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Date of Scene: 09 January 2021
Location: Jubilee and Noriko's Room
Synopsis: Jubilee helps Noriko rest after her episode in Emma's training class, but Noriko doesn't let Jubilee get her food. They talk, but talking is horribly difficult, and in the end decide focusing on other things is easier.
Cast of Characters: Noriko Ashida, Jubilation Lee

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko was taken down to the Medical Lab down in the secret part of the campus down below the school, but it didn't take her long (comparatively) to get regulated and recover enough to be released to rest in her room, something she kept asking for down in that horror show of a lab.  How anyone who has been experimented on can stand it in there is beyond her.

The girl is tucked into her sheets, lighter than the standard issue.  This is probably the longest she's slept in it anyways, given that every night after curfew she intersperses nightlight reading with catnaps.  She's hugging one of her batteries like it's a teddybear when she rouses.  She reaches up to rub her eyes.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Twing. Twang. Jubilation sits at one of the wooden desk chairs -- standard student furniture -- and absently finger plucks her ukulele. She's leaned back with her bare legs propped up on the desk and crossed at the ankle. Twing. Twang. She's plucking with her palm slightly muting the strings so it wouldn't disturb Noriko's sleep. She just needed something to do, something to focus on, so she didn't lose her mind. Twing. Twang. She's blowing bubbles with her gum, naturally, but that's about it. Every few moments, Jubes lifts her eyes to check on the sleeping roommate.

    When Nori stirs, Jubilee suddenly leaps out of her seat, sending her ukulele to the floor. As it lands, the strings ring out in discord but she doesn't care. She doesn't even notice. "Nori!" she cries out, lunging for the speedster's bedside. "You're /awake/! Can I get you anything?"

    Jubes starts rattling off everything that she thinks might be comforting. "Candy? Water? Soda? Pudding?" she tries, counting off on her fingers. "...Bananas?" She says that last one like she's expecting it to be the winner. "...I could get you batteries from somewhere?" She sighs softly, getting desperate. "What do you want?" she asks, her tone suggesting that she'll go to the ends of the Earth.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko smiles when the soft, familiar plucks of Ukes reach her ear and even more so when Jubes reaches her bedside.  What Noriko really wants, she won't say, but she will move further down her list.  "Bananas in vanilla pudding?" But she reaches out with her gauntlet, palm to the ceiling.  She'd be happy just to hold Jubilee's hand, even if she did just request bananas and pudding.  "Get this off me?  Please?"  Yeah, that's the English word 'she can never remember.'

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Yeah, when all musical instruments are lined up and compared, the venerable ukulele is a relatively easy one to have played in the room within earshot. Many other instruments are annoying, jarring, but Jubilee's ukulele is a comforting one, especially when palm-muted. "Bananas in vanilla pudding!" she repeats excitedly. "...That sounds great, actually!" She might have to bring back enough for both of them, but, first... the gauntlet.

    Jubilee's fingers trace down the gauntlet, starting at the elbow and working their way to Noriko's wrists and hands. Each section is undone in sequence, each clasp released, until the whole thing slides off and plops onto the bed. Uninvited, unasked, Jubilee parts her fingers so she can thread them with Noriko's. The pudding will have to wait.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Jubilee's enthusiasm has always been a balm for the more jaded girl.  It brings a brightness to her eyes.  She angles her arm so it is easier for Jubilee to get to all, though curiously, the way she situated her palm before wasn't the best angle.  It seems like Jubilee got the signal or didn't need to.

Noriko's fingers lace through Jubilee's.  Noriko squeezes.  There's less buzz right now to the speedster's touch.  "What happened?"  A look of guilt washes over her.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee's hand squeezes back. Simple. Soft. "...I...I don't know," she answers honestly, her smile fading a touch. "...We were at Emma's fighting...class..." Her tone shifts considerably. Emma's name is said with traces of venom, while the word 'class' was almost a question by itself, as though Jubes was unsure. "...She had you fighting Ruth and..." Jubilee takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. "...Suddenly you were on the ground..." Jubilee stares, trying to make sense of it all.

    Suddenly, she releases Noriko's hand and bends forward so she can bury her face in the other girl's cheek, almost leaning all of her weight on her. A hug but lying down.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"I don't remember that," Noriko breathes out, eyes downward.  This isn't the first time something like this has happened.  "So I won?"  A joke, but really a diversion, for herself and for Jubilee.  A coping mechanism.  She tries to parse Jubes' tones but finds it kind of draining to attempt at the moment, nor does she want to pick at anything that might make Jubes upset.

Noriko wraps her freed arm around what she can of Jubilee.  "And if I didn't, you kicked Ruth's butt for me?" she whispers fondly, not wanting to let go.  "Are you okay?"

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee reaches up and rests her palm against Noriko's cheek, her fingertips gently tangling in the other girl's hair. She leans over a little so her nose, eyelashes, and cheeks press against Nori's face. It's all sending fairly intimate signals, even compared to the couple of kisses they've exchanged. "...Yeah..." Jubes murmurs, laughing a little into Nori's neck. "...You won."

    Was she okay? Jubes briefly experiences a pang of guilt. Noriko was asking about HER? Jubes sighs softly, still not lifting herself. "...Yeah, I...I was just worried about you. I don't want another roommate." She laughs softly, but... there's something in those words.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko's own fingers thread gently through Jubilee's hair as she relishes the intimacy as if it were her last sip of water in a desert.  She grins softly at the other girl's gentle laughter.  "Good."

"You got lucky the first roll of the dice," Noriko teases, in a way.  She stays quiet in the wake of their words, basking in the singularly engaged sense of touch.  "I don't care about the pudding."  Yet she feels as if she's drawing away, if Jubilee lets her.  It becomes clearer that she's making room for Jubilee, still reaching out for her.

"We can set an alarm?" she asks quietly.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    In reality, Jubilee had thrown herself into the circle, putting herself in between Ruth and Nori and even made a move meant to ruin Ruth -- she'd have to apologize for that when it was possible -- but Emma had put a stop to it. Luckily. There was no reason to fill Noriko's mind with all of that right now.

    Jubilation's body tenses as she feels Noriko start pulling away. She stiffens her arms to try and prevent the movement. They needed this, she was so sure of it. But... oh. Jubes lifts her head and stares. A nervous gulp trace its path down her throat. After taking a breath, Jubilee reaches for the end of the covers and slides in next to Nori. Clunk. Clunk. Two sneakers fall to the floor as Jubilee's legs go under the material. After another nervous hitch of air, Jubes lowers her face so her cheek presses against the other girl's.

    Holyshitsholyshitholyshitholyshit. "...Yeah..." Jubes answers quietly. Holyshitsholyshitsholyshit.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
It feels like a gamble to Noriko's body to pull away.  Her heart beats faster as she waits for Jubilee's response.  In reality, how could she ever think Jubilee wouldn't want to?  The doubt is another peek into her mind unwittingly laid bare in the silence that stretches after the invitation is given.

Noriko takes off her other gauntlet and tosses it over Jubilee where it CLANKS onto the ground.  "Can you set it so I don't screw it up?  Maybe check in two hours?"  Nori has never done this before.  She's playing it safe.  She wants nothing to do with Jubilee pulling away from her for any reason though and would let out a faint grunt of protest if she does.  "I don't want to let you go but I also don't want to have to let you go..." the words trail out of her mouth softly as she nuzzles Jubilee.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilation turns and looks over her shoulder as the gauntlet clanks against the floor. She slowly fills her lungs with air and lets it out slowly, carefully, and ... isn't calmed. She tries it again. There's an urge to tell Noriko she's nervous. Jubes holds it back. The only words that come from her mouth aren't even for Nori. "....Miri, set an an alarm for two hours!" she says with some authority. There's a chirp from the waistband of her shorts, where her phone pokes out.

    "It would be my honour! I said it with a 'u' like they do in England!" a vaguely synthetic voice comes from Jubilee's phone. It's Miri, one of those smart assistants.

    Jubes frowns gently at it. That wasn't exactly a confirmation that an alarm was set, but... She really, really, really, really didn't want to fuss with this any longer. The phone is tossed to the floor where it find a home next to the gauntlets and Jubilee's sneakers.

    With that settled, Jubilee tries to relax and settle in next to Nori. "...So don't," a reply comes. Jubilee's arm slides across Nori's belly and pulls her close. What the hell is going on? That's a question that flies through Jubilee's mind. Why did it take us so long? That's the second question.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko glances down at Jubilee's waistband, nervously following the instinct to look where a sound is coming from.  Then her eyes snap back up to Jubes.

Miri's response troubles Noriko, so she asks, "Miri, what alarms are set?"  She doesn't sound as authoritative as Jubilee does.

"Yes!  You have alarms set!"  Alarms?  Does Miri even count them?  Or is that Jubilee's morning alarm too?  Noriko feels a little fuzzy and distracted so she just assumes they are all set, even if Miri doesn't feel like reporting the times right now.

"I swear she just picks random responses," Noriko theorizes to fill the tense seas of silence she experiences as her concentration slips.  Of course things don't work that way.  It doesn't fill up anything for her, so she uses the stretched moments to calm herself and regain her concentration, kind of.  She scoots in close to Jubilee.

"I had a dream about you..." Noriko confesses quietly.  "It was like this...but not as good...well we got to sleep a whole night.  Wishful thinking."  She puts her arm over Jubilee's in parallel, fingers seeking to thread through Jubilee's.  Her improved thermal homeostasis keeps her warm, warm enough to keep them both warm.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    The spandexy shorts from the karate demonstration had no pockets, so waistband is all she had available. The best of a bad situation. Jubilee's eyes close. "Miri is the absolute /worst/!" she groans. "I hate her so much." They might have an alarm. They might not. It is honestly a coinflip. She takes a deep breath through her nose -- moments ago she was scared, but now? Content.

    Jubes shifts after hearing the confession. A grin fills her face, her eyes opening. She leans back a bit so she can look at Noriko. "Reeeealllly?" Jubes squeals. "Was I all Freddy Kruegery?" Whatever that means. She leans into Nori, as if doing so enhanced her teasing. Nudging.

    "You don't want to hear about my dreams. Sometimes...." she murmurs. "...Like an Amish girl on ramspringa." Ominous silence takes over. And then... Jubilee laughs and laughs and laughs. It's party nervousness and partly just abject surprise that she said that aloud.

    Changing the subject... "Remember when Jean brought you here? When you got to the school?" Jubes asks softly. "I think you hated me so much."

Noriko Ashida has posed:
They'll find out.  Either the alarm will let them know, Nori will be awake again, Noriko's rising baseline buzz might wake Jubilee, or Jubilee will cook like a frog in a pot!  Who knows!

"Yeeeah," Noriko is smiling to herself when Jubes looks back, her cheeks lightly flushed.  It's a nice change from how she looked when Emma was carting her down to the Medical Lab.  At the nudging, Noriko takes a deep breath.

"I don't even know what that means."  Noriko's knowledge has finally found a limit!  Perhaps she just never wanted to watch movies about Amish girls.  Go figure, but Jubilee's laughter is infectious, and Noriko can't help but smile and squeeze.

Noriko stays quiet for probably longer than expected after Jubes changes the subject and her reply is a touch more somber than a moment ago.  "I liked you.  I just didn't want to be here.  Plus I think I was actually still going through withdr-My time of the month?"  Long time of the month.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    "I /was/?" Jubilation questions, her eyebrows rising. "...So, my face was all melted off like a burn victim! And I had knives on my /hands/?" She grins from ear to ear, both sets of teeth visible as she drives the point home. Freddy Krueger was not high on the list of flattering dream subjects.

    "Ramspringa?" Jubes questions. She takes a breath, her own cheeks filling with color this time. "...It's this thing that Amish kids do. They all leave their homes to figure out if they want to be Amish. It usually turns into..." Her cheeks fill with air, no longer wanting to keep explaining. "...Well, you could guess."

    Nori's somber tones manage to catch Jubilee, but she was intent to not let it linger. "...Do you want to be here now?" she asks quietly. Her tone suggests that she's expecting, or at least hoping for, some sort of affirming answer. Something that would make her blush.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"I think I would have woken up if you were, but yes.  Yes you were," Noriko decides in retrospect.  "I think I was Edward Scissorhands so I guess it was kind of a wash," she says cavalierly, wiggling the tips of her fingers up near her chin at Jubilee.

"Burning Man?"  Someone taught Noriko about that one.  She keeps at these moments as if they will keep the air light, but eventually the mood comes back to haunt her.

"With you?  Yeah...Always."  There's no hesitation in that.  Hopefully Noriko doesn't disappoint, but the words are true and not a line when she whispers it.  She breathes deeply.  "I just wish things could be easier."  She knows they can.  "I mean I know they can..." but curiously, she sighs.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    "So, like, I was stalking you through a super scary boiler room and ...." Jubes takes her hand, the one not threaded with Nori's, and gently pokes her in the belly with four fingers in a Nightmare on Elm Street stabby-stab gesture, giggling happily as she does. "...It was like that?" She leaves her fingers there but presses them flat, rather than just the finger tips. "I'm personally glad I'm Freddy in this dream... Though..." She playfully taps her fingertips against Nori's stomach. "...Edward Scissorhands was super cute...." Her words linger there, as if she's trying to make it clear that she's really talking about Nori.

    Sure, Jubes set up something of a trap that she wanted Nori to spring with that question, but Nori sprung it perfectly. Jubes closes her eyes and leans back down, nestling her head next to Noriko's on the pillow. "Things will be easier," she promises. "I don't know what things you mean, but they'll get easier."

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko gives Jubes a patented scared Edward look, her mouth drawing down, eyes filled with innocent worry at the jab.  She can't quite pull it off, but it's not her fault.  She just doesn't look like Depp.  The look is dropped like a hot potato when she feels Jubes' fingers flatten against her belly.  Noriko's free fingers touch Jubes' cheek suddenly and softly, stealing a quick peck...quick-quick with a small burst of exuberance, but not her normal instinctive pacing.  She's not back up to normal charge after all, so maybe Jubilee will see it coming.

That light buzz trails down to Jubilee's neck.  Noriko softly brushes her thumb back and forth across Jubilee's jaw, sweeping just under her ear.  She's so used to having her hands entombed in those gauntlets all day and night.  This is a rare treat.  There are lots of soft things like Rogue's dog Jeepers or Ruth's dog MacTaggart, but /this/ is where her fingers want to be any day or night of the week.

Noriko averts her eyes down a little and nods.  She believes that not to be true.  The girl has increased in her abilities around her speedy powers, but the other half of the equation hasn't really balanced out for her.  Even kids transferring in later than her or behind her in their grade have been lapping her in that kind of improvement.

"I used drugs to suppress my powers before I got here."  It's probably how Noriko wasn't flaring up in Cerebro.  "It's how I kept other safe.  I didn't need those..."  /Those/, as if they should not be named.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee's hand stays on Nori's belly -- she's either unaware or playing dumb as far as the sudden reaction to it. Her mouth curls into a delighted smile as Noriko comes in to deliver a peck. It didn't have the intensity of what has come before, but each little thing meant something. Jubes uses the top row of her teeth to bite down on her bottom lip, still smiling.

    When the speedster's thumb traces its path across her jaw and below her ear, Jubilee holds her breath. The buzzing, the touch, it's all so new and she's just drowning in it. Undoubtedly, Noriko could see Jubilation's unashamed reaction to this: her eyes close lazily and her mouth opens to make room for a single heavy exhale. She even, for a moment, tilts her head back and presses it against the pillow, inviting more of this.

    When Jubes comes back from this, it's like she's punch drunk. Noriko's confession about drugs...well, Jubes is paying attention but her mind lingers on what just happened and what has her cheeks warm with color. "...Y-yeah....I know," she replies, her voice sympathetic. "...But I don't think they'll want you taking drugs..." Her head turns away and her eyes open. She's staring at the gauntlets on the floor.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko is a bit mesmerized by Jubilee's reaction, from the biting of her lower lip which causes a sharp sounding inhale to how she responds to the speedster's touch.  In that moment, Noriko feels bold, until she drags herself down, like her own confession just shut off the lights.

Don't ruin it.  Don't ruin it.  DON'T NORI, she chants in her mind as it churns with feelings conflicting with her desires.  She takes a slow deep breath and admits, "I don't really care anymore.  I tried it their way.  It doesn't work.  I don't work.  I'm broken and continuing to try is just...just.."  Maddening.  Hurting.  Making her feel even more worthless than her loved ones in the past have, as if it confirms it somehow.

"Sorry.  I'm just ruining this."  Noriko goes limp, her hand still across Jubilee's neck and she idly strokes, softly, repetitive.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    This was better than a hug. Easier than a kiss. Profoundly better than sleeping. And to think it was all started by a back scratcher. Jubes apparently got what she wanted, more of Nori's charge buzzing down her neck. She squirms a little, pressing herself against Nori's form, pulling her close as her foot gently slides along the top of Nori's.

    Continuing to try is just...just...

    "Brave," Jubilee murmurs into Noriko's ear. Her eyes remain closed. She's pulled Nori out of the dumps in the past, either by accident or on purpose, but... This time is a bit different. They're walking an unknown path now.

    "You're not ruining it..." Jubilee whispers, her eyes still closed.

    "Just be what you're like," she adds softly. "You're my favorite person, Nori. My best friend."

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Something's brewing inside Noriko like that deep sadness the day of the backscratcher.  Her eyes flick to the burnt curtain.  She looks tired.  The last 4 years have been rough, and even rougher before that.  She didn't have much to give when she got to the school, and she's afraid she doesn't have much to give Jubilee in any sense of the notion.  No, she believes it.  But she smiles anyways.

Noriko doesn't say anything.  She's all out of words.  The girl's wistful eyes close as she is drawn close.  The contact is enough for her to surrender to Jubilee's interpretation in this moment, or try to, to put it out of her mind.  To not tell Jubilee that this /is/ what she's like...inside.  Sweet sweet distraction.  Sweet sweet Jubilee.

Fingers thread through Jubilee's hair as Noriko moves to kiss the girl.  It's no slower or faster than a normal kiss, but Jubilee would know, it's slow for Noriko. Though it is still an impulse, one followed through with care and measure.  "You're my favorite person too," she breaks the kiss to whisper, "Well you tie with my brother."  Smirk.  "Just in different ways."  She is, of course, joking, but perhaps a sign of relief that Jubilee has insisted she hasn't ruined it, this.

Nori grins, whispering, "You're trying to drive me crazy aren't you, make me kill everyone in the school?"  She moves in swift and smooth to playfully nip where she was just caressing.  Perhaps Jubes' efforts were a success!

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Both girls have their demons. Jubilee's might be a bit easier to tamp down, but they were there, taunting from within. Since coming to the school, Noriko has given Jubilee something no one else ever has: a refuge. There she goes again, that Jubilee, with a smile on her face and a song in her heart. The sun is shining and the birds are chirping. Zip-a-dee-do-da. Or something less lame. Nothing bad's ever happened to her. She wore a smile like a scarlet letter. But, she finally found someone she could just relax with. She didn't have to be perpetually happy. In that way, Noriko brought everything to the school, to Jubes. She could be, as Jubilee said, what she's like.

    Jubilee's eyes stay closed. She returns the kiss with enthusiasm, with contentedness. She smiles slightly as Nori returns the sentiment, even letting out a silent smirk as she's compared to the brother. The nipping at her neck, though? That's enough to cause her brain to short circuit -- figuratively of course. For a few blissful moments, Jubilation's mind fills with an image of Xavier's where the only two there are her and Noriko. She smiles.

    And so, in the middle of all the burdens that mutants carry, and the gregarious facade that Jubilee liked to present to the world, a teenager's heart beats. Still a teenager. And so, her response comes in the form of three simple words said from teenager to teenager for as far back as anyone could remember...

    "Wanna make out?" she asks softly, hesitantly, even shyly as her eyes open. They've kissed, caressed, and are apparently sharing a bed. But, there's something special about putting it to words, as if the act itself would shed away the pain of being mutants and just enjoy a normal moment.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko might dig Jubilee out of her brightly painted smiley face on the top of her turtle shell (imagine that gymnasticing around!) but that would require her to get her head out of her own quicksand, and she needs to put her mask on first before helping others.  Still, Noriko wouldn't trade Jubilee for any other version, though vampire version might be a laugh.  She never wanted Jubilee to be anything but herself.

Noriko has just sort of stumbled through the moments until now.  Perhaps her brief moments of smoothness are just happy accidents.  THEY ARE.  She gazes lazily at her roommate?  What are they now?  Well she knows they are at least that.

Wait.  Can Jubilee read Nori's mind?  The electrokinetic briefly ponders this.  It's a single speedster cycle before she responds /waaaay/ too quickly and eagerly (for multiple reasons).  "YES."

The whole idea hits Noriko like a breath of fresh air, like she got something out of that mask that dropped down and wants to return it tenfold to the hesitant, suddenly shy girl there with her.

It begins first with a grin.