1963-12-05 - Bringing Down the House
Summary: Alone and lost, Lorna gets followed by unsavory sorts… then makes sure that they won't be following her again.
Related: http://marvel1963mush.wikidot.com/log:1963-12-05-operational-failure
Theme Song: None
lorna seth 

Hell's Kitchen was decidedly /not/ part of New York City that Lorna had frequented on her own in the past several months. Much less on her own. She had little notion of where she was, nor how to return back to her car. Rage, anger and hurt had carried her storming down streets and around corners this way and that, until now, she was exhausted and spent of those torrents of emotion.

All that was left was the rising panic of being lost in the city, alone and stuck in the strange getup that Jean had had her dress in for the 'mission' of finding the box Gabriel had been found in last.

She stuck out like a sore thumb and gained more than a few dirty looks from other people on the street, and more than a few whistles and attempts at following her. A black leather jumpsuit was hardly what Lorna would've /chose/ to be out in, but short of finding her car, or finding a phone to call Miss Frost, she was out of options. Especially given that she had /felt/ her father's magnetic field shift and disapear out of the area.

No one was going to try to find her and see if she was okay, or lost or anything. Jean had given her directions and told her to esstentially to get lost, and she had. Rather.. too well in fact.

A groan pulled from the teenager's lips as she sagged against the mouth of an alley, pulling her hands through lime-green locks of hair in frustration. What was she going to do?


What indeed?

The sound of metal grating against cement wrenched into her sudden awareness, the mouth of the alleyway shadowed by the bearer of the single lead pipe. A brutish sort in leather, standing a head taller than most and about twice as broad, the man slumped authoritatively into the tight corridor. On either side of him were smaller figures, who compensated for their slight of frame with a gaunt and cruel appearance. The one on the left was a woman, or some approximation of one, all curves lost so worn by hunger and hardship was the tattered figure. On the right, the youngest of the bunch by ten years at least, a twenty-something short and squat bloke who spoke for the whole in a wheedling tone.

"Ya' lost honey?"

And despite the seemingly kind-hearted question, it was difficult to mistake their intent for anything but nefarious.


The green haired girl jumped at the grating sound of metal against cement, her eyes rounding as she immediately spied the group approaching her from the depths of the alley between the two apartment buildings. Her heart rate spiked, a lump forming in her throat as she turned and ran out of the alley as fast as her legs could carry her, and for once, Lorna was glad of Miss Frosts' training and laps around the gym.

Still, the young woman didn't look where she was going, running face first into another person on the sidewalk, sprawling backwards and landing hard on the concrete. An 'oof' escaped her, as her breath left in a sudden gust and the back of her head smacked the sidewalk.

She saw stars.

Blinking hard, she picked herself up off the ground, rubbing her head and all at once thankful for the leather jumpsuit that protected her against scrapes. Small favors. Still, whoever it was she'd smacked into had already walked on with the crowd of humanity carrying on its business and she was promptly ignored.

Just one more freak in the city.


A hand grabbed her arm, dragging her towards the nearest battered door. It opened in hushed exhale of cobwebs and dust, the hinges squeaking on copious amounts of rust as darkness suddenly pressed in. A moldering wool was over her mouth, within it a filthy hand as evidenced by the fingers pressing through the holes in the gloves. And before she could think to push out and find the metal on his person, Seth leaned into the small light afforded through cardboard covered windows and breathed,


Then his entire body stilled and the three figures from the alleyway poured onto the sidewalk, looking to and fro like dogs on a scent.

"I seen her go this way"

"Yeah, maybe you should get'cha eyes checked."

"Ach, come off it."

Whilst the woman and the squat man argued, the tall bloke with the crowbar sauntered down the sidewalk, his massive head turning from side to side slowly as if listening over the din of traffic and city chaos for their breathing.


Lorna didn't actively have to press on metal in or around her, the panic that laced each breath had everything within 100 feet rattling ever so faintly. A warning, or perhaps merely just a sign of how distraught the young mutant was. Especially at the press of fabric over her mouth that muffled the protests that tried to flee from her mouth.

Which were silenced at the hissed 'quiet' with a voice that she'd heard before. She hadn't physically struggled, but the metal objects stilled as she exhaled and watched the view from their hide out. The three figures that had chased her beyond were recognized as a much more immediate threat and she shivered as cold fear sliced up her spine.


The arguing had escalated outside, the slow and deliberate stride of the hulking brute drifting farther and farther from his two compatriots. Closer to the door they were pressed on the other side of. Close enough that they could hear the crunch of his boots on the frost-crisped pavement, the exhale of his breath on the window sill adjacent, the soft tap-tap-tap of the crowbar on the side of the building. Like he knew where they were. Like he was waiting for them to squeak.

Seth's features were as tightly wound as his musculature that pressed her into the dark corner they shared, his gaze fixed upon the door with narrowed eyes as he seemed equally as inclined to wait for the attack as the man stalking them was luxuriating in the game of cat and mouse. Silence stretched.

Then the door burst open underneath the boot of the man in a hail of splinters and Seth was running, dragging Lorna behind him, guiding them over boxes and draped furniture long-eaten down by rat infestations while the hip-hip-holler of their pursuers chased them down the long hallway of the abandoned office building.


Every heartbeat that pumped and thrummed in Lorna's veins sounded like thunder in her ears as they waited and watched. The sound of the door crunching and splitting beneath a booted foot had her screaming as soon as Seth pulled his hand away from her mouth and was yanking her over boxes and abandoned furniture and away from the predatory inclinations of the group behind them.

Eyes wild with fear, gasping for breath as she ran, Lorna struggled to pull on metal around them. Her free hand trailed back behind her, and every so often she would yank down hard on the ceiling behind them. A rusted pipe burst from the ceiling, leaving dust and debris raining down on their pursuers. Old wires and lighting units, fans and ventilation units crashed down with thundering clambers behind them.

Still, it was all Lorna could do to focus and run at the same time without tangling her legs and crashing down herself with Seth's breakneck speed.


Seth dragged them down one corridor and into a side room, then from that side room into a janitorial closet that opened into another abandoned office. The papers swirled about them like wounded birds as he finally released her, panting softly but in a fashion accustomed to aerobic activity and complete terror. His blue eyes were brilliant in the low light, and his teeth fashioned into a grimace as he listened to the crew on their heels.

"Da' fuckin' place is fallin' down oe'r our 'eads."

"It's just cause you an ungraceful lout."

"There's two o 'em now."

And 3 o' us."

"Da' green haired lassie probably a mutant type."

"Ach, that's why we got Byron."

The sound of the steps in the hallways and the idle conversation as door after door opened was coming closer and closer. Seth didn't dare to speak, though he did look back at Lorna quizzically as if to ask 'why is your hair green' and 'what the hell are you wearing?' Instead, he took out the bone-handled knife and flicked it open. If he was nervous, it didn't show in his steady hand evident while he waited. And waited. And waited."


As Seth dragged her into yet another room and they huddled in the dark of the abandoned office she caught her breath, lowering herself down to her knees as she pressed her hands against the floor, closing her eyes as she pushed out her senses to the building around them. The buzz of metal that was a constant in her mind while she was in the city faded, and she focused.

The moving pieces of metal she quickly zoned in on as the three pursuers, and she could sense their directions as they walked. The magnokinetic raised a hand and with a sharp tug pulled on the pieces of metal on their clothes, shoving them backwards from wherever they stood. She couldn't /see/ them, but the metal was clear as day in her mind and she /pushed/.

It wasn't the delicate and intricate manipulations of her father, but it was a strong enough force to send them to the floor and interrupt whatever it was they were doing. Hopefully, it would buy Seth and her time.

Heart thumping painfully in her chest, she exhaled a shaky breath, turning her focus once more to the building around them.


The sudden scrambling thunk of bodies hitting the floor and audible shouting was evidence enough that Lorna had hit her mark. Seth blinked for a moment, as if confused before putting the two together and looking over his shoulder at the stooped figure with an appreciative smirk and a little salute with his knife hand. He could feel the weapon vibrate in his grip as her senses pushed out again, finding the typical accoutrements of old buildings such as this - lots of brick, heavy metal tanker desks, pipes, structural i-beams that would bring everything crashing down with too much disruption, pen tips, keys and the locks they belonged to. It was hardly a silo of weaponry to the average person, but it would give a magnokinetic plenty to work with.

The sound of a crowbar dropping marked at least one of their pursuers had realized a weakness, and though the arguing did not desist, the clump-whomp-crunch of approaching boots continued as at least one figure strolled closer and closer to their office with the audible opening of the doors proceeding there's.


Fear, and anger had always been two driving forces in Lorna's ability to access her powers. Granted, she had been training these past several months, the well that was her powers was so much easier to pull from when her heart was pounding in her ears. Something that had brought her father trouble in his youth, and now might very well save her own life.

There was no time for her to try to whisper a warning to Seth, or much point in it. A snarl pulled at her lips as she threw her hands out before her and shoved with everything she could muster. Her fingers curled and crushed the supports of metal buried deep within the floor boards and cement and concrete of the building.

No delicate tugs or pushes here, just raw fear and anger shoved into kinetic energy that burrowed deep into the building's support structures. Everything that had settled upon her from the course of events as of late was shoved away and out of her. Into the building, ripping up metal and twisting and breaking. She shoved, she clawed and she relentlessly tore at the building, not noting or caring overly that she was destroying the very place that they were in too.

The whole structure started to shake and groan, as if under threat of an earthquake.


The arguing was twisting with the guts of the building, beginning to twist into higher and higher pitched panic as the walls vomited dust upon the occupants and the windows began to pop into splintering webs of glass. With every fresh vibration, something new torn asunder, until the bricks began to wriggle loose from masonry's hold and fall to the sidewalks. Someone was screaming. The ceiling had caved in the hallway, and underneath a heavy leaden pipe the woman's leg was trapped. Try as he might, the squat man couldn't get the weight off, and still, footsteps came closer and closer.

The handle turned on the office they were in, and the door swung open to reveal the brute formerly in possession of a crow bar. The thick set brow should have been alarmed, but it was furrowed in a focus that found purchase upon the heaven oaken door. It was plucked off the hinges as easily as if it were a large stick, and hurled at the two youths standing in the center of the office.

Apparently, this was Byron.


Lorna seemed utterly focused on ripping the building apart from its skeleton on outwards. Enough that 'Byron's appearance startled her out of her destruction and she blinked in shock. A scream of panic ripped from her and she threw up her hands, metal twisting up and out of the floor, old pipes and ventilation, rising up and blocking her field of vision of the incoming door.

The move was immediate and without thought, and likely saved her from the impact of the oaken projectile launched their way.

The green haired girl shook, breath escaping her in panicked bursts as she gaped at what she'd done.


Seth was not enjoying the situation. Whenever he tried to get out of the way of falling debris, some fresh piece of plaster or intermediary support beam came crashing down. And while the boy wasn't sustaining damage, annoyance was written on his features as his gaze shifted quickly to from the mutant ripping apart the building to the door, then to whatever escape plan he could cook up while the two forces met. A plan he hadn't exactly devised when suddenly the door was airborne and hurtling towards them, and Lorna's pitched scream made him freeze in shock. The ground surged underneath him with a splitting and snapping sound, as if thousands of metal teeth opened underneath them and were surging upwards to swallow the slab of solid wood. The two forces collided with a shuddering ripple of impact that made the ears ring and sent splinters hailing down on them.

Seth turned swiftly and the shrapnel buried into his skin instead of Lorna, who he could only assume was vulnerable. Though she was presently redefining what vulnerability actually meant, and perhaps he should have just left her there on the sidewalk. His flesh swirled around every impact point, as if liquefied by the impact, absorbing the kinetic energy before the wooden pieces fell as effortlessly as water off his tattered form. The mutant on the other side of the door had not been so lucky. Even as the building gave another groan and began to collapse in on itself, they could see Byron sinking to the ground while clawing at something sticking out of the side of his neck.

Then the dust filled their lungs and everything began to fall apart, even as Seth reached out to grab Lorna's hand and dragged her close. To what end, he wasn't sure. He was no hero.


The wooden debris would have posed a problem for Lorna, if the metal wasn't already starting to curl protectively around her and by extension Seth as he moved to intercept the flying pieces of wood that threatened her. Even as the building groaned and plaster rained down over them, Lorna threw up her hands and the metal pulled tighter and tighter around them, layer upon layer curling like paper to wind around the two in a steel bubble.

Byron's screams and clawing ignored for the moment.

The green haired girl clung to Seth as he pulled her close, closing her eyes as she felt the building's internal supports give way.

At the very least, the destruction went inwards rather than exploding out into the streets. A small favor that the collapse was infact, limited to the abandoned office building..


Three dead. That's what the papers would say. The reason due to structural integrity, though they could not identify particularly what structural integrity had failed. It was as if ever rivet had shaken loose, all the welds suddenly pulled back into the beams, even the pipes themselves twisting serpentine into the complete chaos that had been the downfall of the building.

Seth and Lorna didn't know that though.

The air was hot and the dust forcing a wheezing cough within the cocoon as Seth came to and tapped the shoulder of the other body. Or hopefully the shoulder. He wasn't entirely certain. "Ey, Ey, come on. We gotta go."

He still didn't even know this woman's name. The distant wail of sirens forced the first shudder of fear that she had felt since the start of this adventure, and his musculature tightened as he wheezed, "Ah shit, yeah, we gotta go. What the fuck happened to the building."

He knew what had happened, he was just waiting for somebody else to say it, to make it true. It seemed impossible.


Lorna groaned as she came to after the building collapsed. It seemed as if she had only blinked and suddenly they were coated in a fine plaster dust. She shifted, sitting up in the steel ball that had become their shelter in the wreckage. She was utterly unharmed, not so much of a scratch on her. The electromagnetic field that naturally surrounded her ensured her safety within the steel's embrace—and as long as Seth had held onto her. So would he have benefited.

The sirens were another issue entirely however, and Lorna shook her head, blinking back dust and dirt from her face. Exhaustion pulled at her and she pushed with both hands, a shout of exertion following as she shoved back against whatever blocked the steel from the light of day.

A screech of metal and stone followed and suddenly fresh air came blasting through to open skies above. Lorna coughed, leaning back against Seth's side.

"Is today over yet?" She mumbled, "I need to find my car.. c-call.. Miss Frost.."


Seth was instantly grateful for the sudden breath of fresh air, and gasped it down after another hacking cough. Clawing up and into the light, he reached behind him and offered a hand out to the girl before beginning to navigate the wreckage with a surprisingly agile step. Dusting himself off and patting down his pockets, he swore something fierce upon finding the street under his boots and grumbled.

"I lost my fucking knife."

The sentiment seemed to distress him, and he continued to opine about it in a low growl while drawing out a cigarette and lighting the end. Tobacco leaves sprinkled across his jacket as he tried to put the mangled carton back in his pocket and dark ash curled around them as he stared walking. Through the gawking crowds, ignoring the folks trying to ask them if they were okay, peeling off the coat and passing it back to Lorna as he added in the midst of his perturbed state,

"Put this on. And this."

He passed back the hat. Both reeked of sweat and wet wool, smoke and alcohol. But they would disguise a jumpsuit and green hair, and that's what Seth knew was necessary.


Lorna stumbled out alongside Seth, coughing and keeping her head down as she blinked against the fading light and the crowd of blinking onlookers. She was more than happy to stumble after him, pulling over the coat and hat to hide her hair and face from what were sure to be well intentioned or at least curious witnesses. She clung to his arm, breathing hard as she blindly hopped over debris and gravel of torn up building remains.

She started to shake, shock at what she'd done reverberating up her spine and into her head mercilessly. Her mouth open and closed repeatedly, but no sound escaped her. Her features were pale beneath the dust and grime, and she shuddered. Her fingers clutching at Seth for support all the more.


Seth could feel the tremors working down her spine, emanating out into her fingertips, his gloved hand tightening around her own as their step wound farther and farther away from the wreckage, the sirens, the three thugs that now died under the weight of the buildings in a dusty tomb. Like a train, Seth puffed away at the cigarette until his own nerves had steadied, and only when he had tossed the butt over a shoulder and they could barely hear the wail of first responders, did he steer them underneath an awning and regard her quizzically.

Without the hat, his hair hung in a thick and ill kept series of errant strands and knots that may have been tied back at one time. His own features were still stained with dust, and his eyes burned red at the edges from the irritation. The cold burrowed closer without his jacket, and he shivered even as he quietly spoke.

"Where'd you park?"


Lorna was, very quickly, unable to focus on anything other than putting one foot in front of the other. She followed behind Seth mechanically, tears stinging her eyes as reality crushed around her. Of what she'd done and of the deaths that now were /her/ responsibility. The defensive part of those actions were lost on her in the moment and circular logic demanded that she had other options. That she'd done /wrong/.

So by the time they stopped and Seth asked her a question she stared at him, gaping for a long moment as she burrowed deeper into his musty jacket.

"I-I don't know." She whimpered, tears trickling down her cheeks and leaving trails against the ash and dust that coated her skin.


Seth silently regards her for a long moment, the tears considered with a creasing of his eyes in mild confusion. He broke their eye contact to look over a shoulder, shaking his head slowly as he clicked a tongue against his teeth in thought.

"Frost institute, huh? You know where that is?"

Recalling the place she had referenced, he swiveled those blue eyes back to her and shivered as he stepped closer to her. Some would misconstrue the hug as comforting, and perhaps it was, but honestly he was just cold. His hands slipped underneath the jacket and pulled her close as a flurry of snow began to fall from the white skies. Everything was cold, and dust, and frigid. Why the hell were they going somewhere called the 'Frost Institute?'


A small nod was offered and, whether he was just seeking warmth or not, Lorna clung to him. The silent tears trickling down her cheeks falling into full on sobs as she pressed her face against his chest and merely broke down into tears. It had been all to much for the young woman and she only halted her torrent of crying for a moment in inhale a sharp breath as her head swam.

"I-I can c-c-all M-i-iss Frost. She-" She coughed, and inhaled hard, coughing again. Her face red and eyes watery still, "S-send a car." She hiccupped.


"Ah shit."

The sound he made as she collapsed into full blown sobbing was somewhere between a groan and a yelp as he collected her full weight against him and tried to make a soft 'shush' sound. It failed to be nurturing. An awkward patting motion was attempted with his hand, a glance given to a passing spectator whose eyes lingered too long. Whatever was in the glare sent the citizen scurrying as Seth waited for the sobs to subside enough to get a word in edgewise.

"Listen Sweetheart, I don't have a phone. I don't know anybody with a phone who would want to see me right now, and I'm not in the mood to get in debt for a favor I don't need to be payin' for. Tell me where the Frost Institute is, and I will get you there. I promise."


The green haired girl rubbed at her red-rimmed eyes, smearing tears and dust over her hands and face even further into a grime mix. "Just get me to a p-pay phone." She mumbled, swallowing hard as she felt bile rise in the back of her throat and she coughed hard. She rubbed her nose with the back of her hand, sniffling and biting her lower lip as she struggled to not break down into tears again.

At least the metal objects around them were still.


Seth starts to say something about not having any change before realizing it was a lost cause and nodding. Slipping an arm underneath her own, he supported her like one would an over intoxicated friend and explained as he led them back out onto the sidewalk.

"Two blocks over. One down. Ya' got cash?"

He asked it before realizing it was a stupid question. The girl had power over metal objects. Whatever nickels were necessary would come to her beck and call. Muttering something along the lines of 'never mind', he shook his head and continued as they walked.

"Byron wasn't a good bloke. A mutant, like us, sure. But not the sort o' person you wanted to have that kind of power. The other two, Argus and Lupe, rotten too in different ways. Just not as dangerous. They made a habit of stealing from folks, breakin' bones for the fun of it, menacing, kidnappin' if they can get away with it."

He trailed off, shaking his head before quietly intoning,

"Thank you for killing them. I owed Argus a solid thirty, and had no way of paying it. I don't know what they wanted with you, but I know it wasn' good."


The phone number was paid for by the Frost Insitute for the very purpose of emergencies. It helped going to a school funded by private corporations and mysterious connections. The idea of using her powers on the phone was the furthest from Lorna's mind. Rather, it was the praying that her powers didn't short circuit the line and cut it out with static. When she'd been upset before, phones, tv's and radios had hazed over with static, making the electronics unusable.

The fact that she had just indirectly killed three people by bringing down a building around their heads was still settling over her and while Seth /tried/ to ease that guilt. It wasn't going to let up anytime soon. 'Bad' people or not.

His attempts merely earning more tears prickling at her eyes as he led her carefully along the sidewalk toward the payphone.


Seth interprets her silence as a confirmation that he is definitely helping. As they walk he continues on about the triple homicide conversationally,

"I never expected him to go like that though. Wood in the neck and then crushed by a building. Thought I was a goner there too, what with the shakin' and the lack of air and then you just sort'o buttoned us up all safe and tidy. Wonder if they're gonna' find that and wonder."

Trailing off as the pay phone came into sight, he released her into the safety of the box and leaned quietly against the exterior while the wind cut through his sweater and snow buffeted his weak defenses.


His blithe comments earned more tears and she was a near sobbing wreck as he settles her against the phone box and she practically collapses inside in her rush to paw the number in. There was no 'collect' voice, no we will be with you shortly. Only a ringing that followed by a pick up. Her choked voice followed, broken by pauses in which she tried to calm her breathing so that not only could she speak, but also did not allow static to overtake the phone call.

After a brief conversation she stuck her head out of the box, her expression pinched and red. "Where are we?" Her voice was hoarse and she swallowed the hard lump in her throat and broke off into a dry cough.


Seth offers up the reply without hesitation, "West 55th and 11th."

As he waited for her call to complete, he pulled out what was left of a second cigarette and lit it, puffing on it until the ember glowed red. A transitory shiver chased down his spine and he hugged his arms close, smoke beginning to pour like a chimney from his lips between drags as he stomped his feet in an effort to stay warm. New York was unkind to anyone without a jacket in December.

Yet Seth did not voice a complaint or ask for his jacket back, instead waiting for her conversation to finish and then looking over a shoulder at her bedraggled appearance. Only after a long moment of quiet did he inquire,

"So uh. What's your name?"


A sniffle and Lorna stepped out of the phonebox, rubbing her upper arms over the jacket and trying to keep the chill from her fingers as the sun dipped below the buildings around them, casting them in shadows. She rubbed at her features again, trying in vain to clean up her cheeks of dust and tears.

"Lorna." She mumbled, hanging her head, "Sorry.. for.. for everything." She glanced at him, worrying her lower lip.

"And thank you for.." She trailed off, saving her? He had tried, but she had brought down the building. What would've happened if she hadn't? She wasn't sure. Seth was capable of surviving.. that much was obvious, but would she have been okay?

The thought needled her mercilessly.

"Thank you." She finished lamely, unable or perhaps unwilling to go further down that path.



He repeated the name back to her with a creasing of his brows, as if puzzling over it before shrugging. It made about as much sense as any other name, he supposed. Closing the distance between them, he dragged her back into a hug. Perhaps it would have been presumptuous, but as soon as he was close, it was evident he was freezing. When he exhaled the next time, he made sure to divert the smoke away from her face.

"It's fine. Shit happens. Normally not that much shit at once but."

Seth paused and looked down at her as the cold carried a more biting edge in the absence of the sun and offered up a weak smile, despite his chapped lips and dust soaked countenance.

"-I think I owe you the thanks. Though I was squatting there. Going to have to see if Carlos has anything else"

He trailed off, seemingly concerned now with shelter for the night while she pondered the vast responsibility of having god-like powers.


Lorna didn't seem to mind the fact that he wrapped his arms around her while they waited for the car that the Frost Institute was sending. Not against the snow and chill of the evening as he had in fact, loaned her his jacket without so much as a pause. "I ended up there because of my former roommate. She was looking for the box her boyfriend was.. found in." She swallowed hard, shivering as she wrapped her chilled hands over Seth's, at least trying to shield them both somewhat from the cold.

"Then my Tata showed up liplocked with his girl, who is a /princess,/ I might add," She added, a grimace pulling at her lips. "And he didn't look very happy.."

"And then my friend went and got all mean telling me to leave, when I'd said I'd help but then my Tata was helping.." She trailed off and winced.

"And I got so angry and I just started walking because no one wanted me there anyways. No one actually wants /me/ around. They want my Tata. Because he can actually /control/ his powers. I'm just repetitive." She whimpered, rubbing at her eyes as tears gathered up again.

"And I felt him go, he left me angry and alone and didn't come to check in with me because he was probably going off with Miss Crystal to.. to.. I don't know.." She sniffled, fighting back sobs.


As her life story poured out between the small space between them, or as much of one as Seth could figure, he regarded her in a perplexed sense of wonder while trying to track all the different players introduced. Princess. Tata. A friend. Lorna. As she spoke, her tone becoming increasingly pitched and tight, he was still working over the fact that she was a duplicate, a lesser, a mutant still bested by another out there. And that other one was her father. It was his turn to wince.

"Uh, well hey. Listen. I have zero interest in anyone but you. I mean, no offense but, you're kind of more my type than princess dating super beings or whatever."

Another long puff was taken off the cigarette, now almost reduced to another ember stained ash, and he held it out to her in offering.

"I mean, like, don't mention me to them. And if you get lost in the city again, though really try not to, just ask one of the worst lookin' sorts where to find Seth the Welsher. There's another Seth whos' a Spic but ya' don't want him."

Lorna sniffled, rubbing her nose with the back of her hand as she listened to Seth. The exhaustion of the day pulled at her and she sagged back against his frame, shivering faintly despite the closeness and his threadbare jacket on her back. "My Tata is just a mutant.. like me or you.. s'all. He's .. just better at it I guess.." She mumbled softly, her eyes falling to the street before them.

A hand rose to wave away the offered cigarette, her nose wrinkling up faintly. "I just.. I don't want him to think I'm annoying, or be.. be disappointed in me. But.. I .. I just that's all I feel like." Tears dampened her eyes and she hung her head.

"I just.. what I did.. I'm responsible for /that/.. I should.. I should be in jail or something Seth.."


Seth tilts his head to one side as he reaches down to force her chin up with a calloused fingertip, meeting her eyes as the last meager portion of tobacco was flicked to the ground.

"Listen. Jail doesn't help anything. It warehouses the sorts that society finds contemptible. Simply by existing, some think you should be jailed 'cause of what you can do, Lorna. I should be in jail for things that I've done."

Releasing her chin when he was satisfied he had her attention, he continued after a long sigh. Snow caught in his hair and his breath was traceable in thin grey tendrils of steam between them.

"I'm not tellin' you that laws don't have a reason for existin'. What I'm saying is that sometimes shit happens, and there's no law sayin' how it should happen. It just does. We react. We survive. The world moves on. Responsibility doesn't figure into it."


A grimace pulled at her lips as he tilted her chin up, and she pursed her chapped lips together. Those green eyes that matched the hue of her hair so explicitly shined with unshed tears and she averted her gaze as soon as he released her chin. She swallowed a hard lump in her throat.

"I did it though, on purpose. There must've been other ways of getting out of there. Ways that didn't end with them .. like that.." She whispered, trailing off and hanging her head.

"It was /wrong/ for me to do what I did. To bring that building down. I didn't even /think/. There could've been innocent people caught in that.. What right do I have to make that call?"


Seth snorts and grumbles out before she can even finish,

"It was necessary. Or maybe it wasn't. Neither of us has that power. Maybe you got a friend who does that can clear it up? Until that's the case though, know that you survived. They didn't. You get to go on and do whatever it is you do, and they're dead, and I'm not out thirty bucks. I fail to see where this is a moral crisis."

And though he sounded tired, dust-ridden, exhausted and cold, his patience was still intact despite such fatigue. Instead of forcing her eyes again, he let her have whatever shelter staring at the sidewalk afforded as he set his chin on the crown of her head. Though he smelt of stale and moldering things, the intimacy of the motion seemed natural. After all, they had just committed triple homicide. What was a bit of a cuddle?

"Nobody has a right to make that call. And yet folks do all the time. The bloke that tried to run me down with his car? The copper that put a bullet in my gut two days ago? Those three hoodlums who were trying to see just how that jumpsuit came off and what the person inside it would be worth to the right buyer? They ain't got the right any more than you did. You're just stronger, acted first, protected yourself. I want to tell you that it feels better after a while but it doesn't. The only thing you can do is let it go numb. Or go crazy. These are your options. And I feel like the latter is a bit of a waste if you're gonna kill people just to mope around for surviving."


Lorna, for her part, seemed content just to have physical contact at the moment. Or perhaps it was exhaustion and the need for comfort. Either way, she neither blinked nor complained about the move as Seth settled his chin atop her head. Rather, she merely pressed her cheek against his chest and closed her eyes against the world at large. A shiver running up her spine that had nothing to do with the cold night air that pressed in around them as he described what very much might have happened to her if she'd been just a normal girl out and alone..

"Is that all there is to it? Because I was born with these freakish powers that makes me stronger than then, so it's okay .. what I did?" Her voice hitched a pitch higher and she bit her lower lip hard.


The words rumbled in his chest as he muttered them, their conversation a lover's affectionate moment shared beside the payphone instead of a discussion on the morality of self-defense.

"That might be all there is to it, but I doubt that'll make it okay. When folks are desperate, they hurt others. Only way to keep them from doing it is to make them less desperate. Less poor, less hunted, less scared, less threatened-"

Trailing off, he sighed and looked up the street for the town car that would ultimately thread through traffic to their curb. It was his intention to be far gone by the time whatever messenger was sent to collect her pulled alongside them. Seth was full up on good deeds for the day.

"You did what you did when you did it. It's done and over. If you sleep on it, and still hate yourself, then endeavor not to do it again. Yeah?"


A small nod was offered, and she sagged against him all the more if possible. Exhaustion evident in her every movement, every inhale of breath and in the drooping of her head. Yet stubbornly, she maintained her feet and continued to give thought to the torrent of things that had passed in such a little span of time.

"What if I get kicked out of school 'cause of it? What if my Tata hates me because of it? What if.." She inhaled slowly, held the breath for a moment and released it.

"Come back to the Institute with me? Please?"


A tiny voice in the back of Seth's head warned him that he was now well past his quota today. He hadn't even known this woman's name until five minutes ago, and she really wasn't his type, and his life was now insanely more complicated than yesterday because of being helpful. In fact, he wasn't entirely sure she didn't find him repulsive, as most people did. This whole physical closeness was likely some lapse in sanity, shock, a manic phase. Who knew? Her hair was green now, and he wasn't about to be boxed up as part of some 'rebellious phase' shew as trying out.

So he did what any young man with nothing to offer the world does.

"Hey, I got a better idea. Just tell them I did. Seismic bullshit. I don't come back with you, but they won't be able to find me. You barely got away alive. I don't know, be creative. Make me sound far more impressive than I actually was. You tried to save them, but you couldn't hold up the building."

A little flutter of his hand sent dust up in a poof as he laughed and added, "Just like that, you're a hero. Tata will be proud, nobody gets kicked out of school, and literally nothing changes for me. Ya' follow?"


A snort follows that and Lorna rolls her eyes despite not moving from her cheek pressed against his chest. "My teacher is a telepath. I can't lie to her. She'll know. Everything.." She muttered, shaking her head slowly.

"So yeah.. there goes that bright idea. Never mind the fact that I'm a terrible liar and I'm not going to lie to my Tata.. Even if he doesn't want anything to do with me after today.." She shrugged a small, jerky motion of delicate shoulders.


Seth swears under his breath as he answers her shrug with a rasping laugh,

"Well listen, lady. I don't know who can do what. I'm just trying to be helpful. And I doubt comin' back to wherever you are from with you is going to help at all. No offense, but I get the feeling we work in different circles. Ya' follow?"

His head tilted to one side and he glanced nervously over his shoulder again for the expected town car, even though he continued to speak nonchalantly.

"Nobody is born in control of this kind of thing. I mean, I got lucky. Mine's passive but I know plenty of folks that have hurt others while learning. I'm sure your pops will understand."


Another shrug follows and she just continues to lean against him. More propped up at the moment as they waited for the car to arrive from the Frost Institute. "You can at least spend the night so you don't freeze.." She mumbled against the musty smelling fabric of his shirt. "I destroyed your.. well whatever you'd call it, crash space I guess.. it's only right."

A sigh pulled from her lips and she shifted, her cheek still pressed against his chest. Her arms wrapped around his waist to try to hold herself up despite the overwhelming need to just close her eyes and go to sleep. "I didn't do it on accident though Seth, I was .. angry and pull that building apart.. on purpose. It wasn't just 'while I was learning'…"


Despite his slight frame, he did not struggle with keeping her weight against him. In fact, the way his musculature drew tight to support every relaxation of her muscles almost seemed to encourage it. As she let herself fall into the arms of the weak excuse for a protector, he smirked at her comment and shook his head.

"Meet the family? Have breakfast together? Shower? Honey, you're moving too fast for me. A man's gotta be free."

And as if on cue, his blue eyes caught the black car that had pulled along their street, idling slowly towards them with turn signal responsibly put into play. Tugging the hat off of her head with a falling of green curls, he nodded to the jacket and rubbed his hands together.

"But seriously. Ya' ever need something out here, where you're in my world? You let me know. I'll hook you up."


As he drew back a tired exhale left Lorna's lips, her eyes barely able to stay open as he plucked the hat off her head, exposing her hair to the light of the street lamps overhead. She shivered as she pulled off his jacket, shucking it off and leaving herself exposed to the open air in just that leather jumpsuit. It was decidedly /not/ made for Winter in New York.

"Pfft.. Just to crash at my dorm. I don't.. seem to have a roommate anymore. So.." She shrugged, wrapping her arms around her middle and stamping her feet.

"It's better than the street, isn't it?"

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