1834/Sometime Around Midnight

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Sometime Around Midnight
Date of Scene: 25 May 2020
Location: Xavier's School
Synopsis: When you're lost, look to friends for help.
Cast of Characters: Tabitha Smith, Illyana Rasputina, James Proudstar, Piotr Rasputin, Jamie Madrox

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Life has turned to chaos. Because that is something of what life sometimes is, and not just because there is one Tabitha Smith involved in it.

Today finds her in the lounge, sitting on the couch eating a bowl of cereal while she watches some of the others play foos ball or whatever other thing they are doing.

Which is a weirdly relaxed state, considering.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Sometime around 11. The older ones awake, the younger ones should be asleep. That's how it goes. Chaos belongs properly to the court of Xavier's school. Naturally where children and teenagers gather, the ricocheting issues of hormones and drama and emotions peak everything to a pinnacle of doom. Aiden's dating Jenny now and Bella /can't/ take it, oh my god, the world is ending right now. So nothing there is entirely off.

Except a good number of the students forbidden from going outside now have to make the most of certain older members or staff conspicuously not around. The biggest rumours swirling around are Scott death-scowling down some chick bringing guns into the school, possibly aforementioned 14-year-old relationship drama, and of course the absence of anything good to make Slurpees with on a hot evening winding down into a muggy evening.

Foos ball clicks too hard and the plastic ball goes sailing onto the ground. It skitters right up to a sleek silvery cat currently flatlining his natural tendency to look... not right. That's one of his smaller talents, hiding his weird from those who are not (Doctor) Strange. But Bayun goes skittering under the foosball table and goes running right up to Tabitha's feet. He pokes her with a paw and mews, a soundless opening of that oh so pink mouth. What fangs pussycat has.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
The 14 year old drama is only interesting for a split second, Tabby remembers that age. She remembers her own drama from that age, too. None of it was good. The rest is more interesting, but for whatever reason she's not dug too deep into the missing individuals, or why the total lock down.

When Bayun appears there is a slight upwards twitch of a brow, then without a word she sets aside her bowl and gets to her feet.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Bayun insists on... well, pets, scritches, whatever gets him attention. He weaves cautiously around Tabitha's feet, thorns still absolutely present in that shiny coat. They just happen to be a little more visible to her than anyone else. He curls his tail in a questioning fashion, the great sweep of it lashed back and forth. Then an intrepid trot takes them out of the game room, into a hallway and weaving to a nearby classroom. Clearly he wants Tabitha to hit the books.

Except that doorway leading in is dark, giving shapes that lurch out of the gloom. Desks, tables, chairs: nothing impressive. The rose-cat's eyes flash iridescent in the dark, and it circles around in pointed intent before sitting. Mrat!

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Pets and scratches are freely given, and she follows after Bayun without problem. Even when the cat leads her to one of the classrooms, because she clearly thinks that his destination is somewhere else.

Only it's just a classroom, and she looks around before glancing down at the cat, "Wrong room?" She wonders, moving to pick him up, "Yeah, they look all the same to me, too."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Unfair to drop one of those portals directly -into- a classroom door but it turns out to be effective. Especially with the portal being clearly one way, rimmed in the silver fire charged to intense blue at its core. Bayun threatens to rattle his thorns as space peels open, but his heavy tail thumps firmly against Tabby's arm and gives off the roseate perfume with it -- not a cloying, heavy fragrance but a softer hue, spiced, vaguely reminiscent of those bushes surrounding the dacha in great waves.

Which is only fair because Jimmy has to be the first one through, Illyana illuminated behind him briefly by the wild skies. The portal remains open by her whim, the landscape beyond probably more than a little familiar. It even has cake on a plate. "Tabby."

Bayun chirps to greet Jimmy, the one person who -can- hear him.

James Proudstar has posed:
"Good job, Bayun." Jimmy looks around, perhaps a bit furtively even, closing the distance to give Tabby a brief embrace, albeit mindful of Bayun's presence so nobody gets squished. It's punctuated with a brief kiss, but she can see that Jimmy is mostly in "serious mode" right now, as he looks back to the portal, "Hey Tabby...I really need you to come with us right now. The short version is we did some digging into the folks that are missing and found out the mansion might not be safe. We can give you the long version on the other side."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
While that portal opens they just wait, and wait....wa..It's probably not as long or as dramatic as all that, but she waits, and holds onto the cat despite the threat of thorns or sharp fangs.

When Jimmy appears there is a quick smile, a return to the kiss, and then a shift from happy to see them to slightly more guarded. "Huh?" She asks, but doesn't stop too long to think about it. "Alright.." She then gives him a nudge to show that she's ready to go in.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
No one getting squished is a good thing. On the other hand, the portal isn't two way -- and the radiant circle blocks out anyone from seeing them in the classroom. Talking in the dark among three conspirators plus a cat, naturally conspiratorial, might draw just too much interest, so Illyana takes the precaution of shutting the door. Thus throwing them into total shadows, though she encounters far less difficulty determining her whereabouts or navigating. Must be a benefit of glowing eyes or memorizing locations.

Hugs and kisses are such... not her... things. She has little practice in them, but offering that one-armed squeeze in passing may be awkward. It counts for more, considering the usual embraces are for Piotr only. And Sam, when he jumps her, and learns why jumping her is a bad idea. A frisson of gentle fingers slide up Tabby's back and then glaze away, though she looks back to Jimmy with a pointed intensity. "Good?"

But she deals with rounding past James and taking in the rest of the room, searching for evidence of anything untoward. "I do not feel Sam. Rahne and Piotr are with us, Berto and Dani are gone. Can you leave right now?"

James Proudstar has posed:
"I think she's ready to go now." Jimmy replies to Illyana, taking one last glance around, frowning a touch at the absence of Sam. In either case, Jimmy's through the portal, hopefully along with Tabby, in the next moment.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"Gone?" Tabby doesn't seem to have anything that is keeping her in the mansion, but then again, even if there //was//, would that stop her? Probably not. So she's following the rest through the portal, releasing Bayun once on the other side.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Xavier's School - Earth
For a moment or two, Illyana regards the surroundings of the school. She waits for Bayun in Tabby's arms to blink affectionately at her, then gestures with the roll of her shoulder for Jimmy and the blonde to precede her into Limbo. Before she herself steps fully into that portal, she raises her hands and draws on the ashen grey principles of banishment magic. A modification to the spell sets the switch to erase the cracks and folds of teleportation, making the world seem smooth and clean again, as though they were never there at all. The metaphysical equivalent of erasing tracks takes slightly longer and goes far deeper, entropic forces devouring the footprints or the dust and debris cast from fragile bodies. Brighter power stitches away the face of the world, so that it smooths out completely. Unnecessary, but she's fucking paranoid.

Limbo: The Between
While Illyana /could/ cushion the delirious crash through the worlds better than she does, the expense is too late for those already fallen between cracks in space and stars. When they land it's upon a shore: a glass smooth lake surrounded by drifts of starlight roses growing on violet stems. From that vantage it isn't possible to see the dacha secreted away among the roses, but the pearl spire certainly is. Paths weave back and forth, but it's an uncannily serene space for Limbo. Approaching midnight in the real world is the golden hour of another evening here, at least in this place where the horrors of the hellish realm are checked. Bayun wiggles free to go trotting up a labyrinthine path to the dacha, again running after the occasional demonic dragonfly. But he waits for his humans and one demon queen to follow.

Piotr Rasputin has posed:
Piotr has tried to make himself comfortable in the dacha provided to him by Illy, the one made of birch. He is still a bit befuddled by being in Limbo, but knows that he is doing the best he can at this point and trusts Illy to do what she needs to do.

This attempt at serenity is ended when the crashing arrival of the others catches his attention, causing him to poke his head out to see what is going on.

James Proudstar has posed:
Jimmy has gotten pretty used to travelling to Limbo, but this one seems a little more intense than usual. He doesn't quite make it to one knee, but when he latches on to Tabby it's not clear who's holding who up. Maybe a bit of both.

"Whew...OK, so...we started looking into who nabbed our folks. Berto, Dani, Julian, Gabby, Jenny, and Hank. They took Emma Frost, too, it looks like. Maybe others. But the bottom line is while we were looking we came across some evidence that whoever it is might be influencing Scott and Jean. And if that's the case, the mansion isn't safe."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
The cat is released, and Tabby grabs onto Jimmy once over. It's true, maybe she's holding him up, maybe he's holding her up. It doesn't seem to much matter though because there is talking already. No time to adjust and whine about it.

"Influencing Scott and Jean?" There is a curious look, then Tabby laughs at that, "You're kidding...right? That's like playing with a timebomb."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Another dacha has sprung up not far from the one of silver birch. Elevated from spruce and pine, the exquisite carvings riotously woven around the exterior make it differ from the more melodic symbolism worked into the silver birch dacha. Neither of them differ greatly, perfectly comfortable in their near-lakeside setting with a forest at their back. Cozy amenities prevail, but the spruce one for guests that definitely wasn't there before has a greater size, wandering back into the woods in a comfy Russian sprawl that still manages to evoke a cozy space. Clearly the Demon Queen anticipates that Jamie needs many rooms for his selves. Or others are coming. She's encountered Adirondack chairs in New York and therefore several of them form a comfortable ring next to a bench and a tea service, a platter of pastries and cake, and a dish of cat food. It's not for the briar-cat leading them but for Boris, clearly.

Never mind the unnaturally elegant balconied spire rising a few stories into the air facing it across the sunny clearing. It glows amber in the declining evening, or perhaps radiates that golden light itself. She breathes out upon seeing it, and that rampant paranoia dials back a little. "Home," she says. "The food is safe. The locals will not bother you if you do not antagonize them. I'm expanding the range of the forest for Rahne and you, Jimmy, so that you can at least not feel trapped." Trapped, which perhaps they are. "Tell me what to make it better. I will do my best to accommodate your needs."

A simple, quiet look to Tabby comes with a shake of the head. "Nyet. When they took Dani, Rahne and Jimmy smelled Scott and Jean. I read Dani's terror. Her betrayal. Berto was seized on the road, but we did not recognize by who. Both had a teleporter, it seems."

Piotr Rasputin has posed:
Piotr blinks a bit as the others come into sight, "Ah, it is you all." He looks around the area and steps out of the dacha, moving towards them, "Any news?" His voice betrays his concern, but his posture shows no weakness, "I hope no further disappearances have occurred?" The large Russian stands there, hoping for an answer. He looks around after seeing the briar cat and Tabby, "I see we have guests, good. Glad to see more of our friends."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"Piotr...hey." Tabby replies in greeting, with a sort of dazed look as she tries to process all the information that is being handed to her. She is very clearly struggling with the whole idea of all of this.

"Alibi?" She crosses her arms over her chest, brows lifting a bit before she then frowns even harder, her brows furrowing. "Okay...so...right."

Smart people things, not her forte.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
"It is not a good thought, this one. Have we considered this may be Scott testing us, an undeclared training mission to measure our readiness?" Illyana's words hold a shivering foreboding to them, and she slinks by to pour herself a cup of tea from the antique silver samovar. The cups on the cart are spotlessly clean, dust itself fearing to irritate the demon queen. This is no happy family get-together, but the skies streaked by first beginnings of crimson might just bespeak what lies ahead. "A test while we are supposed to be under lockdown showing the dangers? But to not tell the other teachers seems out of character and hazardous. I would not put it past him. But it's not right; the teleporter would have a known signature and who else would coordinate for this?"

She lifts the teacup and takes a sip, ignoring the temperature if it's anything less than mouth-burning. Licking her lips is almost lazy. "We found out about Dani and Berto. Who is our next target? We need to consider what we want to pursue."

Piotr Rasputin has posed:
Piotr listens and gets some tea for himself while the others gather, "My instinct tells me that it is not a test, there was blood and I do not see him raising a hand against one of ours, especially those not so recently removed from our school," Piotr remarks taking a sip. "Also we were not read in, if it is the case, which I do doubt. It would be quite unlike Scott." He nods to Jimmy, "But yes, everyone here has been behaving."

As if on cue a "Brrt" from the corner is heard as a striped kitten strolls out, eager to see who has entered his domain. Boris is genuinely curious to see all here, and looks over the new arrivals, especially the two he has not met.

James Proudstar has posed:
"Maybe we should look at Julian next. His last location seemed pretty nailed down." Jimmy notes, listening to Piotr and nodding, "My gut tells me we might be overreacting. My head tells me better safe than sorry. I doubt Scott of all people would be too mad about being overcautious." Jimmy reaches down to hold out a hand and let Boris sniff at him, even as he continues talking, "And yeah, while I think Scott could conceive of some kinda test like this I don't think he'd keep everyone in the dark. And I also don't think he'd schedule it for in the midst of a real threat like the Purifiers being active again. Too much chance for miscommunication or mishap or whatever."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"This isn't Scott's kind of test...not if other teachers don't know, and people are being hurt." Tabby is pretty well sure of that, and maybe she could be wrong. But she doesn't feel like she's wrong about it.

One hand moves to briefly touch Jimmy's back before she finds herself a place to sit, even if that means that she's going to end up on the ground. "So.." She starts, then stops, chewing on the bottom corner of her lip as she tries to think of how to be helpful."Okay, Julian, then."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Confirmation from three different sources allays at least one of the screaming possibilities. Illyana might well harbour some questionable beliefs, but she contends on that front, "It seemed unlikely. Cruel for him. He is hard, rarely cruel or malevolent. But at this point, we need to dismiss options based on likelihood and reshuffle the deck. Our usual strategy of show up and negotiate or strategically extract will not work." Bayun ruffles his fur and the silvery cat lurking near Jimmy and Tabby sticks his face out to consider the -real- cat. Boris being ... well, Boris.

It's pretty evident the slinky rose-daemon is not a cat. They look almost identical for cat purposes, except for the fact those brilliant roses woven of the cosmos make up /his/ coat, along with the odd leaf, lots of thorns, and deadly green-violet claws. But the cat who mews and communicates in an octave generally unheard by human ears shows himself amenable to the smaller kitten. He sits and waits. Hello, these big ears would like the scritches too.

The blonde sorceress folds one leg over the other. "Jamie may have intelligence. Rahne's senses are especially sharp but we might need things for those we know less. Julio was going to look in the underground club circuit to check on Julian. Gabby... Gabby is harder. By disposition, she should be able to hide."

Piotr Rasputin has posed:
"Da, Julian would be a good choice if we have good information," Piotr remarks. He then nods to Tabitha, "Agreed." Illyana's remarks are also considered, "I could talk with Kitty and see what she can dig up online for the others. She's got our best technical skills for that approach." He ponders a little more, "Jamie and Rahne certainly also add other layers of perspective. But yes, this is atypical of our usual problem, and so may require an atypical solution."

Boris accepts the hand as tribute and sniffs Jimmy's hand and then looks confused at Bayun, "Brrt?" The large kitten then strolls over to investigate.

James Proudstar has posed:
Jimmy gives Boris a good scritching, and Bayun one in turn, since he waited so patiently, and then he moves to take a seat between Illyana and Tabby, reaching for a piece of one of the cakes available.

"Yeah, Cruel isn't the right word for Scott. Sadistic maybe, but in a helpful way, y'know?" Yes, there's a tiny tinge of humor in Jimmy's voice at that. Even in this potentially dark hour.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
There is a bit of a smirk when Jimmy says that Scott is sadistic in a helpful way, but she certainly isn't going to correct the observation. Instead she shrugs, "This is sooooo..." She lifts her hands, making a bit of a big waving movement, "So far outside my ability to handle. I'm not...a thinker."

Or a plan follower.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
The cat born of Limbo and Illyana swivels a look from Boris to Uncle Piotr. Bayun turns those wide eyes flashing up to the much bigger man and the much littler kitten. Hunching down, the cat crouches with his tail curled around the leg of Tabby's Adirondack chair. There, the kitten may discover what the hell an animated rosebush given feline intellect and other purposes is like. Answer: velvety and thorny.

Illyana listens to Piotr and nods, approving somewhat to that notion. "Kitty would be ideal in this. We need to be sure she is safe, da? See if she can provide information. Look for the last time he used his credit or debit card. Not the type to pay cash. Clubs might be an easy starting point." Her fingers curl around her knee and she hooks her heel back, brushing her foot past Jimmy's as she reorients in the seat to rest on her heel. "If he used telekinesis, then he has a visible halo that could register. The green glow would appear. Still, our assailants have a habit of hitting people independently where they are vulnerable. We can only track his social media so far."

James Proudstar has posed:
Jimmy reaches over and rubs Tabitha's back reassuringly, "You've done all right so far. Believe me, none of us are feeling good about this. World's gone topsy-turvy." He nods to Illyana's suggestions, "At the very least we can check that club he tweeted from last."

Piotr Rasputin has posed:
Piotr listens to the others and nods, "It is not Scott's way. Not by any measure. Nor do I see Jean doing this," he remarks. The Russian man then nods and says, "When I can visit back to our own home I will contact her. Maybe we can use those routes and find answers," Piotr nods to Illy.

Boris trots over and after inspecting Bayun realizes that the velvety is nice, but the thorny is not so much and indignantly stomps off demanding to be held, which Piotr does after setting the cup down.

Jamie Madrox has posed:
"Of course it's not like them. Which doesn't mean anything if they were mentally controlled." Jamie says. "But we got Dani and Roberto's last known position from Cerebro right? If we can trust the Professor, lets see if Jean and Scott were with Dani when she was taken. Or if they were, if they were also somewhere else."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
There is a snort, but it is done with a smile that can only be called fond for Jimmy, "I haven't done //anything//, Jimmy baby. That's the problem." It's a problem when you're used to being the hammer and all problems are nails to be suddenly confronted with a screw.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
"It may not be their way and yet I do not think we dispute Rahne's nose. Or Jimmy's. We have few alternatives to that: shapechangers, doppelgangers, reality manipulation, powerful psionics, magic. The latter I expect to see, considering what I am. We had no traces." Illyana shakes her head, stooped forward for a moment to pour herself more tea from the samovar. "With Julian in action we might narrow down the possibilities. Taking him unawares, not impossible. But if he fights like Berto fought, there should be traces. Harder traces, but something there."

She silently leans back and... well, pats Tabby's chair. Or nape. Somewhere in there. This whole 'comfort other person' thing is something the Demon Queen is terrible at, and it shows, despite the naturalistic surroundings soften to take the blow of being outside human cares. "You will have to be quick about it, Piotr. We've been gone less than twenty minutes, give or take." Her eyes narrow slightly as she surveys the sky, acceding to lolling against Jimmy a few seconds longer. Bayun isn't bothered by Boris prancing around. He sits in the middle and sniffs about. No cheese to be found, sadly. "Tabby, have you considered you know clubs well enough. Where would Julian go first for a hell of a weekend? Where might he take Gabby? They might have been snatched together, but I don't know."