4711/Monsters Together

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Monsters Together
Date of Scene: 13 January 2021
Location: Jubilee and Noriko's Room
Synopsis: Jubilee gently probes Noriko about her incident in the training session ran by Emma. Noriko breaks and reveals some harrowing details of her past with her father. After the clouds part from their conversation and they fair past the iceberg, they break their own rules. Also, there's a NoriBuddha. (WARNING: Discussion of physical abuse and other potentially triggering topics are contained within)
Cast of Characters: Noriko Ashida, Jubilation Lee

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko is sitting cross legged with her jar of 'credit' out.  It's a big plastic pretzel jar that she has recycled to hold the IOU and favor slip receipts for students around the school.  Next to her, on the 'wall' side of her bed, there is a small mount of crinkled one dollar bills and various objects that do not belong.  Aka, they have never been in the room before.  Nothing terribly interesting in terms of money, but perhaps fun if you're 12.

In her midriff tank and short shorts, all pink, Noriko is pulling out and sorting the receipts as is evident by how they are stacking up in front of her.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Suddenly, the door flings open and Jubilation Lee struts on in. She's dressed for time spent outside in the cold -- in her case, that means black spandex shorts, short as all hell, white sneakers, and a yellow hoodie. Her hair is tied back in a ponytail with a few strands of hair clinging to her forehead, a good indicator that some physical activity had just occurred. A large, dark bruise about the size of a softball has ruined the outer side of one her thighs.

    As Jubilee walks further into the room, she gently drags her fingertips against a calendar that was hung on the wall next to the door. It was normally unused and often showed the wrong month. Before leaving this morning, Jubes made sure that it was correct. The upcoming Friday has been indicated by an outline drawing of a heart, done in bold red marker. Sunday and Monday have been X'd out with a black marker. Jubilee locks eyes with the calendar, briefly mourning how many days have not been crossed out. Why the hell did she say Friday and not Thursday or Wednesday? Why not Tuesday? What was so special about Friday, anyway? So smug for a weekday.

    Jubilee stops walking, right there in the center of the room, and stares at Noriko, tilting her head to the side as she does. "Hey," she says softly. Something's on her mind. Well, lots of things are on her mind, but her 'hey' was awfully pregnant with something. Jubes doesn't get any closer, leaving an awkwardly large distance for a conversation.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
When is physical activity /not/ occurring for Jubilee?  Noriko is sure that this is why Jubilee can stay warm.  Of course she has no real concept for how other people experience heat and cold except for observation of how people dress in general during season changes or when they shiver or fan themselves...Sweating is a good indicator too, but it's kind of boring to stare and study what are basically living statues...well /most/.

Noriko stops and looks up from her debt counting to track Jubilee, and maybe her gaze slips, but she has her tricks, even if the brief flashes of emotion and flushed cheeks when she dials down her speed to Jubilee's level is pretty telling.  Deep breath.  Eyes keep flickering the girl's way.  Noriko smiles to herself, something that fades in a tenth of a second when she looks up to see the gulf of things between them, when she registers that tone.

"Heey...Everything okay?"  Bravest two words, since Noriko's shaking inside.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee stares. This is weird for her. Her eyes never, ever lingered on other girls. And yet, her brown eyes trace a path down Noriko's body, slowing at the more exposed areas. She takes a deep breath -- it was meant to steady herself but, instead, it told all her secrets. Once they made their plans, Jubilation's feelings, desires, became allowed. And, in doing so, became more intense. More compromising. More fun.

    "Everything's fine," she says with a firm nod. "Just... three things." She reaches out with her hand and curls her index finger in a 'come here' kind of way. "Can you come here a second?" Okay, so, three things.

    First thing. "...One... you look..." she begins, starting to falter as the sentence forms in her mouth. "...Really hot." The words come out with more air than voice, but she manages to say them. The rise and fall of her chest shows that she means it. "I've wanted to tell you that for a while..." She laughs gently and briefly looks away so she can blush in peace.

    Second thing. "I'm really, really, really looking forward to Friday," she says firmly, turning to stare as she says it. "Really," she says again. It's not a 'really' meant to convince. It sounds more like she forgot one.

    That's two things. She said there are three...

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko holds her breath like she's waiting for-oh.  She grins softly, a playful glint in her eyes as they slip quick to something up and off to the-oh god the curtain burn.  She blinks back to Jubilee and is in front of Jubilee before she can even get to the word second.  Too quick?  Noriko agonizes over every little thing more than she's ever agonized in her life.  But it is nice to have a distraction.  She hasn't turned in her homework for the last three days.  Does she care?  NO!

Jubilee's compliment only causes a smirk that quirks up one side of Nori's mouth.  "I know."  A dash of cockiness to keep her blushing at bay.  Of course she wants to say, 'Speak for yourself,' but it's felt so lame to just be reciprocate in response every time, so she'll save her intent for later.  Noriko just can't help what comes next.  It comes out without any restraint, and she immediately regrets it, "I can't stop thinking about you," okay this part, "Do you know how many times I have to resist just reaching out and touching you?" Eyes pop open and her next flash expression is her lips pursing to the side.  "We can pretend I said that way too fast for you to hear right?" a hint of worry in her eyes.

"I am too...soooo, third thing?" Noriko asks, a step closer.  These things are nice when she doesn't trip over her own limbic system firing who knows how fast.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee's smile becomes toothy at Noriko's confidence. Her braggadocio. Jubes raises her eyebrows and tilts her head forward. Oh really? Her next comment, though, brings a bit of surprise. Some embarrassment. "...Me too," she admits, looking away for a second. She takes a deep breath.

    Jubilee reaches to the waistband of her shorts and uses her fingertips to pull her phone out from the elastic. She tosses it to her bed, not even looking where it lands.

    So, the third thing. Jubilee takes a step towards Noriko and reaches a hand up towards her face. Her palm gently drags from Nori's cheek, past her ear, and then finds a spot on the back of her head. Jubes steps closer and presses her body against Nori's before bringing her other arm around to hug. To hold. To comfort. She doesn't let go.

    "We never got to talk about it," Jubilee whispers. It's true, they didn't. The incident with Ruth. These two were too busy getting distracted with each other. Too focused on lightening the mood that they didn't say what needed to be said. Jubilation squeezes Nori tighter, resting her chin on the other girl's shoulder. "But...we don't have to if you don't want to," she adds, meaning it completely. "I just want to be here with you." Still doesn't let go, as if using the hug to communicate something important.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko's confident smirk renews at Jubilee's mutual admission.  Then her gaze softens a little for no explained reason.  Is this happiness?  It's been so long, but she never questions it, doesn't try to process it.  Her mind is blissfully blank when Jubilee steps closer and she naturally reaches out to wrap her arms around Jubilee's waist.  She has always made sure that none of the edges of her awkward gauntlets don't dig into the other girl, but it isn't the same as those brief times she manages not to wear them.

Jubilee's intentions may be to comfort, but that is not the first thing Noriko experiences.  It's a /different/ kind of electricity is all she can think of.  So used to the domination of her electrical system, it's rare that it is overshadowed, unless food is involved.  Her eyes close, letting out her held breath as she finds solace in the embrace.  Does she care that she's practically inhaling gym stank a thousand times over?  No.

Noriko's breath hitches at Jubilee's words, the only evidence is the blip in rhythm that jumpstarts into something faster and a little wild.  "It isn't the first time something like that has happened," she confesses.  Maybe if they were already apart, Noriko would retreat, draw into herself, but she felt protected at some point, and she fights her urge to run.  Run off into the night to one of her old haunts where she can curl up under a threadbare shitty blanket and shiver on the cold hard ground.  Run off to something familiar, something she knows better than any of this.  Noriko squeezes more, holding on as if she might slip away or somehow Jubilee could leave her behind, still stuck.

"What do you want to know?"  It's like this is something Noriko can't just dive into herself, but she might be able to go into the dark for Jubilee, for something she wants.  Swimming in that dark without purpose feels like being untethered without a sense to ground her.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    As she feels Noriko's grip tighten, Jubilee squeezes back. Her hand gently tangles itself in Nori's hair, softly stroking it. "Only what you want to tell me..." she answers, still whispering. Staying quiet meant that they had to stay close. She presses her cheek against Nori's for no reason other than to increase the comfort she might feel from this. To remind her that she was there. "Could be everything. Could be nothing. Could be now. Could be another time," she explains. "...The other night... Was so great, but, I just..." Jubilee falls quiet for a moment, collecting her thoughts. She had rehearsed this on the walk back to the room but she was understandably distracted. She cares for Noriko on a number of levels and they're all competing.

    "I just want you to know that I care about you," Jubilee adds, settling on keeping it simple. "...I think you know that, we've been friends for so long, but... I don't know, I wanted to make sure you know."

    Noriko would feel a very gentle kiss, not a peck -- but a slow, careful, affectionate stamp of her lips to the other girl's cheek. Jubilee releases her grip just slightly, not really letting go entirely. Just... a gesture to confirm that they really didn't have to talk about it if Nori didn't want to.

    There's a short period of silence followed by two sniffs. "...I kinda stink, huh?" Jubilee adds, grinning a little, still pressing her cheek to Nori's.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
For both of the teens, even this long /is/ so long.  Living on the streets decreases attachments and typically seem to be mostly motivated by needs, especially for Noriko.  But it's not only that.  Noriko felt that immediate feeling of having known Jubilee forever, that rare comfort.

"I care about you too," Noriko says softly and swallows.  Her mouth feels cottony all of the sudden, not a common sensation for her.  These changes come on quickly and there's a strange dissonance to it when she's keeping 'up' with others.  The kiss brings her out of her reverie.  How does she explain what she doesn't understand?  These things that happen that she feels she has no control over?  Like so many things in her life.  Even her damn powers.  There's a tightening of her jaw at that thought which is dissolved the moment she feels Jubilee's kiss.

Nori tries to gather her thoughts again, as if she was ever really gathering them to begin with.  "Yeah," she says as with her eyes half-closed, cheek to cheek.  "I don't care."  She doesn't want to let go.

"Do you want to wash up before...?"  Before they talk?  Noriko remains cryptic.  It could be before /anything/.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee doesn't press the issue. She said what she had to say. As long as Nori knows that she has two ears and a motivation to listen, that was good enough. Jubilation closes her eyes and gives Nori another tight squeeze. She really, really didn't want to let go, but she really didn't smell great. Nori said she didn't mind but then also suggested she get clean. With a dramatic sigh (and smile), Jubilee lets go of Noriko. "I guess I /must/!" she whines, still smiling.

    Jubilee turns and starts walking towards the suite's bathroom, bringing her yellow hoodie up over her head as she walks. It gets tossed onto Mount Unsorted. Now only in the shorts and a white tank top, Jubilee looks over her shoulder at Nori. "Don't leave," she murmurs. It had suddenly occurred to Jubilee that suggesting she go get cleaned up could be a distraction so Noriko could flee. "Please?"

    With that, Jubes slips into the bathroom.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Jubilee said no kisses, no kisses, no kisses, Noriko chants in her mind as she feels Jubilee starting to pull away from her.  She wants to stretch the moment forever, but immediately realizes it just prolongs the aches she is already feeling.  Ugh.  Okay but it's waaay better when she watches Jubilee walking away.  A guilty pleasure, but right now, a distraction from the thought she knows she needs to wrestle in the upcoming stretch of time while trying not to get distracted by thinking about Jubilee, in the shower, because that's what she's doing.

"Hmm?" Noriko's eyes notably snap to Jubilee.  Deep breath.  "Okay.  I won't."  It would have been easier to think if she was running.  It often is.  Noriko disappears to her bed, the sound of the springs squeaking slightly the best indicator for Jubilee that this is where she went.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    And so, Jubilation Lee would spend the next few minutes getting clean, washing away the sweat. She had a funny way of accidentally spending a ton of time in the shower, just mindlessly standing under the water, but this is a quick one. Strangely, she even brushes her teeth, an undeniable sound. No kissing, indeed.

    And so, Jubilee returns to their bedroom wearing a large purple t-shirt with the words FOOD GHOST across the breast and a pair of flannel shorts. Her hair is wrapped up in a towel, tied off like she's done it a million times. She knew that if Noriko had run off while she was showering, she'd never know as long as she came back. That didn't concern her. She just wanted her to be there when she came out of the shower...

    "So..." she starts, finding a seat on the edge of her bed. So indeed.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
The water, even the toothbrushing is extremely distracting.

How does a speedster know if they have missing time?  Generally, they don't.  Snapping out of such things doesn't have any real impact, doesn't leave evidence behind save for disorientation.  She tries to breathe, to keep herself here as she finally focuses in on all the weirdness.  Now, even if she doesn't quite understand consciously why she's doing it, only that she needs to do it.

"There are some things I don't remember," a lot of things and probably for different reasons.  "I like that one," Noriko stares at the letters.  She can't even remember what she's told Jubilee.  Damnit Jubilee!  Okay it isn't really her fault at all.  She just wish it was.

But there are some things Noriko does remember.  "Sometimes it's like..no I am back in Japan, back there...I wish I could take these things off."  But she doesn't dare, not while talking about this, or trying to.  Noriko clenches her sheets, but it's pretty ineffective.  The grip of her gauntlets has always been a struggle.  She looks up at Jubilee, eyes locked but her chest rises and falls rapidly.

"It happens out of nowhere and-I-I don't want-" to go there, but Noriko can't finish it as her throat chokes up before a lamb's tail can shake.  Little crackles of electricity shoot up and down a stream of tears, leaping out of her eyes even until she shuts them tight.  "Sometimes other stuff happens.  I don't even remember if I told you anything about..."  Noriko opens her eyes finally to look at Jubilee again.  "...all the stuff that happened before."

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Two fleshy hands come down to rest on each gauntlet as Jubes smiles at Nori. She watches the other girl carefully, trying to pick up on each little subtlety. Each detail. The smile fades rapidly as Nori begins to get choked up. Jubilee's heart breaks. She cautiously reaches for Noriko's face but pulls her fingers back as the electricity starts traveling. She wanted so badly to wipe away the tears. She tries a twice more, each time pulling back. When Nori closes her eyes, however, Jubilee drags her thumbs against the speedster's tears, cradling her cheeks in her hands. "Nori..." she whispers. "Nori...Stay with me."

    "You...you...Were kind of vague about it," Jubilation answers, her voice losing the momentum from earlier. Her powers are silly at best. She isn't an empath, but... For this, Jubilee could swear that she was feeling Noriko's emotions with her. It was her imagination, of course, but... A pair of tears start to silently trace paths down her cheeks and into her jawline.

    "You can tell me..." she whispers. "If you want to."

Noriko Ashida has posed:
It isn't comfortable.  It never looked like it wouldn't, but it isn't unbearable and isn't damaging.  Noriko's eyes open slightly at Jubilee's whisper, distant, only a dull glow.  It isn't clear whether she's there or not till she speaks, and maybe a part of her isn't. The words leak from her as if she can't hold them in any longer, she can't keep patching the holes when she's just patching patches.

"My father turned my room into a cage when he found out."  Noriko doesn't explain this.  Metaphoric or literal, these aren't things she can parse through, since really it was both.  There's a long silence.

"He drugged me..." swallow.  "He hurt me..." a lot, more ways than one, clearly.  "I'm-" /was/ just, "-a monster to hide."  Noriko doesn't see Jubilee's tears and that's a good thing.  Flashes of memories shoot through her mind.  She's never talked about specifics.  She's only ever talked about her father twice since then.

"I tried to run away before, but-too weak."  Noriko's gone, falling into a glacial stare.  Is this better or worse than the training session?

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    "NO!" Jubilee cries out, her tone betraying her sadness. The hands move from the gauntlets and are thrown around Noriko. Jubilee closes her eyes and presses them against the base of Nori's neck. She shudders a little as crying just seems impossible to avoid. "You're not a monster!" Jubilee squeezes Nori a couple of times, waiting to see if she'd squeeze back. "You're not a monster!" she repeats, trying to get words out through the tears.

    One of Jubilee's hands moves to cradle Nori's head again, entrenching fingers in hair. "You're not!" she says again, her voice now growing in volume. Lips peck against Noriko's cheek, four times in rapid succession. "Listen to me...." she cries out again. Another three kisses on the cheek before she buries her face in Nori's neck again.

    "If you're a monster, then I'm a monster too," she whispers. "Monsters together."

Noriko Ashida has posed:
The haunted vacant look lurks as Noriko is hugged, held, squeezed.  She is prey frozen before a predator that nips at her heels every day, every night it's jaws snapping up out of the lake of her subconscious where she throws everything, hoping it will devour them.  But these things only make it stronger, grow as it eats away at the pieces of herself she sacrifices to the dark waters.  It is a flooded place swallowing things her self will not allow her to remember.  One day all of her will be in all of him and she will be the monster, swimming in dark waters for her prey.

Who has she become?  When Jubilee holds Noriko's head in her hands, there's a recognition, a brief reprieve of that vacancy as she lifts her eyes to Jubilee's.  But there's a heartbrokenness too, swelling hard and fast.

"I am.  I know you won't understand this, but I am," Noriko says, her gauntlets off as she wraps her arms around the other girl.  "You're a good monster though," Noriko plays into it, but a part of her can't help but think she's hurting Jubilee by continuing everything.  Noriko knows she hurts people, hurts herself, and knows she doesn't care.  When will she stop caring if she hurts Jubilee?

These waters are dark and deep.  Noriko can only tread so long.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    With her head held low, her eyes buried in Noriko's neck, Jubilee stands helplessly. Her shoulders slump and her arms relax some of the pull she's using to keep hold of Nori. A soft shuddery sigh can be heard. It's one of helplessness. Frustration. Sorrow. Others in her place might take the bait -- 'you're a good monster though' -- but Jubilee doesn't bite. She pulls her head back so she can look upon Nori. Little bubbles of tears clinging to her eyelids start buckling under their weight and slide down her cheeks.

    Jubilee suddenly SNIIIIIIIIIFFFFSS, one of those awful intakes of air through stuffy nostrils. "...You're wrong," she replies simply. "Whatever you are, I am." Pause. "And we're not monsters." Jubilee stares at Noriko, wanting nothing more than to make this better. Make this right. She could saturate the other mutant in fun and kindness, but could it ever be enough?

    The thought impregnates Jubilee's mind. Her eyes close and her head lowers. A gentle whine comes as she starts to cry again, staring down at the floor. "What can I do?" she asks, her voice shrill and pathetic. "I'll do anything for you."

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Bait was a minor miracle in the fight of her deep urge to push Jubilee away, to run forever until her heart gave out, unreachable by the one of two people in this world she would do anything not to hurt.  But there is no way to not hurt Jubilee, and Noriko knows this as if she always did.  Guilt encroaches like insidious tendrils as it takes over her features.  All of these usurpers tugging and pulling and rending her in a bid of control like vicious childlike demons.

A faint grin appears, Noriko's gaze softens as she rubs Jubilee's back comfortingly.  "I'll be okay," she lies with lifelong expertise.  It's as if it is wrought in some prescient anticipation of Jubilee's question.  But that is only an illusion and this is only another form of hollowness.  More and less functional.  "I've lived with it for a long time."  More than half of her life now.

But Jubilee's question does do something, her sorrow, her devotion.  Just like a snap, Noriko seems to come out of her spell as if summoned for Jubilee by what's left of her aching heart.  "You already have.  I just want to be with you.  I feel safe with you." As the clouds clear from her thinking, she holds the other girl tighter.  "Sometimes I freak out at night."  Sometimes in that waking moment of fear when legs kick out with lives of their own, hers are different.  She realizes she is somewhere else entirely, out at the softball diamond or the woods if she's lucky enough.  But Noriko doesn't know what to say.  She doesn't know how Jubilee can help.  "Can I sleep with you after?"  After she calms down of course.  There's no one who can live with her in that time as it slips by around her racing body.  This is a time when living at velocity, in place, is a curse.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    Jubilee's eyes well with tears and they spill rapidly -- her eyelids just never really had much practice holding onto them. "You don't have to be okay," she says softly once she's able to summon enough air to power her voice. "Just be what you're like..." She's said that before. It sounds like nonsense but perhaps there was something in those words. She didn't want Noriko to put up a front, though Jubilation was hardly one to give advice about that.

    "Be what you're like..." she says again.

    As Noriko's clouds seem to clear, at least on the surface, Jubilee sniffles again and pulls her head back a touch to get a look. "You mean like a sleepover?" she questions, a faint smile forming. There was something absurd about a sleepover among roommates. Suddenly a little nervous as she's forced to inspect her own feelings, she takes a breath and searches for an answer.

    "...What about before?" she shyly asks, her eyebrows rising a little as she watches Nori.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"Then you're going to have to hold a lot of shit, and that's not fair," or Noriko will fall apart fast, not this unraveling she keeps trying to stem by cutting off the threads that keep getting snagged.  But when Jubilee says it again, Noriko breathes in deeply.

"I will try my hardest."  If only Noriko knew who she was.  "I guess I need to figure out what I'm like."  It comes out in a 'lax' quick whisper.

The Japanese girl's faint grin broadens, a genuine warmness in her eyes for Jubilee, something she can feel and leans into.  A sleepover?  When Jubilee puts it that way, Noriko's eyes curl up with gentle merriment.  "Yeah...I'll just discharge before and kick on a timer."  She's so quick and wakes up easily from her hypervigilance that she'll probably kick the alarm off before it disrupts Jubilee's sleep, she hopes.  "I'll probably still be awake anyway."  It'd be so much easier if she could use a phone properly, set a pre-setup timer with one big easy button, but this is too important and she can't rely on being in the right state of mind.  It's a thought that occurs to her multiple times and has before.

"I should test it, but if I'm wearing my gauntlets," Noriko shrugs.  "It happens fast," but its effects are lasting.  "I mean...I shouldn't ask it of you," she says with a shake of her head as if the thought looping around and entwined with others finally escapes some kind of orbit to her mouth.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    "Then we'll hold it together," Jubilee replies softly, managing a smile. "You're not the only one..." That's a vague statement, either referring to the burden that they'll share or the fact that she has her own shit. Or both. Jubes closes her eyes and tilts her head down so her forehead rests gently on Nori's. "...You don't even have to ask..." she whispers, hope filling her tone. She will not be deferred. Her good cheer and enthusiasm for Noriko shines through her tears.

    Suddenly, Jubilee lets Nori go and moves to the side of her own bed. She picks up her pillow and places it off-center to see if two pillows would fit. "Do you like a firm pillow or a soft pillow because I like a soft pillow, but if you prefer soft, then you can use mine..." she starts rattling on and on. "...Or we could share one and just be /really/ close... But, you know, then I might turn over and you choke on my hair or something.." Jubilee looks up and puts her hands on her hips, managing one of her patented grins. "...Decisions decisions..."

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko nods, easily turned back on the trail that Jubilee is paving.  Not outright emotionally or physically pushing Jubilee away isn't the only signal that some part of Noriko wants to not slip away.  "Okay," she agrees as if it were a sacred pact for her, finding the subtext in Jubilee's words immediately, though not pressing to confirm anything.  Her forehead meets Jubes' with the same timing, letting gravity do most of the work so she doesn't have to pace herself to keep with Jubilee's time.  She reaches up between them to brush Jubilee's tears away gently with bare thumbs softened.  Feeling swirl that Noriko just can't articulate, and she knows she wouldn't do them justice anyways.

The vacuum of Jubilee's touch leaving Noriko is almost overwhelming, but she snaps back into the moment in an instance of her time.  "Soft."  Did she just say that so they could be /really/ close?  "That's a chance I'm willing to take.  There are worse ways to die," Noriko says with a little smirk for Jubilee's grin.  "What do you think?"  Oh how she wants to try every position...err.  Noriko's eyes flit upward for a moment.  WHY IS THAT CURTAIN BURN ALLLWAYS IN THE RIGHT SPOT LIKE CREEPY PAINTING EYES FOLLOWING NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE?!  There is no escape, but this time, Noriko just chuckles to herself as if the curtain is now an old pal.

Nori hops (for her) over to Jubilee's bed all the way over from her side, streaming in a blur and knocking into the wall with a laugh.  "Never did that before."  It's not that she couldn't, it's just that it isn't like she can just jump into a body of water or ever had access to anything soft enough for a landing or enough control over her speed powers to make sure she'd have a decent landing.

It's a spurt of playful happiness, a momentary instinct like a bubbly 3 year old finding a joyful hop in their step.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    "I'm not an idiot, by the way..." Jubilee says suddenly. Her tone is gentle, her face relaxed and even smiling a little. She's not accusing Nori of thinking she is. "...I'm not always happy, you know..." Her words come slow, as though she's kicking up thoughts and feelings she usually kept down.

    "I'm sad sometimes, too," Jubes adds. "So... you don't have to hide it when you are. I'm here for you."

    "And I'm not going anywhere."

    With those thumbs wiping her tears, Jubilee's mouth forms a bit, dopey smile. She looks up at the slightly taller girl with eagerness. Her mouth opens, letting out a minty tuft of air. It inches closer and closer to Nori's... But... NO. Jubes takes a breath and makes her way to the bed so she can have her pillow demonstration.

    And so she does.

    "Oh, good!" she says with a smile, looking down at her soft pillow. She returns it to its original position in the center of the mattress. "I think... The rest of the year is going to be...." She thinks of the right words, finds none, and just picks the one that lingers longest.

    "....Tired." Her cheeks fill with color but she doesn't look away. She stares daggers at Nori, meaning the word with such an intensity. They are going to be tired.

    Jubilee's smile grows beyond measure as Noriko suddenly blurs her way over. Her giggle putters out and her smile fades. It's replaced with something else entirely. The top row of her teeth drags against her bottom lip. Jubilee takes a deep breath and moves her hands to either side of Noriko's belly button, her thumbs very gently making contact with her midriff. "I know I said... Not till Friday..." There's a silent 'butt' there.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Unlike with anyone else, Noriko lets Jubilee's words flow past any possible assumptions as if on a river, never touching the dark bottom of her personality.  No biting defense from the stray.  "You hide it," Noriko cuts through just as decisively.  She could have said Jubilee pushes it out as if expelling it, but Nori knows that's just not true, even if she doesn't know how she knows.  The truth is a deep caring has built up alongside those stolen glances, and so a delicate care for the moments in between, the things no one sees because 'no one is watching,' because they are hidden in the microcosms of involuntary expressions.  A violation and a privilege.

"You can be sad.  I know I'm not always here, but I will be.  I promise."  Noriko gives voice to her internal pledge she feels she'd already given long ago, the one that called her back to that car at the gas station, back to the school.

Noriko tries to be patient as everything inside fires for that kiss and after as it floats and fades away with Jubilee's resolve.  Time to complain, her own eyes matching Jubilee's intensity.  "You're making this hard.  I'm going to have to sleepover in the garage tonight."  She's not actually joking, even if it does double duty.

A devious grin sparks onto Nori's face, now on Jubilee's bed, and she uses her arms to push herself up and down so fast that her momentary appearances at her peak make her look like she's a contented levitating buddha.  It last about two seconds and she settles immediately and puts her hands in her lap as if no one was meant to see SkinnyBuddha, but still unable to suppress her exuberant expression.  It's like a strange, buried habit bursting forth as something new, happiness manifested.

Noriko blushes a little at that, but even more as her thoughts return to the meaning of Jubilee's words again, like one feeling lapping the other.  Jubilee will find Noriko's eyes slide shut smooth and quick as the blue-haired girl submits to the sensation of those teeth.  The anticipation of touch for the speedster is torturous on many fronts, but also that much better as she feels her own perception of time slip and slide.  At any moment she could tackle Jubilee and end this discussion.

I'm going to have to sleep in the garage.

Before the implied but can surface, Noriko lunges forward into a kiss like she'd been starving for it for months, years.  It's dizzying, swift even for her, with her hand splayed against Jubilee's sternum and with enough force to push the girl down to the pillow without a chance for protest.  Just as quickly, Noriko pulls back a few inches as she hovers over Jubilee with eyes wide in shock from her own actions.  A pang of guilt flashes onto her face.  Did she cross a line?  Did she hurt Jubes?  Her irises look slightly larger as they flit from thing to thing at strike speed looking for evidence of every shade of damage.

Jubilation Lee has posed:
    The irony of Noriko's stolen glances is that they would have been staring contests if they were moving at the same speed. Maybe they would have gotten to this point sooner. Perhaps it's best they didn't. Sometimes things just work out the way they're supposed to.

    "I prefer not to be... But.." she answers, shrugging her shoulders a little at the thought. But sometimes she couldn't help it. When she was alone it would come but Jubilee is rarely alone -- she has a magnetic pull with people and, well, it's the ultimate coping mechanism.

    Jubes lets out a soft sigh of anticipation. It was hard to stay on the right side of her dumb made up rule. It was meant to stoke the anticipation for their trip to the movies. An attempt to reorder some of the 'firsts' of their strange friendship. It wasn't just Jubilee who was making this hard and the thought passes through her mind almost in perfect synchronicity with Nori. I'm going to have to sleep in the rec room...

    Jubilee squints. Did she just see a bouncing Nori-Buddha? Her smile turns mischievous, almost accusatorial. Surely she didn't just see a bouncing Nori-Buddha! Jubilee's facial muscles relax as her smile turns from accusatorial to contented -- she's happy to see the small demonstration of happiness, even if it's just for two seconds.

    She doesn't have long to think about it because suddenly she's on her back, head pressed to her pillow, and entangled in a kiss with Noriko. She has barely a moment to process it but her breathing quickly becomes beleaguered, like she had been earlier when doing her gymnastics. Jubilee stares up at the recoiling Nori, her eyes wide and her mouth gaping. Her chest rises and falls as she struggles to keep enough air going to her lungs. Enough oxygen to her brain.

    Noriko's unanswered question comes in the form of six words, each dripping with desire. "You're not sleeping in the garage..." she whispers before bringing both hands behind Nori's neck, threading her own fingers together, and then pulling her down...

    They couldn't go one day.