no more after that.

Blearily, Kitty's eyes squint at the light overhead, only to open wide moments later. While waking up somewhere foreign often results in that where am I feeling for many, for Kitty, the feeling prompts a reaction rather than true cognizant thought.

In less than a second, Kitty sinks through the bed and the floor… begging the question, what on earth is under the Med Bay?


"Piotr… have you had any sleep at all, my god, man?" the cat says, arching an eyebrow. He gingerly pushes himself to a sitting position. He frowns, looking around as he seems to be the only occupant as Kitty seems to have sunk through the table before he got to see it. "How long have I been out?"

He turns his head as Jean comes in, and the Cheshire cat stares for a second. Floating trays? Well, that's not that unusual, but still… "Er… hello. I'm Keith…" he says sheepishly. "I don't believe we've met…"

He was a little self-conscious. Wounded cats often are. "… where's Kitty?" because he remembers she was also shot.

As Piotr crosses the medbay to fetch a glass of water for Keith, a brief flash of guilt crosses his face. "I… I napped." Surely that counts as having slept.

When Jean arrives, he offers her a broad smile. "Jean. Good morning. That is very kind of you," he notes, nodding to the tray as he steps back over to offer the glass of water to Keith. Orange juice with a dry mouth would probably be… not so pleasant. So. Water.

Then Keith asks his question and, confused, Piotr looks towards the other bed. The empty one. He blinks once, but even with only a nap under his belt, this much math is something he can do. "…hospitals. Of course."


There's probably dead bodies under there. There's an ongoing rumor from the kids last Halloween that the mansion was built on an Indian Burial Ground. Cue the poltergeists and the women who could sink through floors and carry trays with a thought.

Those trays land upon the table as Jean quietly begins to assemble the food. Scooping spoonfuls here, depositing a decent amount of crackers. Juice left for those who ask for it (surely she'd drink it herself), and turn!

Both bowls carried by hand with their spoons deposited into the liquid, she turns and faces Keith, then offers up a smile. "No, we haven't. I'm Jean. And I brought you soup." Good going, Jean! Pat on the back! Jolly good, Sir! The food was soon placed by his bedside with the spoon turned in his direction, a brief nod and a smile given towards Piotr as her focus seemed off. She was mentally searching for Kitty.

"Ms. Pryde." She calls out, rather politely. "I do not believe that we have met, which I consider at this point of time, a good thing. Then you would have heard of my cooking." She smiles, her eyes scanning the room. "But I assure you, the soup was only heated from the can. Yet it would do me the honor of you testing the pepper and salt content of this supposedly delicious soup. It has bits of chicken in it. And noodles. And vegetables."


Underneath the med bay is… well, a lot of dirt, which doesn't exactly instil confidence as to where Kitty is. The small voice calling her, however, does get some regard. Curly spirals of brown hair come up through the floor slowly, and then a pair of hazel, questioning eyes.

Those hazel eyes scan the room carefully before anymore of the woman materializes, rising through the tile like a holographic image.

Her hazel eyes blink wearily as she becomes fully tangible, and she manages a very small sheepish smile with fingers lifting in a vague wave. "Hi…" Her cheeks flush a pale crimson and her neck cranes to spy the food. "I heard a rumour that tire's soup…"

And then, tacked on as an afterthought, her attention drifts to Jean, "Hi. I'm Katherine." Pause. "Kitty. I'm Kitty. Miss Pryde is my mom. Wait, no, that's not — she's," her eyes turn upwards, "Missus Pryde I guess I — " her face turns a brighter red, babbling comes all too easily.


"Well… thank you very much," Keith says, realizing that his stomach is growling. He smiles at Piotr and gladly takes the water for a sip before the orange juice. He's still groggy, which means he was probably given some painkillers. It makes sense. "It's nice to meet you, Miss Jean." The cat looks at the woman for a few seconds, focusing his eyes. Okay, he was becoming more awake now. Good. "I see Kitty has decided to be underfoot for a while…" he says, looking down as Kitty finally emerges.

If chastised for his bad humor, he can always blame the sedatives, right? "Piotr, you need sleep. What on earth is keeping you upright after last night?"

Keith's question gets a very honest answer from Piotr: "Worry," he says, spreading his hands. No need for caffeine to keep him awake; he has two friends wounded in the medbay and a stack of very disturbing reading material at hand. That is a far more effective means of staying awake than coffee could hope to be.

He can't hide the relief on his face when Kitty drifts back up through the floor, an odd smile coming to his face as she starts to babble. Clearly deciding that this means she's okay (or, at least, okay enough), Piotr moves to reclaim his chair, scooping the file back into his hands in the process.


Jean takes a step back as she watches the first hints of Kitty emerge; her head tilting to the side just enough for her glasses to faintly shift, and back up again as she holds the bowl of soup like an eager student for her chef.

"Hello!" She greets Kitty with a smile, holding all laughter back, since it does seem to ease the situation just a little. "Chicken noodle soup." She adds. "With real bits of chicken in it. And crackers." Her nose wrinkle as she continues that smile, holding up the bowl with its soup and spoon, her head bobbing back and forth as she introduces herself.

"Kitty. It's okay!" She takes a step forward, holding the bowl out for her to take. "I will call you Kitty. I think you much prefer it that way and I find it adorable."

With a glance back towards Keith and Piotr, Jean frowns. It was enough that these two were hurt, but Piotr not sleeping was something else. "It's a pleasure, Mr. Keith." She finally says, and once Kitty has her hands upon the soup she'd go and try to give a right, good knock of a punch on the arm to Piotr.

"You're going to bed when we leave here." And she was going to follow him and make sure! But.. there was an after thought given, looking over his shoulder to the files. "So.. what.. exactly happened last night?"


"We broke into a hospital, kidnapped people and got shot at," Keith says, his nose twitching at the chicken soup. "Hmm, that smells good…"

He pauses, realizing that he must have gotten the order of things muddled. Or the nature of them. "We didn't kidnap people, we UN-kidnapped them. That's what we did. The word. Rescue. Yes. We rescued people. And got shot at. But not by those people. The other people."

Keith's internal psychic cacophony has started to pick up now as he tries to bring himself into full focus. It's hard to do when drugged, because there's figuratively speaking three of 'him' that need to be brought up to speed.

"I don't really remember much of the way back-" probably because he lost consciousness after the last Rabbit Hole. In his mind, that never happened. He bravely fought the pain and made his way back to the… wait. He made his way to the…

He looks around for a second and frowns. Alright, they had brought them 'here', but he still didn't quite know where 'here' was. He wasn't lost. He knew exactly where he was.

He just didn't know where everything else was in relation to 'here'.

"Do I know where I am?" he asks Kitty. He wasn't sure he was supposed to know, considering how secretive Kitty had been about 'her friends.'


"It was a reaction," Kitty counters to Keith's joke with a lopsided grin. "Not by choice, exactly." Her nose wrinkles and she tilts her head to the side noting with a stitch of a frown, "It's not nice under there. I don't think anyone should visit the world beneath the Med Bay."

The offered bowl of soup prompts Kitty to actually move from her stationary spot, and slip further into the room. Her hands cradle the bowl carefully and she peeks at the broth-y soup with palpable delight. "Thank you~" she virtually sings towards the soup.

Once holding both bowl and spoon, she slips onto a chair in the room, nearly shuddering at the bed before settling into the seat. A spoonful of the warm liquid is shovelled into her mouth, swallowed, and appreciated with a quiet, "Mmmmm." But as she enjoys that single spoonful, Jean asks what happened.

Her skin pales and her eyes drift back to her soup. "We…" her eyebrows draw together. "Saved some people from a government facility doing some kind of…" she shrugs "..experimentation…" she's remembered more over the last few days "…on people." It's then that something on Piotr's lap catches her gaze.

If Kitty were a cat, someone might swear she'd just seen something shiny as she openly stares at the file resting atop Piotr's lap. Her eyebrows lift, her body shifts, and she sets the bowl with the spoon on the counter beside her. "So… " her lips purse as she tries to sound casual, "what's the damage?" she finally asks him.

Piotr blinks up at Jean when she approaches him, and whether it's out of surprise, a need for sleep, or good old-fashioned faith in his status as a tank, her punch lands. Whether it actually hurt or not, he gives her a duly chastened look, looking for all the world like a puppy that has been caught shredding a slipper. "I will try," he sighs, nodding once.

He looks to Keith, eyes flicking briefly to Jean as he considers. The Professor had trusted Keith enough to go on the mission, and then to bring him home to be treated. "Westchester," the Russian finally replies. "You are safe."

If Piotr seemed hesitant about replying to Keith, he looks downright uncertain when he turns to Kitty, hands unconsciously gripping the file a little more tightly. Then, without a word, he simply reaches out to offer the folder to her.


Now the focus would shift, it would seem like a bad thing if Keith knew that she was a telepath, but she knew those patterns of speech without even attempting to search through his mind. There was obvious concern there, she wouldn't try to push nor willingly pry into his mind, but there was patience there. And calm.

With hands free now she approaches the other side of Keith's bed, her hand reaching out to lightly try to rest atop of his head. It may seem like a silly gesture, but the woman had nails. Claws. Nails that seemingly curl to dig right into his scalp to scratch his head if he was okay with it. If not, she'd withdraw. No words, no comments. Just an attempt at a kind gesture.

That and Jean had no clue what else to do! Cue awkwardness!

Wordlessly, she watches Piotr and Kitty. And wordlessly, there would be a little mental nudge. A hint. A sort of asking to pry to see into their minds the events of last night. Sort of like a too long; didn't read allowance. "May I?"


Keith's question earns an easy smile from Kitty, a brief reprieve from her obsession about the files they managed to retrieve. "He's right," she agrees with Piotr. "You're safe here. I promise. You did good yesterday." Her lips quirk into an ironic smile, "I'm not entirely certain that you're glad you met me as I've brought you nothing but trouble so far, buuuuut I'm glad I met you. Thank you. For getting us all out of there in one piece."

Tracks are easily shifted when the file is offered to her, but Piotr's obvious hesitation to answer her question about the file causes Kitty's expression to turn downcast momentarily. But just as easily as the gloominess set over her, it dissipates as she quite consciously steels herself moments later. Her usually bubbly demeanour turns to something akin to when Keith picked her up — a woman on a mission, and little more. Her eyes narrow slightly, and she strides to Piotr, accepting the manila file before treading back to her chosen seat.

A vague nod is given towards Jean, silent permission granted as Kitty runs her hands over the manila folder. Butterflies grow in her stomach as her ambivalence about the contents draws across her mind. Even before Jean access Kitty-thoughts, she can tell that this has great weight for Sprite.

She swallows hard as she opens the folder, and glances at the information on the first page. Slender fingers slide across the typeface while hazel eyes make swift work for anything particularly of note. "They all had abilities," she whispers. And then there it is, a single name on the roster that causes goosebumps to form along her arms and legs: Katherine Anne Pryde (#153). She snaps the file shut without reading on.


Keith's ears droop slightly at the cageyness of it all, but he understands all of this is supposed to be secret. "It's not a bother, Kitty. A hospital bed is better than a roadside campsite any day," he says with a smirk. He acts surprised when Jean touches him, though, his ears perking up.

He shudders for a moment and blinks. "This is strange," he comments, "… not unpleasant, though." He blinks again. He's been human all of his life, with the last few months excepted, and during that time nobody's really touched him. "… must be a cat thing…" he says, finding himself unconsciously leaning against Jean's hand for a few seconds as he finds himself soothed through some sort of strange touch withcraft.

"… so the government is doing this?" he asks hazily, still distracted by the touch.

As Kitty retreats to her seat, Piotr looks uneasy. Still, Jean will be able to tell that he is not regretting his decision to hand the file over. It was the right thing to do. The redhead's request for permission is met with a small smile and a nod. No objection from him.

"I do not know," Piotr tells Keith, the smile fading into a thin, pensive frown. He gestures towards the stack of folders and settles back into his chair, keeping half an eye on Kitty across the way as she reads. "Whoever it is, they are organized. And large enough to be taking people from many states."

He tenses almost imperceptibly when Kitty snaps the file shut. Piotr looks her way, hesitating a moment. "I have not read it," is all he says, voice quiet.


Permission and access granted.

Jean filtered through Kitty's thoughts first and foremost; mainly because she had rest (which someone was lacking) and she was the first to agree. The mission plays before her eyes like a large picture screen, coupled with the added emotion and eerie feels. Thankfully now, Jean is somewhat capable of not transferring it to the real, and practically snatching hair out of Keith's head. Though her mind divided, she does remain careful. A little smile forced through as she gives Keith a little nudge.

"It's not a cat thing. Have you ever had your hair shampooed? I remember my mom used to scratch my scalp while the warm water ran. It was the most soothing thing ever.."

And she doesn't stop. The pressure eases from Kitty and soon shifts towards Piotr. They were her little cheat sheets. And while she only has their version of events, she was suddenly glad she was not apart of it. And also sad. She possibly could have prevented them from being hurt.

"Can we find one of them?"


Kitty pinches the bridge of her nose and leans back in the chair, she can feel a headache coming on, not unlike the ones she used to get when she'd just stated phasing. With a heavy sigh, she leans forward again, eyeing the file in her grasp. Her fingers slide across it once more, and she nods silently at Piotr's words. "I…" her eyebrows draw together sharply and she lifts her chin to watch him "I think I have to. Never thought I would be reduced to nothing more than a number." Her jaw tightens and her arms cross over her body, hugging herself tightly.

She sucks on the inside of her cheek and shifts silently in her chair at Jean's question. "You mean… perpetrators or," she sours around the next word, "victims?" Her throat clears. "If you mean the latter," her speech slows, "I was one of them. That's how we figured out where this one was."


"Not really," Keith answers Jean honestly, "I shampoo my own hair." He's not familiar with a lot of physical contact, if he were to be honest. His father had been as warm and as affectionate as a glacier.

He watches Kitty thoughtfully, thinking about the things that happened last night. Part of him urged to get up and walk away from this whole crazy mess, but part of him couldn't do that know that he sort of knew these people. Besides, what was stopping whomever was doing this from snatching him up, too? It didn't matter that he was magical and not a mutant, their technology affected his powers just the same and left him as defenseless as a kitten. This wasn't a problem he could walk away from and live with himself for it.

"You're going to need help. Getting to places. Rescuing people. That sort of thing. Until we get to the bottom of this." Yeah, there he went and used 'we' in there, he was deep in it now. "If you don't mind relying on Gimpy the Wonder Cat."

Piotr simply nods to Kitty in understanding. He hadn't read her file because it would feel too intrusive, like a violation; for her, it meant knowing what happened to her. Worlds apart.

"It is as Katya says," Piotr tells Jean, clasping his hands in his lap and looking up at the redhead. "I am wondering if perhaps they have second base of operations closer to New York. It would be very long drive from Central Park to New Orleans, and that girl with the claws, she is still out there."

His attention drops to Keith and Piotr finds himself smiling and reaching over to pat him lightly on the arm. "You did very well last night. If you are certain, I would welcome your help."


At least Jean knew where Kitty was coming from. She wasn't so much as a number but it was close enough. Very close. Too close. "All of them." Jean suddenly says. Vigor renewed. She finally stops scratching Vorpal's head enough to give him a sad frown. "But.. first, I'll wash your hair when you're ready to leave. Everyone should have their hair washed by someone else." She was a weird one, that. But without saying, she was there with them, the sentiment there with a firm nod of her head in agreement.

"What girl with the claws?" Perhaps that was a question for another day.. maybe.. too much information makes Jean a very batty girl.


Kitty's eyes flit to Keith and he earns a grin. She nods at Piotr's observations. "Honestly, it would've been really challenging getting there without you, Keith. And getting home?" she cringes. "With all those people it would've been impossible." Her smile warms, "We need to get to the bottom of this."

A glance is given back to her now abandoned soup; Kitty has lost her appetite, but her mind works as she nods at Piotr, "I think they have to. There's too much coincidence there for the situations not to be connected." She turns her head to face Jean, "A few nights ago there were some white vans in Central Park transporting people like we saw in the facility yesterday. There was a woman with claws that attacked us when we tried to rescue the people in the vans." Her lips turn downwards.

And then, fighting her more sullen self, she shakes her head. "But we did good yesterday. We did. We helped those people and they're going to be okay. I'm sure they will." She turns back to Jean, "And I think you can access any of us. Anyone freed from the facility is kicking around until they're back on their feet."


"Alright, then," Keith says, and smiles at the pat, the inside of his ears coloring slighty. "Then you can count on me. That means I need to set up shop somewhere in Westchester."

He pauses, as if considering things while the others speak. "I can't keep impersonating my father at Tarrytown House any longer or else people are going to get suspicious, though."

He looks from Jean to Kitty to Piotr, "You're going to have to point me to one of the nearby campgrounds." he figured one of them could be the outdoorsy type. Jean was ruled right out, and Kitty… maybe. There was a higher chance that the big guy knew, though. "At least until I find a job that pays enough to afford somewhere to rent." He had had that okay job with as a security guard, but he couldn't ask them for references after basically breaking that gorgeous antique mirror in the middle of a break-in.

He didn't think his employers would have been less inclined to fire him if he had told them that he had basically broken the mirror with his body and died during the process. Especially since he didn't really have a good reason to explain how you could 'get better' after dying.

"And maybe find a good place to stash Brunhilda for a while," he adds.


"What kind of claws?" Jean asks, finally moving away from Keith's side to approach the tray with the OJ. A cup was taken as well as ice, the glass soon poured so that she could partake of her own if no one else would. Guilty hint hints people!

"We should try to find her. Or at least follow her to see where those vans turn up. Maybe it would lead to more people that would need to be rescued." Every once in a while, Jean does have a decent idea. Even if this particular one would get them killed. With a turn she leans against the table top, nodding towards Kitty. "Right now? You mean.. everyone in here?" Her arm drops, considering. "Probably. I know if I try it the way Professor Xavier does it, I.. probably could!" Ding ding! Kitty gets points! "Though I think I should ask for permission first."

With a clearing of her throat, she does consider Keith for a moment. "Why not work at the diner? Or perhaps one of those fancy restaurants uptown? Maybe.. you should be introduced to Mr. Worthington." Though if Jean ever goes outside.. "Who is Brunhilda?" And then she sips her orange juice. "I think though, at least until then we could possibly set you up in one of the guest rooms? There are plenty here, Keith. I'm sure if you speak to the Professors about your living spaces, they would understand and lend space until you're up and on your feet."


Kitty's head cants to the side inquisitively at Keith's question, but it's the last that really merits a question of her own. "… Brunhild?" And as far as campgrounds are concerned, she agrees with Jean, "We'll have to talk to the Professor, but it might be good to talk to him about things." And then, as an added thought she notes, "And I really don't know about campgrounds."

Her hands clasp lightly in front of her as she nods at Jean, "For now, but I suspect most won't want to stay long. It's hard to piece life together after," her shoulders shrug, and she turns vague, "that."

She offers back towards Jean, "You're welcome to look," she taps her temple, "at some point. But, the Professor already tried. I don't know that it gave much of anything." She squints as she tries to remember details about the woman with claws. "They were metal. She was strong and reacted quickly. I phased into a van and quickly got thrown from it. And she healed fast."

Her eyes flit to the OJ and poured glass, earning a small sigh.

Kitty glances back at the bowl of soup, and she carefully picks it up. She forces down a spoonful. Look, Jean! Kitty appreciates you! Her stomach churns as she swallows.


Keith reaches out as a small, hand-sized Rabbit Hole appears, its sister appearing right by the juice. He gets himself a glass of OJ using the glass he had used to drink water.

"Brunhilda. It's my motorcycle." He pauses, "I didn't come up with the name," he says, as a manner of disclaimer.

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," he says a propos of the guest rooms. "You've got this whole secrecy thing going on, remember?" He pauses. "… I mean, outside of the fact that I could Rabbit Hole into this room any time I wanted to, now that I've seen it…" he trails off after taking a sip out of the Orange Juice. "… I probably shouldn't have said that. I'm not going to come in here uninvited. But what I mean to say is that you've clearly got secrets you want to protect. I get it. And I'm not even a mutant, so you don't really have to tell me more than I need to know about this whole mess."

He stretches his legs a little- or at least the leg he can stretch without hurting. "The biggest issue was getting patched up. A day or so taking a rest and I can go back to being on the road again- I've been living on the streets for month now, it's no big deal."

Admittedly, the inner lining of his leather jacket still had some cash that he'd taken on a second incursion into his father's house, shortly after he was kicked out. That inner lining was now very thin, and there was no denying that he needed to find an alternative soon. Or become a highway robber.

"A diner, you say?" he asks Jean. "I wonder how particular the patrons are about purple fur in their food…" he strokes his chin. It could be a possibility. He could disguise his appearance with illusion, but the shedding… well. He'd cross that bridge when he got to it.

"I am going into town later, asking for job at Harry's," Piotr notes in a thoughtful rumble, watching Keith's use of the Rabbit Hole with more than a little curiosity. He's been dealing with teleportation a lot lately, but being able to see it work like that is terribly interesting to him. "Washing dishes, probably. If you can walk, we could go together."

The Russian inclines his head towards Kitty. "I did not see her," he tells Jean, his tone almost apologetic. "But Akihiro… did." From his tone, it's pretty obvious that Akihiro did more than just see this girl with the claws, and that Piotr feels a little sick about it. Enough that he is, sadly, still not partaking of the juice. He's a bad man.


Brunhilda. A bike. Right! That question was answered and Jean goes about sipping her orange juice. Which was suddenly choked on as the portal appeared near by, and a hand reaches through to grab a glass itself. Quick sputtering aside, she shakes her head and tries to focus.. though Kitty's description of the young woman had her positively spitting out the orange juice upon the floor in shock.

"Sweet Thomas Jefferson! Are you frickin kidding me?!"


"Another one?!"


She could practically and instinctually tell that her outburst was going to raise some questions.. so she goes ahead to explain. "Logan Howlett. Have you two met him yet? He lives here, in a sense. Out in back, attempting to build a cabin in the woods. He also has a son here, Akihiro Howlett. Both of them have claws. And -they- can heal /super/ fast. I've.. admittedly seen chunks of flesh bitten out of Logan and he heals it right up as if nothing happened.." She turns, placing her glass down upon the table to grab a few napkins to begin her cleaning..

And fur? Jean shrugs her shoulders! "Just do dishes, like Piotr said."


The soup is returned to the counter and Kitty actually beams at the name of the bike, "Your bike has a name?! That is fantastic!" Her eyes turn up towards the ceiling, "More things should have proper names. Why did someone land on Brunhilda? Doesn't seem like a name most would think of off the back. Brunhilda," she rolls it over her tongue. "Bruuunhillllda." Her lips twist to the side, "Dishwashing does seem smart. Or… you like being outside? There's lots of outdoors in Westchester. Maybe something in a garden?"

Jean's reaction earns a large toothy grin and her gaze turns about the room, "Man, I missed this place!" She chuckles lightly, but the smile and attitude subdue at Piotr's retreat into him self. "Yeah. Akihiro had a lot to say about her. I would suggest having a longer chat with him."

The file folder on her lap is put on the counter beside her. She slides off her chair and treads over to Piotr. Slowly, she reaches out a hand to give his shoulder a squeeze. "Akihiro was okay." And then, knowing Piotr just a little too well, she adds, "Keith will be fine." A glance is cast towards her arm, "And that's just a flesh wound." Her eyebrows lift expectantly.


Keith looks at Jean for a few seconds. The whole 'building a cabin in the woods' and the regeneration and… "So you basically have a family of sharp-clawed immortal lumberjacks in the area or something? What -DO- they put in the water in Westchester?" he smirks a little, and then looks at Kitty trying to comfort Piotr.

"Aah, so he's a brooder. He broods. He worries and broods, does he now?" Keith gets a mischievous look on his face as Kitty attempts to soothe Piotr. "Stop the brooding and the glooming, Piotr. See how Kitty fusses over you? Next thing you now she's going to sit on your lap and make sad eyes at you. And if you keep doing that, I'll join her until you stop."

He looks down at his leg and seems to re-evaluate that propositioni, "Ok, I'll join her in spirit, and Jean can sit on your lap in my stead, right?"

Jean was a total stranger, but that had never stopped him from shameless humor before, so why should it stop him now? "We kind of sort of kicked ass yesterday. We're only bound to get better on the next try. Right?"

"I am not brooding," comes the (admitedly weak) protest from Piotr, his brow furrowing. "Concern is healthy. I do not like it when my friends get hurt," he grumbles, just a little defensively.

Even so, when Kitty comes over to reassure him, that defensiveness just kind of evaporates. Piotr sighs quietly, guilty as charged, and offers her a small smile, reaching up to cover her hand in gratitude for the reassurance. "I know. You will all be okay." A heartbeat, and then: "…still." Okay, the defensiveness over his tendency to worry isn't completely gone.


"I.. honestly think that's a talk that Logan and Akihiro should have. After I tell." What a dirty snitch! As she finishes cleaning, she looks up towards the three with a slight grin, their comraderie almost made her want to get out and do something right then and there. Maybe fashion Keith a pair of crutches so they could get right to work. Even her own arm was without a cast and everything turned out fine just at the end. So far.

Keith's joke actually makes her laugh, coupled with a struggle to get up, she finally makes it to her feet to deposit everything into the trash. And with that done, she finally takes a seat upon the foot of Keith's bed, cracking up in total laughter again. Yes. Yes she would get puppy/doe/sad kitten eyes towards Piotr.

"Still. It's good that you worry about us. Some people don't even have that. So thank you, Piotr. For everything." She'd reach over and pat him but he was a little too far, her words were just enough. "And its our time to worry about you. You need to eat. Drink something. And then rest up. We have training to do tomorrow. Plus I want to try rat-tuh-too-ee..? Is that how you say it? Ralla.. to.. ee? Anyways, I want to try to make that tonight. Just a small pan." She doesn't want to kill anyone.

"So pip pip, Piotr. We're going to get better. Promise."


There's an ironic twist of Kitty's lips following Keith's words. She shoots the purple cat-man a childlike lopsided smirk as Piotr's hand gets a sharp squeeze, but more telling than the smirk is the crimson that draws across her cheeks. For whatever reason, Kitty flushes at the notion. She chuckles, and then states matter-of-factly, "Pete is a mother hen. I think it's in his make-up to worry."

And then turning back to Piotr, she chides, "But it's not your job to take the brunt of everything. Seriously. The people who are here choose to do the things they do. We make our choices." She glances at Vorpal and then Jean, "All of us." And then, remembering how Jean had nudged her mind so gently earlier, "Even the people who choose to eat her ratatouille. Choice made." She shrugs. "Consequences accepted."


Keith has gotten the hint about Jean's cooking. He gives Piotr a look, "I am probably not good to move around today without being carried, I'm still…" he waves his hands in the air in a way that Dough Henning would have found inspirational "Fuzzy." Pause. "I'm always fuzzy. I meant to say 'hazy.' So you should probably go to the diner without me today and I can go tomorrow."

But then a little lightbulb goes *ping* over his head as he looks at Kitty.

"Buuut you could take Miss P. out to have some food later on when you go apply. She's fine, and I'm sure she would appreciate some more nourishing food before she has to face the Ratatouille." For a moment, his expression is very sly. Fox-level sly. "And I'm sure you'd appreciate the company, too."

He shoots Jean a quick look of complicity, and then he returns to his mostly-innocent expression. "Some fresh air without people shooting at her might do Kitty some good, after all."

Piotr cannot even think the correct pronunciation of 'ratatouille,' so thank goodness for Kitty. "What consequences?" he asks her with a light chuckle, shifting to rise to his feet. "I am fed, that seems like positive outcome." Oh, the poor man. He has no idea. "I will go try to sleep, and then I will eat," he tells Jean, holding up his hands — he isn't used to being the one getting fussed over. "Yes?"

He blinks owlishly at Keith's suggestion, his brow furrowing. There is something about the cat's expression and tone that has Piotr suspicious of his motives, but for the life of him, he can't put his finger on why. Probably the lack of sleep. "I suppose so," he says slowly, turning his gaze down to Kitty. "If you would like to."


Ooh.. ooh.. Jean sees what's going on here. Her green eyes were wide with a little sort of glee. Her shoulders even hunch just a little as her fingers tiptap against each other like a henchwoman who's getting a treat. But.. poor Jean. Jean has no tact. While Jean is very nice, Jean really, really has no tact. No tact at all. None.

What so ever.

Especially when she's downright giddy.

"A date! I can get money from Professor Xavier and give it to you. I even have a dress that'll fit you Katherine! And a very nice bottle of perfume that I pilfered from my mom so I could remember her by it.." Yep. Blew it all to hell.

"I don't have anything for you Piotr but you make sure you treat her like she deserves to be treated. You open the doors for her, make sure she's sitting first. You comment her appearance, and you tell her that she's very lovely."

Ruined it!

"And then.." Jean's eyes darken, just a tad. "…she will tell me all of the details." Kitty officially has no choice.


The suggestion from Vorpal causes Kitty's eyes to narrow into slits. Slyness begets suspicion, and very quickly she can feel her face become hot with beet red blush. Her eyes cast down to her feet and suddenly Kitty's shoes become the most interesting thing in the room. Unfortunately for Miss Pryde, the suggestion is only picked up further by a certain Miss Grey.

Jean's excitement causes Kitty's ears to turn red, so even facing down, it's evident that both Keith and Jean have struck the nail on the head.

There's no easy return to dignity when Kitty's chin lifts. The red of her cheeks isn't going away any time soon, and between the glimmer of mischief in her eyes and sheepish smile on her lips, she knows she's been made. Evidently her face lays bare things she tries not to say out loud. Her throat clears, "I…" her eyebrows draw together. She can feel babbling coming on in short order, but she fights it hard, meaning what she says comes out wrong at first, "I'd like to not get shot at the Diner." Her eyes blink. Did she just say that? "I mean," her throat clears, "I'd like to go to the Diner. With you, Petey. If you want. Company."

Her hazel eyes rest on Jean for a few beats, the extent of her thoughts laid bare across her face and after a few beats she acquiesces, "I… haven't worn a dress in a long while. That'd be nice."

After nearly two weeks as an invalid, the last place Sam Guthrie really wants to be is the medical center. Still, he did have some things to return: salves, rubbing alcohol, unused gauze, and a rolling saline drip rack that was really starting to creep him out, hovering behind his headboard. So it is that the gangly teenager wanders into the room, one arm wrapped around more little items than should reasonably be carried without a bag or basket, the other pushing the drip along ahead of him. He is heralded by one of the rack's wheels, which squeaks incessantly as it rolls.

He stops short, eyebrows rising, as he sees that the room is occupied. "Oh, hey there, y'all. Hope Ah'm not inte… huhhh… HHHHAAAAHHH—!" With three sharp gasps, the Kentuckian builds up enough air to power a titanic sneeze, sending everything he was carrying scattering across the room. His free hand goes over his nose and mouth, bright blue eyes wide and cheeks red. "Oh God, Ah must be gettin' sick…" he mutters as he rushes forward and down to his hands and knees, scrambling to pick up what he just dropped.

Keith leans back on the table, looking for all the world as if he was simply resting his back. The slight turn of his head is to hide the hints of the self-satisfied smirk. "You do that, Kitty, it'll be a nice dinner. And you can bring me back some bread rolls, too."

Jean's total lack of tact worked beautifully. He had no idea she could be such an effective weapon. It was like being hit in the face with a cannon ball made out of glitter…

He almost rolls off the bunk at that sneeze- his poor ears. "What in the world…" he sits up quickly, and winces when pain from his leg reminds him that, oh, yeah, bullet hole. The painkillers must be wearing off. "Ow. Ow ow."

Jean's excitement draws Piotr's attention over to her and the red slowly creeping into his cheeks might just rival the color in the would-be-matchmaker's hair. So at least Kitty has company. That's a good sign, isn't it? Rather than flustering, however, he draws in a steadying breath. Composure, Piotr. We will maintain our composure.

"I always enjoy your company, Katya," Piotr says, turning his gaze back to Kitty and studiously ignoring the fact that Keith and Jean are no doubt feeling terribly smug. "Whether it is date or not, we can work out without…" One eye squints slightly as he searches for the right colloquialism. "…peanut gallery." He smiles at her, giving her shoulder another quick touch as he turns to head for the door. Well. After he's cleared a path for poor Sam, who gets an almost automatic "Bless you," in a thick Russian accent as he passes by.


Oh man, this was like a dream. Even though Jean has Scarlett, there was always a longing to dress another woman who would be her friend. She could see it now; her and Kitty, squealing and tossing fabrics around. Endless nights complaining of how they look too fat in red and how black is essentially slimming. And.. of course, dishing on the dates they would have. And singing along to boy bands and..

..so Jean had a very, very limited up bringing.

"It's going to be great, Katya.." Jean teases.. watching the two slow blooming lovebirds in action, her hands clasped against her chest in a lovey-dovey sort of way until the sound behind her breaks it all up and down with a snap of her head and a reach out of her.. no. She wasn't going to mess with the stuff while he picks it up. As Piotr departs, Jean smiles towards Sam, folding her hands within her lap as she watches him. Keith's ow's were nearly ignored but she snaps out of it to try to look for some asprin. "Hang on Keith.."


Still red from her humiliation, and at being called out so easily, Kitty nods lightly at Keith before offering him a salute, "Right. Bread Rolls." She taps her temple lightly, "I'll remember that." The cat wins a warm grin followed by a faint shake of her head.

Her eyes widen slightly t Sam's entrance, which is followed up by a quick, "Bless you! My goodness! You should take it easy and get some rest."

With Piotr gone, she directs her attention back to the pair, "Thanks for that." She chuckles once, shakes her head and then nods back at Jean and then Keith. "You're thick as thieves, you know that, right?"

Her cheeks puff out and she treads to the door, "I need to go try to find my dignity again. I'll be back later." She turns on her heel to look at Jean, "And, if you're willing, I really borrow that dress." With another faint shake of her head, she steps out the door.

Sam stands up quickly, assorted bits of first aid equipment gathered haphazardly into both arms, this time. "Ah'm sorry, y'all. Don't know what got into me." His face breaks open into a broad, lopsided grin as he focuses on one occupant of the room in particular. "Hey there, Jean," he greets her, taking a deep breath and flushing slightly before he does.

Then he sneezes again.

Smooth, Guthrie. Back to the floor and back to picking up scattered bottles and boxes. "Aww, dangit, Ah can't be catchin' cold! It's the middle of August!" he whines. "What a way to make a first impression, too. Y'all're gonna think Ah'm cousins with Sneezy the Dwarf." This time, he elects to leave the stuff in a pile and sort of shove it along the floor toward a storage cabinet.


"She's going to thank us some day, you know?" Keith asks Jean with pure mischief in his eyes. "It's like he's Captain Oblivious or something. Still, what a guy- I wish I could get me one just like that…"

Keith rubs his leg and exhales, letting the pain just be "I'm alright, Jean. I was just surprised, that's all. Turns out muscles don't like it when they've got holes in them, or whatever, right?"

The feline watches the newcomer sneeze again and he breaks into a grin. "Well, it's certainly a memorable first impression. Who are you? The Human Air Gun? I'm Keith. Pleased to meetcha." He holds out a hand. Might as well, since he's sitting up on the bed and all.


"It's okay Sam!" Jean was still looking, rifling through the drawer next to Keith's bed but his reassurance stops her. Now it was time to focus. On something -other- than Sam. Nope. Too late. The tops of her ears were red! "Hiiiii…" She finally draws out, taking a step back to flop back into her previous seat, her shoes soon kicked off so that she could fold her legs indian style while she hangs with her new redhead pal. Blushing aside, thinking about Kitty and Piotr's date gave her a little sort of glee..

"Think if they get married, we'll be bridesmaids?" When did she peg Keith? Probably with his comment. And it didn't bother her one bit.

"But really, if you need anything, just say the word. I can probably numb your pain with a little bit of mind voodoo but there's a chance I might pop your blood vessel or snip a carotid artery.." Shut up, Jean!

And it's probably good that she does shut up! While Keith pokes fun at Sam, her gaze drops to fiddle with her fingers. Not shy but.. she wasn't going to go outright and take over introductions! Neither of them were shy.. well.. okay, Sam was.

Guthrie manages to get the stuff over to the cabinet and the cabinet open before he sneezes again. At least this time, he does so into the crook of his own bare arm. After a half-second to get his wits back, he starts shoveling items into the cabinet as quickly as he can. "Sam Guthrie," he says, as politely as he can when he's too busy racing a sneeze to make eye contact. "And Ah believe Ah'm gonna call myself Cannonball, in uniform. Pleased to meet you, Keith. Guess Ah don't need to ask what your power is." Finally, the gear is stowed and the cabinet is closed; Sam stands upright and turns to lean back against the door, taking a deep breath of relief. Bad idea: he sneezes again.

"Christ on the Mount," he mutters, pulling up the front of his sleeveless shirt and using it to cover the lower half of his face. Voice consequently muffled, he continues, "Ah swear this wasn't happenin' a second ago."


"It… wouldn't be a good idea for you to in there, Jean," Keith says, tapping the side of his head. "… The Professor… well, you probably know all about it already." The Professor had basically shared Keith's mind with the security guards. Those who didn't fall unconscious on the spot where incoherent for hours. Maybe days. He doesn't know.

"Actually, I wouldn't assume anything about me, Sam," Keith says with a bit of a smug grin. "I'm actually not a mutant, I'm…" he vanishes on the spot, right there and then.

Except, of course, for a floating grin that finishes: "… the Cheshire cat, you see."

He fades back into view a second later, frowning a little. He looks at Jean, and then back at Sam.

"You usually don't sneeze like this all the time, I take it?"


Sam's sneeze again gets a worried glance. "Have you been outside when you were sick, Sam?" Jean wasn't upset, even though she sounded as if she were accusing him. "I should have strapped you down to the bed, I swear.." A little scold here, and then she was turning towards Keith, her head immediately nodding. "What little bit I got from Kitty.." Her hand waffles just a touch. "..but I'll take your word for it. Some people are just naturally hard to read. Others have so much going on at times that I can't help it. But it's getting better." She does smile, reassuringly. "You do. A little bit. It's nagging at me, I want to listen but I'm ignoring the inner you."

And then he disappears, which has Jean standing and looking around, until that smile pops up and she rears back with a few steps and a bump of a chair that was left alone. Where one would swear, Jean keeps it internal. She didn't want to upset him and he's already hurt.

About Sam's sneezes again, she holds up a hand and moves to another drawer, then pulls out a face mask so that he doesn't spray. "Want this?"

After watching Keith's use of his powers, Sam raises his eyebrows, half of his face still tucked into the neck of his shirt, a little sliver of his stomach visible below. "You can turn invisible except for your mouth?" he asks, sounding puzzled (and, as mentioned, muffled). Bit literal-minded, this one.

Then he refocuses on Jean. He lets his shirt fall, scratching at a spot behind one ear as he answers her around that same lopsided grin, "Aww, shoot, Jean, a little sunshine ain't gonna hurt me," he says warmly. "Ah think it might've helped a little, even." His reception for the face mask is considerably more jaundiced; his eyebrows rise to a peak in the middle of his face, and he gently chides her, "Ah ain't a leper, Jean."

Then he sneezes again, barely getting his shirt back up in time. Wordlessly, he reaches out to accept the mask.


"I like this one," Keith says to Jean. He will be fun to prank. "Y'know, speaking of sunshine, I feel like I could do with an hour or two in the sun." He looks at the redhead, "That is, if you give me permission to hop over to a place I know and back here again? I don't know what the protocol is. But I'm very partial to sunlight…"

He looks at Sam with a puzzled expression, "You know, if you are getting sick, that's the fastest-acting bug I've ever seen. You went from zero to sixty in a second there."

Maybe mutants had mutant bugs that attacked them? He didn't know. Could be a thing.


HAAAAA.. man gut. Jean was -trying- not to look but she couldn't help it. She was just really checking for scars. Honestly.

But she does shake her head, "That's the best time for you to catch a cold though. I've read that once your immunity is down and you're exposed to the outside world, you could get the flu. Or consumption." She was reading some really, really old books. "People die from that, Sam." And then she frowns. She continues to hold that mask up until he sneezes again, lifting it a little higher in an 'I-told-you-so' fasion until he takes. Then, she felt a little bit better. Now it was time to find some cold medicine. Anything.

Though, with Keith's need to go outside, her attention was diverted. The bottle of asprin soon snatched from the drawer that she was in, and a look all around the room for a container for him to keep water in as well. There weren't any canteens abound, so.. "Here." She says to Keith, approaching him with the medicine.

"Take two of these if you're starting to feel a little bit of pain. If it starts to itch, don't scratch it. It's just your body trying to heal itself. And don't strain yourself. Keep your leg elevated because we have patio chairs out back. And uh.." She tries to think of something else. But she couldn't. Sam definitely was sick. "Send a nurse in on your way out?"

Jean is saved from temptation as Sam lets his shirt fall and straps the mask over his mouth. Now he looks just like a surgeon! Except for the sleeveless Xavier's tee and the blue jeans and the worn Chuck Taylors and, of course, being a lanky teenager with a perpetual mein of sheepish anxiety. "Ah know what the flu feels like, and Ah ain't got it," he assures her patiently, mask bobbing. "Ain't even heard of that other one. It's just a sneeze, okay?" He reaches out toward her shoulder to give it a gentle rub. With a twinkle in his eye, he adds, "It's real sweet of you to worry, though."

Turning to Keith, he adds, "Y'know, there's lots of places to relax just outside. You could go to the lake or kick back on the porch. Ain't gotta make a whole trip."


Keith takes the bottle from Jean and nod, "Will do, Nurse." The cat gives the bottle a shake, like a maraca, and grins as he slides off the bed, keeping the weight off his leg.

He sighs, though, at the ridiculous look he is sporting: the right leg of his jeans was torn in order to get at the wound, so that it looks like he is wearing regular jeans on his left side, and cut-offs on his right. "This is just a fricking mess…"

And then something unusual happens. He *tugs* at the frayed ends of the right jean leg and the material drops, flowing down his leg until both jean legs are even. "Much better. I won't be getting any strange looks this way."

It was just his power of illusion… but why tell anyone? It was much more fun to see people's reactions that way. "The lake sounds like a fantastic idea, actually. And I know where that is, sooo…"

He snaps his fingers and a Keith-sized Rabbit Hole appears, with the lake shore and the lake clearly visible. "I'll be back in an hour. Two if I fall asleep, but I won't be long." He grins and waves at Sam, "Nice to meet you, Sneezy. I hope you get better soon." And he hops across the portal, which closes after him noiselessly.

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