1963-08-27 - Nobody Knows the Trouble
Summary: Jean and David meet in lockup.
Related: Missing Pieces Plot line.
Theme Song: None
laura jean maverick 

Things were changing and David didn't like it.

He hadn't particularly enjoyed having the pristine white prison completely to himself — the solitude had begun to grate on him — but there was something in the air now that was making him uneasy. Not anything tangible or real, just a sense gnawing at the back of his mind.

He wasn't going to be alone in here much longer.

Arms crossed tightly over his chest, David paces in his cell, his eyes fixed on the floor where the bars meet the floor. There has to be a weak spot. There's always a weak spot.


*~A hawk flies overhead of the cabin; the soft creak of sturdy wood along with the sound of chains that connect the bench to the overhang creates a calming, peaceful cadence. A woman sit upon that bench now, one arm along the back slats of the swing, leg tucked underneath as the other bare foot pushes against the wooden boards to create that calming swing. Behind her, the window is open, the curtains blow outward instead of in, an odd look if someone were to take notice. But they wouldn't.

'You can't stay here.' The woman within the cabin says, and soon she was seen, a brilliant white, the form and shape of her the same as Jean but only not. Maybe a little bit taller. Maybe a little bit more straight backed.
"I know. But just for a little while."
'Then open the door.'
'WAKE UP!' ~*

Jean bolts upright with a start, the drowsiness looming over her as she tries to fix her eyes to the brightness of the room. Her head was pounding per usual, her mouth dry in need of water, a minor delirium hanging over her with the need to scream even though there would be no use. But thankfully she wasn't alone, but she still sits upon the bed, dull green eyes staring across the wall to determine if he was a figment, or if all of this was a nightmare that she need be woken up from.

"Sir?" She calls out, voice scratchy. "Are you real?"


The sudden movement gets David to immediately stop and whip his head towards it, his eyes wide in genuine surprise. When on Earth…? A hand drifts up to his forehead and his brow furrows, his mouth working silently for a moment.

"I… yes. Yes, I'm real," David replies, immediately forgetting his self-imposed task and moving towards the bars closest to the young woman's adjoining cell. There is an expression of slowly dawning horror on his face. "…a protest. Right?"


It was a slow movement, Jean getting out of bed, hands curled into a fist to plant into the mattress to push herself forward with a kick of her legs and a push of her hips. She was moving carefully, a little jostle here and there causes her head to pang but she still stands upright. "Oh.. good.." She murmurs quietly, approaching the bars, her hands carefully thumping them at first to make sure that she doesn't catch a shock.

"Yes…" She says quietly, finally leaning upon the bars with her entire self, even so much as pushing her face in between for a little bit of comfort. And the cold helped. "And twins."


David's brow furrows slightly. "Twins," he echoes, casting a look to the cell next to his. "I haven't… I don't remember any twins." Very slowly, his jaw clenches and his nose wrinkles in distaste, his grip on the bars tightening.

He squeezes his eyes closed and forces himself to take a slow, calming breath. When he opens his eyes again, he offers Jean a very tired smile. "I'm sorry. My name is David," he says gently, stepping back from the bars. "What is yours?"


"No? Oh…" Well, this was right awkward.

There was a slight hitch to her stance, her body slumping fully against the bars, her eyes darting left and right, then all around her as she slowly moves away. Even as he introduces himself, she turns just a little, an erie calm settling over her as she returns to her bed with a slight flop. Do not.. freak out.. Was going to be her mantra for the day. Though maybe she should freak out.. perhaps they could get out of there sooner than now. "David? Oh! I'm Jean. Just.. Jean." She smiles, then it falls again, her expression grave. "Why are we here?"


"Jean." David's manners are such that he very nearly adds an entirely routine 'nice to meet you,' but he stops himself. It would feel a little too absurd.

When she moves away, David takes another small step back to sit down on the edge of his own bunk. He studies her thoughtfully as she asks the question, tapping his fingertips together a few times. "…I am here because I am an idiot," he finally says, his mouth twisting into a smile without humor. "Please forgive the presumption, but you — you are here because you are a mutant." There is no judgment behind the words, just a sense of tired resignation. "They want people like us. So they take them."

David's eyes drift towards that empty cell next to his again. "…we need to get you out of here."


Well, his inward directed insult did manage to make her laugh. It was a quiet chuckle, though prefaced with a little bit of sadness that has her arms wrapping around herself. His guess was correct, though.. she doesn't deny it. But at least she wasn't alone in this. "Why? For testing? Or.. something else. Something worse.." She frowns softly, taking in a little bit of a breath, then slowly releasing. "And you too, right?" She finally asks, standing again.

This time, she was a girl on a mission, perhaps she could save this older gent and renew her self worth. Perhaps she could blast her way out, get him free, and get him to send a message before she was killed. The martyr within her ran deep. "Have you tried to use your ability in here? Do you know if they are watching us?" She bends at the knees, then jumps, at least to feel the ground beneath her feet. Which was weird. She didn't know what she was looking for.


For testing or something worse? David's response to that is a simple, quiet "Both."

David remains seated on the edge of his bunk but his eyes follow her as she starts to move, a very small smile pulling at his lips. "I tried. I don't know what these bars are made of, but I swear they didn't even notice." He drags one of his hands down over his face until it's covering his mouth, fingertips drumming thoughtfully against his jaw for a moment before he drops his hand into his lap. "I'd assume they're watching. They're arrogant, not stupid," he grumbles, his eyes immediately scanning the room up near the ceiling. He doesn't expect to find any cameras. They don't need cameras.


Both. That didn't sound good. No, never good. She had enough of hospitals and being poked and prodded, even though her version of poked and prodded was medicine to keep her quiet and electroshock therapy to keep the crazy quiet and contained. Her eyes close faintly, her fingers lifting to rub against her temples, pacing slightly back and forth as she hears his words and tries to process things like an adult.

With a sharp turn, she tries for it. For that telekinetic push to get the bars moving. But even that felt like a chore. Like she was straining against nothing. In fact, it just served to give her an even bigger headache that has her teeth gritted. "Dammit.." She tries to expand her mind, to try to listen to David's thoughts. But nothing. Nothing at all. "Dammit.. dammit.. dammit.." She spits out, her hands nearly flailing as she turns and flops back upon the bed, her mini temper tantrum set. "Damm.." She manages to get out, then buries her face into her hands so that she could actually give a good damn cry for once.


That's approximately how David's feeling. That does not stop him from getting to his feet and moving back to the bars, though, his brow furrowing in concern. "No, no, it's going to be alright," he says quickly, grasping onto the bars and leaning into them. "Shhhh, shhhh. Just take a deep breath, Jean," he says, trying to keep his voice soothing. "Slow, deep breaths. In and out."

His eyes flick around the cell before settling onto the floor again, where it meets the bars. David bites his lip in thought and gives the floor a light little tap with his toe, as if testing the temperature in a pool. "I'm… let me try again. Okay? It's going to be fine. Don't be alarmed."

He moves briskly to the wall of his cell, draws back a fist, and punches the wall with all of his might. All it really seems to accomplish is bloodying his hand, but David sets his jaw, narrows his eyes, and does it again. "Just need a charge…"


There's movement on the North side of the room, a small shuffle heard down a presumably empty hallway on the other side of the wall. Out of (presumably) nowhere, a small door opens with a quiet chink in the white wall. The twins walking hand in hand enter the room, and look up towards the far right corner in the wall. At that moment, an empty cell closest to them opens, and they silently walk inside before sitting down on the bed — still holding hands — together. There's no acknowledgement of the others in the room as the pair blink owlishly, still staring at the corner in the white wall.


Life was great. She had just gotten a new boyfriend, she was just getting to go outside and deal with the crowds. Her scores were looking good enough for her to get her diploma so that she could head into college. She had -the- best popcorn that side of New York. She even made a few friends! Training was going so well that she felt she could conquer the world and then there's this. This little stupid incident that knocked her right back upon her ass and had her sobbing quietly into her hands.

Comforting her was pretty much a loss, the redhead shakes her head sadly, still unable to just.. stop crying. Though, until the door opens, that has her stopping.. her eyes opening and lifting towards those twins as she immediately rushes the bars. Jean was angry. Angry as hell. And sad. And hopeless..

"HEY! HEY!" She screams at the girls, banging her hands upon the bars. "LOOK AT ME! HEY!" Oh.. she didn't realize that David was bleeding by punching the walls.. at least not yet. She was pissy.


Every few swings, David just drops his arm and shakes out his hand a bit, as if he had just slept on it wrong and caused it to fall asleep. It sends droplets of blood onto the otherwise pristine floor in his cell, some against his clothes… and then, he goes right back to pounding on the wall.

Until the door opens.

David stops with his fist against the wall and turns his head, his eyes narrowed when he sees the pair come in. They narrow further at Jean's reaction. Ah. This must be them.

"No room upstairs?" David calls towards the twins in a light voice, turning back to the wall. Is he punching it harder? Yes. Yes, he is.


The pair blink as Jean yells at them, but eventually turn their attention to her. The blondes seem distant, empty, and wholly apart from this world. Unlike when most people get yelled at, the twins merely sit there, holding hands. There's a few beats where they seem like they can't quite hear Jean's greetings until, finally, they say, "Hello," in complete unison like one person rather than two.

They turn towards David and both point to murmur, "The defective one." Their eyes lid. "He should check the mail," one says the other. "Not yet," the other replies.

They turn back towards Jean, "You are emotionally distressed. Do not distress," they're oddly astute for virtual robots.


Laura arrives from RP Nexus.


Laura has arrived.


The thumps against the wall causes her anger to fade just a little, her eyes soon wide, red.. glancing towards David with alarm that has her reaching her hand out of the cell to give it a wave of frustration. "STOP THAT!" Yes. Everyone was getting a piece. She was near frantic in this, seeing the blood was making her stomach turn. And the twins outright calm?

She was a bag of mixed emotions. At least she could tell which was hers and which was not. "Well you gosh darn right I'm emotionally distressed! I want to get out! I want to go home! I want to take a bath! I want some water, I want food! I want to lay in my bed and not be.." She grips the bars and gives them a tug. As if that tug could do so much more. "..HERE! I DON'T WANT TO BE HERE! LET ME OUT! I WANT OUT! OUT, OUT, OUT!"

(Editors Note: Jean Grey is a five year old in a 23 year olds body.)


Good news, Jean — the twins' commentary actually gets David to stop bloodying his hand against the wall. The bad news is, they've also completely gotten his attention.

David turns away from the wall and points at the pair, his nostrils flaring. "I am not defective," he says in a tight, quiet voice. "This place is defective. What these people are making you do is defective. Commander Stryker is defective." He has not raised his voice, but by the time he reaches the last statement, he's practically snarling the words out, hands balled up into white-knuckled fists at his sides.

David's eyes finally flick over to where Jean is… expressing herself, and a great deal of the tension leaves his face. "…it isn't their fault," he grumbles, absently shaking out his hand. For the blood still coloring his knuckles, there are no visible wounds. "They're doing what they're told."


Jean's yelling prompts both of the twins' eyebrows to lift abruptly, but the pair don't entertain her freak out, instead noting, "Your every need will be attended to. You will be fed." One looks to the other, "Unless she's too loud. Perhaps they will opt not to feed her." The other shakes her head, "No sister, she will be fed. They even fed that other one." The first wrinkles her brow, "Which?" The second shrugs her shoulders. Evidently this is answer enough.

They turn to David and their heads cant to the right simultaneously, "You are the one who breaks everything." The first says, "Even that which you create." The second opts, "Like your child. Ginetta was pretty. You should've defected." The first offers blandly, "You were defective anyways."


Jean's eyes dart from the twins, and then towards David, her teeth clenching hard as she draws out finally. "Who the hell is Stryker?" Yeah, she would like to know this. From the way he spoke, it seems as if he were the main person who was doing this to them. And maybe, in some odd way, David was involved. No, she wasn't going to allow herself to become distrustful, but she was still angry. She gives a smack of her hands against the bars and strides off, her hands pressed against the small of her back, her head lowered as she begins to pace.

"My needs will be met, huh? Well I have an extreme need to go home. My real home. Not here. Can that happen? Am I going to go home?"

The girls were cruel, and if anyone was affected by their words, it was Jean. In fact, as they address David, her little temper tantrum seemed miniscule to the anger she may think he'd feel at their words. So much, that she shuts right the hell up.


Contrary to what Jean might be expecting, anger is not what manifests itself on David's face.

David has just kind of… stopped, standing in his cell and staring at the twin girls. He's gone white as a sheet like a man who has just seen a ghost, his hands beginning to tremble at his sides. He makes a few attempts at opening his mouth, but no sound comes out. Not right away.

The most he can muster is a whisper. "It was you?"


The girls turn their heads towards Jean, "You are home. This is home." Their blonde eyelashes bat in unison. "Sometimes, if you are upstairs, you can hear the music. And the laughter." They both smile but it never meets their eyes. No, these girls are, indeed, robots.

The question from Maverick have the sisters joining hands wholly, but the first shakes her head at her sister, "It would be too hard now." The second nods, "Not until the others return. Not until X-23 brings them home." The first squeezes the second's hands, "She will help them." The second nods her head, "It is known."

After this exchange, they drop a single hand, and turn back towards David, "Maybe not as defective as believed."


Jean stops her pacing, reaching the bars again with grasped fingers, tugging on them yet again as she watches David, and then the girls.. yet again. That was all she could do… "What did they do, David.." She asks, a little bit of urgency in her voice, her gaze snapping to the girls within their cell as she gives a shake of her head.

"No… no this is not home.." She takes in a breath. "..it's not home.. this isn't home.." She was defeated. No one was going to convince the two girls to let them out. It seemed like they were just too stuck with whatever control they had over them. She rolls and slowly slides down to the floor, her back to the open room with the two possibly staring back out at her. If they were. But, this is what defeat truly looks like, and it was sad.


David's face turns towards Jean but his eyes remain locked onto the twins much like his feet are rooted to the spot. He's pale, visibly fighting to maintain his composure — but it isn't anger that he's fighting back. Jean wouldn't need her powers to see that. "Reminded me of what I am," he tells her in a quiet, shaky voice. "That's all."

David swallows hard and, with a great deal of effort, forces himself to take a step towards the bars that separate him from the twins' cell. Focus. Focus on the mission. Focus. "Others?" he echoes, slowly reaching out to grasp onto the bars. "How many does Twenty-three need to bring home?"


The door to the twins' cell opens. Perhaps Maverick and Jean are being relieved of their charming company. A reprieve would probably be welcome. Unfortunately, that is the quiet sound of feather-light bare feet on tile, NOT boots. Another young girl, though far more androgynous than the twins, and decidedly not identical to them, steps in with the pair. She's slender, short, pale. As disinterested-appearing as the others, dressed in a shapeless knee-length white smock. Her hair has seen a trimmer recently— short, dark peach fuzz.

As if summoned, X-23 steps over to the twins, and sinks neatly to the floor next to them, legs crossed, hands folded in thetriangle of smock formed by her lap. She offers the blonde twins a small hint of a smile. "XIV-2, XIV-3. Hello."


One of the twins reaches a hand to touch the peach fuzz that is X-23's hair. With the greeting and hint of a smile, X-23 is met with two in turn. "Hello X-23." Their heads tilt and then and only then do they acknowledge David's question, "The rest," so vague. "The ones taken away. By the silver man, purple cat, and that fellow. With the island. And the other one." Their eyebrows lift in anticipation. "She is also defective." The first looks to the second and then X-23, "Not as defective as him." The second nods in agreement, "Not as defective as him."

The pair look towards Jean. "It is acceptable here. You will like it. Learn to be strong." Their heads turn to X-23. "Have you word of 1, 4, and 5?" if David can count, he may be able to discern this means THREE are missing.


Her bare feet remain planted upon the floor, her head lowering as she begins to massage her temples yet again. Her eyes close, attempting to reach out, reach far beyond these walls to look for the lights of the minds of everyone else. But nothing..

..it was odd. Something she's rejected she misses, even the little tiny voice that used to taunt her has gone silent. Was this her punishment for denying everything that made her.. her?

A little turn towards the door opening, the bald young woman stared at, and soon she turns her gaze away again. Yes. She was crying, silently. At this point, Jean wishes she had never left the sanitarium..


Somehow, David finds it easier to approach the bars once X-23 has joined the twins. She may be the reason he's in here, but she's also familiar, and there is some corner of his mind that actually takes an odd sort of comfort from her presence. Maybe he is def-

"Stop calling me that," David mumbles, one of his hands going to his forehead. He keeps his attention primarily on the trio of girls but he does begin to edge closer to the bars that separate him from Jean, instead, flicking a worried glance her way.


X-23 glances at Jean and David, briefly, but is more interested in answering the question. She shakes her head slowly. "No. Pursuit has not been authorized yet." Something about her tone suggests she might take some sort of issue with this fact. "Control asked about the encounter with X-1 last night. There were many questions." A pause, where perhaps she debates continuing. The sisters do have a way of drawing her out, it seems. "Too many questions. It was not an efficient use of time."


For a moment, the robot persona breaks, and the twins' chins drop. Silently, they stare at their feet. "They will be recovered," they state back assuredly. "The man with the island will not win." Their blue eyes sweep upwards thoughtfully at the critique. "X-1 is useless." Their eyes trail back to the far corner of the room, almost like they're talking to someone in that space. "Find XIV-1, XIV-4, and XIV-5. We need them to be fully operational." And for a moment there's a hint of something emotive — the slightest downturn of lips.


David lowers himself down to sit on the floor next to the bars that separate his cell from Jean's. He's worried about the kid, but he can't take his attention off of the byplay between the twins and 23. So, he watches. And he listens.

And after a moment's hesitation, David breaks his silence.

"The Project doesn't care about them," he says slowly, gripping the bar next to himself. "Not like they should. Stryker has his analysts upstairs running risk/reward assessments to figure out if sending her in is worth the exposure," he says, tipping his chin at X-23. "If it were me, I'd go get them back."

David hesitates. Noticably. His eyes lock onto X-23 now, a wariness creeping into his posture, like a man waiting for a physical blow to come. "If they were captured… the analysts might consider them defective."


The twins receive a slow nod. "They will be retrieved. If not by order, than under Protocol 66." X-23's eyes snap to David. Not a slow blink like usual. Laser lock-on. "Do not attempt to be clever. The error in their capture was mine and that of others. It has been corrected," The small girl's tone is approximately the temperature of frozen helium. "The remaining errors will ALSO be corrected."


One of the blondes seems visibly upset by David's assertion. She stares at her feet only to turn back to the wall rather than the bars and fellow prisoners. Her sister, however, does not miss a beat. "Like your unborn child?" she tilts her head. "An extra appendage to be dealt with accordingly, defect?" Her eyebrows lift, "No my sis — " she blinks, nearly surprised at the word. "XIV-1, XIV-4, and XIV-5 will be recovered. There will be an awakening. I saw it. In Stryker's mind," she glances up towards the corner of the room before walking towards the entrance to her cell, fully expecting to be called away.

"And the wakening will recover them." She glances towards her sister and offers, "It is known," before pinging back a picture into David's mind from the dream he'd had days before. The battlefield. Bodies lining it, and them coming back to life. "You can't even break things successfully," she offers coldly.


The further talk of the four has Jean curling up into a tighter ball, her eyes staring out, vacant, attempting to reach that stupid little firebird within her head to at least come out. She tries to imagine it, her in the woods. In front of the cabin. Reaching for the sledgehammer to break it down. But nothing. Absolutely nothing. Pure silence that wasn't golden, not even by a long shot.

"Be quiet.." She says quietly, her hands slowly creeping upright to shield her ears from their voices. "Just.. be quiet.." She pleads.


It's the twins' responses that has David gripping the bar tighter more than 23's, his jaw clenched tightly shut. He flinches as if struck when the unborn child is mentioned — but then his brow twitches upwards at the girl's verbal slip.

He doesn't really have time to enjoy the small victory. The imagery flashes in his mind and he cries out in pained surprise, squeezing his eyes closed and grabbing onto his head with both hands. "Not real," David hisses through his teeth. "Not real not real not real." Sorry, Jean. He can't hear you.


X-23 rises smoothly to her feet when the other girl does, and offers her hand to the more distraught of the pair, to help her to her feet. She is, after all, tasked with their well-being. "They will be recovered," she agrees. "Weapons belong in an Armory." Her eyes flick to Jean and David in turn.

"They do not understand this. But they will. Very soon."

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