1963-10-29 - Protests and Justice
Summary: A protest in Mutant Town ends with a BANG.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
ava scott 


Down in Mutant Town there's a peaceful protest occurring in an attempt to bring publicity towards the positive, peaceful movement for civil rights. The mutants who participate seem young, college aged and younger, and are a thousand strong as they march down the street with bags of flowers in their hands. Intermittently, the students throw what look like mini sunflowers out to the crowd.

*

Part of espionage - really the entire point of the exercise - is the gathering of intelligence. And gathering intelligence means paying attention to things. Finding out what's going on. Ava isn't usually in Mutant Town, though she could be, and has the cred to pass unquestioned if needed, but with the protest set to go off, she's here to see just how these things go. To get a feel for the mood in this part of the city.

She wears an oversized coat over jeans and a t-shirt that look to have seen better days as well, slipping toward the front of the crowd to see the people march by. She winces when another spectator bumps against her left side, arm crossing protectively, but she doesn't give up trying.

*

One of the protesters leaves the group with a black eyed susan in his hand. He wears a pair of red sunglasses, perhaps part of his mutation. He approaches Ava and, should she let him, he places the stem of the flower behind her ear so it stays there. "It means justice," Scott says to Ava with a smile.

*

Ava stiffens at first, though she stills when it's clear that it isn't an attack, head tilting slightly to get a sidelong glimpse of the flower. "Justice for who?" she asks, rising onto her toes to look at the stream of passing protestors in case one of the signs should say.

*

"For everyone. Mutants. Men. Women. Blacks. For everyone," Scott says as he reaches out his hand to her as if he wants her to join them. "Come on." Several people in the group seem to have taken to doing what Summers is doing, reaching out towards people who are watching, trying to get them to come along.

*

Ava hangs back, glancing over her shoulder as if there's someone who's going to interfere. There isn't, though, and it only takes a moment before she reaches out to take the offered hand, steps halting but moving forward all the same. "Yes, but…" For a girl from Russia, the idea of a public protest will always be a little bit frightening, even if she's been in the states as long as she was in Russia. "But what do you want to happen?"

*

Scott pulls Ava along and into the group which eventually begins walking with a few extra protesters. "I want mutants to be able to go to school without being afraid of getting killed. I want women to be able to become doctors. I want blacks to be able to drink from the same water fountain as whites."

*

"Those are good things," Ava agrees, looking at faces as she joins the crowd, turning in circles as she walks. "But how is this marching going to change them?" It's not a challenge, exactly. She wants to understand. She can feel the difference in the crowd, feel the energy around them. But it hasn't been her experience that protesting achieves anything but more pain.

*

"One more person is one more vote in the ballot box. One more phone call to a congressman. One more person who says they won't stand for injustice. Eventually, we believe, it'll have a cascading effect. It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow, but someday."

From a far off window at a high rise, a man in black trains a scope on the crowd. Who the target is does not seem to be clear at this point.

*

"But do you think there are people who wouldn't know that these things are unjust if you didn't march?" Ava looks out at the crowd, features serious. "They must know, yes? It seems impossible that people wouldn't know until they were told that these things are unjust. I think they know," she adds more quietly. "I think they know, but either they do not care, or they are afraid to say it." The last, though, gives her an inkling. "But perhaps if they see others unafraid to say it, then they will be more brave as well."

*

"Putting faces to discrimination gives it a human feel. It's easy to dismiss injustice when it's an idea. When it's real people, it's much more difficult. That's the thought anyways."

BANG!

Abruptly, the person right next to Scott's head is totally blown away. The crowd erupts into screaming and the body drops into a dead heap upon the ground. Immediately, Scott puts his body in front of Ava's and begins to scour for where the shot might have come from. Meanwhile some quick thinking students are trying to grab the body and pull it from the street as people begin to scatter for the protection of the surrounding buildings!

*

An ordinary girl would be appropriately traumatized by someone's head being blown away right next to them. Ava, however, has seen worse. Or equivalent, really. And when Scott steps in front of her, she's already reaching a hand for the back of his head to try to get him to duck, the other at the small of his back to guide him toward cover. "That was a sniper shot!" she shouts over the chaos. "You don't want to be in the open!"

*

"I'm not scared!" exclaims Scott, even as he's getting yanked out of the way by the more experienced Ava. "I knew it was a sniper shot!" he explains as they both duck behind a set of stairs that lead up to the entrance of a building. Despite clearly not needing the help, Scott positions himself in a way to try and give Ava more cover.

*

"I didn't say you were scared," Ava retorts once they're into cover, reaching beneath her oversized coat and coming out with a handgun. "But you didn't say you were bulletproof, so. Cover." She leans out to look over his shoulder, comparing her memory of the way the protestor fell to where he landed and tracking the trajectory of the shot. "He or she might be finished," she murmurs near his ear. "If all they wanted was to break up the protest."

*

"You have a gun?!?" What the hell kind of girl brings a gun to a peace rally. There's an inner part, somewhere in the darker versions of Scott's personality, that is caused a great deal of emotional arousal at the idea of a random girl pulling out a pistol. But the pacifist in him is horrified. "Put that thing away, you're going to get us both killed. Come on!" he says, nodding towards the alleyway that stands just to the south of them. To get there they'd put themselves in the open for a moment, but would be safe is they could make it to the corner.

*

"It doesn't shoot bullets," Ava replies, as if that somehow makes it better. Maybe it does. "And I can't reach a sniper with the sabers." Who is this girl? Apparently someone who runs around with at least one gun and more than one sword, though. She eyes the other alley, then the windows of the surrounding buildings, measuring their chances before she nods. "You run first, I'll cover you. I'll meet you there."

*

"Bullshit, I'll cover you!" Scott says as he pulls out from their covering. Off come his glasses revealing a terrifying crimson energy blast that shoots up to the sky, in effect blocking out a large amount of a shot if it were to come (from most angles). "Go!" he yells.

*

Ava blinks for half a second when Scott pulls out his own ammunition. "All right, you'll cover me." It seems she has no argument for that. Nor does she waste any time, taking off for the cover of the alley at a dead run. Still, she doesn't even duck her head. She's searching as she runs. And maybe trying to get a better look at that shot of crimson power.

*

Eventually, when Scott feels he's close enough to the alleyway, he puts his glasses back on and then chases Ava through the alleyway. "What do you mean /saber/?" he says as he tries to catch up to her. He's in peak physical condition…but so is she.

*

"Sabers," Ava corrects, a faint smile tugging at one corner of her lips. "There are two." The gun disappears into her jacket once more, gaze fixed out on the street, as she reaches to the small of her back. What she pulls out looks like the handle of a fencing saber, but there's nothing more to it until she depresses a button and flicks her wrist, sending out a collapsible blade. What's more, blue electricity crackles along the length of it, echoed by an actual spark in her eyes. "It is more useful with people who are close, though."

*

"Who /are/ you?" Scott says, slightly exacerbated. For a moment he's worried that maybe she was someone who was there to hurt people too, but no, the electricity says mutant in his mind. He's just as flummoxed as his mind goes down a new route.

*

"Ava," the girl answers, glancing back to Scott as she flips the saber back into its compressed state, slipping it back into place at the small of her back. "More than that is a very long story, but the ending is, I don't like people who go after innocent people."

*

"We have that in common, then," he replies as he looks back down the alleyway. "Scott," he says absently, since sharing his name would probably be appropriate. "What are your thoughts? I'm betting it was a single shot to try and break up the protest."

*

"If it was, that tells us something about the shooter," Ava says quietly. "Mostly that it was a professional. One clean head shot. So they aren't afraid to kill. But they didn't take the chance to shoot anyone else, so not a bigot motivated by hatred of mutants." She glances back toward Scott, brows furrowing as she works it through. "Who would care enough to pay someone to stop this protest?"

*

"Maybe someone with a financial interest?" Scott shakes his head, "Or a political interest? I don't have any clue to be honest." He sighs and shakes his head. That guy who got shot, his name was Don and Don was a pretty cool guy.

*

Ava lets out a slow breath, leaning back against the wall of the alley and looking back to Scott. "I'm sorry," she says quietly. "Are you all right? Did you know-" She pauses, trying to remember. Was it he? Or she? A boy. At least she thinks so. "Did you know him?"

*

"Yeah. I did." His X-men training has helped him this far but now that the adrenaline is wearing off and now that he thinks they're reasonably safe, things are beginning to hit home for Scott. "Don. His name was Don," he says quietly. "He was an artist and really liked Rocky and Bullwinkle." Pause. "No one likes Rocky and Bullwinkle."

*

"Moose and squirrel," Ava murmurs, echoing the Russian accent all too perfectly. "I'm sorry," she says again. "That was…" She looks toward the mouth of the alley again. "What you were doing was not something that deserved that response. You were trying to make things better. And someone thought a life was a fair price to stop that."

*

Scott shakes his head as if to say it's not a big deal. Her comment, he means. "You want me to walk you home? I think we're safe, but I don't want to be wrong." That'd be the chivalrous thing to do. "I don't know who did this, but I have ways of finding out. When I do, they will be brought to justice. That I can promise you."

*

"What sort of ways?" Ave pushes off of the wall then winces. She pulls her jacket back, chin dipping to get a look at her side and pressing a hand against her shirt to check. "What sort of justice?"

*

"That I can't get into," Scott says. But as she pulls away from the wall and winces, immediately he looks concerned. "Are you alright?" After he realizes he didn't answer the second part of her question, he adds, "The real kind. With cops and the law. I'm no vigilante and I'm no killer."

*

Ava nods approvingly when he clarifies what he means about justice, taking a look at her hand and finding a faint smear of blood there. "I'm all right," she sighs. "Just ruining a lot of t-shirts lately. It was the vampires," she adds, clarifying. "I ran into a few of them, took care of them, but one got a good shot in during the fight."

*

"I know first aid, here, hold up," Scott says as he gets down on his knees for a closer look. "Vampires?" he says surprised. A lot of crazy stuff Scott's seen despite being as young as he is, but he has yet to see vampires. "You're not going to suck my blood, are you?"

*

"I don't think so? I heard someone say you should find a sorcerer if you were bitten by one, but this one was a scratch." Ava leans back against the wall again, pulling her t-shirt up on one side to show where bandages have been wrapped around her ribs, blood now seeping through them. "It has something to do with whatever's been going on in Central Park. There are vampires and other things all over Hell's Kitchen. I guess they thought it was easier pickings than Mutant Town being full of people with powers."

*

"Well, if you're about to turn me into a vampire, then I give you credit for the long play. It would make some sense," Scott says as he removes the bandages and tears off some of the white undershirt he wears under his sweater. "They're supposed to be irresistible."

*

"You are the one flirting over bloody bandages," Ava laughs low. "Maybe you are the vampire." Beneath the bandages it a line of four deep scratches, scabbed over but with some of the scabs broken open after the activity of the crowd and the running.

*

Scott takes part of the shirt and rips it off and provides pressure against the wound, while using the rest to wrap across her stomach. He ties it tight and knots it, "That should hold you until you get wherever you need to go. You're going to want to change them right away, though."

*

Ava nods to the instructions, a hint of amusement in her features. "And I should probably try to take it easy and not tear them open again, too," she says ruefully. "But these things happen." She pulls her shirt back down over the bandages, still leaning back against the wall. "Thank you."

*

"Any time," Scott replies, finally coming face to face with her. "Don't let this deter you from making a difference in this world. A life without liberty is no life at all. And to sit by and watch another be oppressed is almost as bad." He smiles faintly. "Maybe we'll see each other again sometime. There's always another protest."

*

"On that, we are in agreement," Ava says quietly to the idea of watching others be oppressed, smile quirking again at mention of another protest. "I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that there's always another protest. I thought the idea was to solve the problem so that no more protests were needed. But maybe I will see you at one again."

*

"That's the idea, but we're a long way out. Take care of yourself, Ava," Scott says as he smiles faintly at her. He's got to get home and talk to Xavier about this, and maybe pull the rabbit out of the hat to find out whoever did this.

*

"You too, Scott," Ava smiles back at him, pulling her jacket around herself again. "Catch whoever it was before the next protest. Don't let them win." She glances up toward the windows again, smile fading into a grimace. "I'll keep my eyes open, too."

*

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