4791/Zombie hunters

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Zombie hunters
Date of Scene: 19 January 2021
Location: Ski resort cave
Synopsis: Julio drags Simon down into the cave near the ski slope to look for zombies and confront him about his attitude, and it turns out he's all outta zombies
Cast of Characters: Julio Richter, Simon Lasker

Julio Richter has posed:
As most of the contingent from Xavier's School are packing up to head home from the ski resort, Julio is instead loitering around a particular park table, fiddling around on his woefully outdated phone, still bundled up for a run on the slopes. He has positioned himself so that it'll be hard to get between Simon's cabin and the bus without passing relatively close to him.

Just as importantly, but a lot less obviously, he has carefully positioned himself over a subterranean ley line. He's still volcanically pissed off about the other student's comments about his dead dad -- not to mention the lesser needling about his recently-ex-boyfriend -- but he's got a better idea how to confront him than just starting a fistfight on a school trip. Better, or possibly worse. It's hard to tell with Julio's ideas, sometimes.

Regardless, he's just casually keeping a lookout for Simon, ready to confront him if he heads anywhere nearby.

Simon Lasker has posed:
Simon heads out of his cabin with his luggage. His stuff is actually pretty mobile, he didn't bring that much with him on this trip after all. He has felt pretty okay about the whole thing, considering that he only went so he wouldn't be sitting around the mansion bored all weekend. Though he would never admit it, he did like having all the people around. Yes even the dorks.

He isn't that surprised to see Julio trying to pick a fight with him. He did bring his dead dad into it after all, but he is surprised that Julio seems interested in starting a fight in front of a crowd. What the heck. What was the worst that could happen? He walked up to Julio with as cocky a stride as he could manage while holding luggage.

"Hey son. Whaddaya want?"

Julio Richter has posed:
As Simon approaches, Julio slips his phone into one pocket and stands. As he does, a pair of bright green motes of light swim into view from under the table. They flit around him like small, darting fish: noticeable to anyone already looking, but not obtrusive enough to draw additional attention.

"We should talk," he answers flatly, boot crunching snow as he takes a single step toward the other student. He doesn't rise to the 'son' comment, and he isn't calling out; he keeps his voice quiet, both to prevent eavesdropping and to draw Simon a little closer to hear. His plan isn't going to work if he strays too far from his current spot, but he also needs Simon to be relatively close by.

As if reading Simon's mind, he continues, "Relax. If I wanted to kick your ass, I wouldn't do it here, in front of everybody." His chilly tone of voice isn't exactly reassuring, and as Simon gets within about six feet of him, Julio makes a gesture, and one of the motes darts into the ground. Fractions of an instant later, a toothy jaw -- immaterial and invisible, except for an outline in that same shining green -- breaches up from the ground and swallows them both, like a caiman snatching a pair of waterbirds from the surface of a lake. There's a gasp from around the resort as both students vanish in a weird light show; so much for subtlety.

From Simon and Julio's perspective, they spend an instant surrounded by a kaleidoscopic, rocky gullet, lit by green traceries that whirl by with a psychedelic effect. Just as quickly as it appeared, the tornado of light and insanity rushes away, leaving them in pitch blackness except for that second mote, which glows but casts barely enough light, as it swoops past Julio's face, to make out his features in the darkness.

"I'd do it here," he announces, finishing his thought from earlier. His voice reverberates hollowly in the damp, freezing cold space they now occupy. Ominous words aside, he doesn't take a step, or make any further aggressive moves.

Simon Lasker has posed:
He did notice the motes. He just didn't really have time to react. The fall would have had him screaming if he didn't wire his mouth shut with pure will. He did briefly reconsider a great number of his life choices in that moment, but he didn't say anything. The moment was to short for much more than a brief moment of panic to run accross his face.

Simon would be lying if he said that being dropped in the middle of a dark cave didn't scare him. That said, he could be scary too. He grabbed Julio's shirt. Knowing that it would be a little harder to leave him behind steadied him. Plus if he had to, he still had something of his own. His eyes lit up with the fiery red of his power -- adding a flickering orange light to the room.

"Well we now have a standoff. I can't do anything too stupid to you, and you can't do anything too stupid to me. You talked crap to me. I talked crap to you. What was so important to say that you gotta do this?"

Julio Richter has posed:
Julio glances down at the hand grabbing his shirt, but it won't be easy to tell that that's what he's doing until Simon's fire etches away a bit more of the darkness. The flickering light reveals untouched rock walls, stalactites and stalagmites like sentinels all around, and a void of darkness stretching away in most directions. "I figured we could at least hunt zombies while we had our little heart to heart," he answers. "Multitasking."

Without warning, he raises one snow boot and brings it down with a loud thump that reverberates through the walls of the cavern they occupy, outlining them for him in his vibrational sense. "I think this is the cave they meant. It's pretty big; runs all through the mountain," he continues in a cold, conversational tone.

Speaking of cold, he quickly tightens his jacket around himself; the dark might not bother him, but the temperature certainly does. "There could be /anything/ down here," he speculates. The dark space before them catches the sound of his voice, alters it, and reflects it as an ominous echo, like a chorus warning them of the dread possibilities before them.

Finally turning to the obvious topic they need to address, he says, "I think there's a little difference between me saying you're a virgin and you talking shit about my dead dad."

Simon Lasker has posed:
Simon is a little confused that Julio would bring him down here with a clear threat of leaving him here. People would be looking for him, but its the thought that counts. "You are sending some serious mixed messages. You are trying to get me to burn stuff while threatening to bury me alive. Besides, how do we know that there are even zombies down here?"

Simon isn't as concerned about the cold. He brings his own heat. He then attemps to transition to putting an arm over Julio's shoulder so that he can look where they are going. Julio would feel warmth comming off him after not too long. Temperatures that are fevers for other people are fine for Simon. He lets out a nervous laugh at the suggestions about what could be down here. "Anything? Even a ride home? Oh wait thats on the surface." He really would not have come down here alone.

"You talked crap about me, and I can't go and talk about the same thing because you had a boyfriend, so the next obvious thing is we talk crap about eachother's families. Thats how it goes. Besides how is saying I slept with your dad talking crap about him?"

Julio Richter has posed:
It's not a wonderfully thought out plan, it's true. Julio was (and is) pissed off, and letting that guide his choices more than any really coherent goals. "It's not about defending my papà," he says, begrudgingly allowing the arm around his shoulder. He doesn't actually intend to leave Simon down here, even if that is part of the implicit threat of the situation.

"I didn't even /like/ him. But it's not like he died of cancer when I was a baby. He was shot right in front of me a few years ago. I got his blood on me." Julio grits his teeth, then stops, turns, and stiff-arms Simon, leaving them separated and facing each other again. "Did you know that? Did you bother asking anybody? Or did you just keep making jokes because you thought you found a weak spot?"

He holds the other student in that standoff for a second, glaring at him, before finally relenting and lowering his arm, muttering, "¿Qué mierda es tu problema? Is it me, or are you this much of an asshole to everyone?"

Simon Lasker has posed:
The sad part is that as an X-resident he ought to know better. Half of them had dead parents. Not being able to go home is part of how you knew if you belonged. He was already starting to feel stupid about the whole thing, but his pride wouldn't let him give in.

Everybody was telling you how you had to be ashamed of this and that. If you let even a little of it into your head, it would tear you apart. It was part of the process of learning to live with being a mutant. So many people in that situation get to feeling like they are monsters. It drags them down till they choke on it. It even happened to Simon once, but never again.

"Yeah, and my family told me not to come home when they found out I was a mutant. We all got crap to go through. And no I didn't ask. I don't do a background check on everybody before I respond to people." He did start to feel for Julio. Shame wasn't something he would ever let himself feel, but mercy maybe. He did want to say something comforting. He doesn't actually like seeing people in pain, but he always has to have the last word, and it often winds up that way.

He chokes on his words. He is overwhelmed a bit at the moment. Fear and anger threaten to swollow him whole. Julio's aside catches him in this moment, and in a moment of weakness something that he would never other wise say escapes his lips. "Sure seems that way don't it" He says it quietly, not really sure if he wants Julio to hear, but the echo and silence of the cave catch it anyway.

Julio Richter has posed:
Yeah, Julio hears. He mulls over the sudden confession for a second before simply answering, "You should work on that." His tone of voice isn't judgmental; if anything, there's a note of sympathy there, maybe even some common ground. He's certainly had to deal with feeling like a monster over the past few years.

Julio trails off and thinks for a few seconds, before continuing, "Papà dying was the worst second of my life. Not because he was a great father, but because they came for me next, and I was tan jodido that my powers came on and I blew up what felt like half a city. I killed a lot of people just because I didn't know what I was doing."

He turns to squint at Simon. "I don't need you to be nice to me all the time. I mostly don't give a shit what people say about me. But I need you to respect that moment."

He exhales a little puff of icy fog in a bitter laugh. "If you had killed a couple hundred people, I wouldn't make jokes about the thing that pissed you off that much. That's not even respect. That's just... self-preservation."

Simon Lasker has posed:
Simon just stares into the darkness in silence for a bit. Julio's frank response earns a bit of a chuckle. (Maybe? it is so brief it is hard to tell.) He hears Julio continue-- unsure if he is supposed to say something. His mouth has gotten him in enough trouble, so he doesn't say anything. Simon has a similar incident, but they all survived. Given how it was the only time he has ever been allowed to hurt anyone, he almost wishes they didn't. That said, most of the folks he hangs out with these days weren't there when he was introduced, so they don't even know about when his powers woke up the first time.

"Got it, no more jokes about your family, and no earthquake jokes."

"I get that, but ya know, the teachers keep telling me how dangerous /I/ am. They spent all that time teaching me how to do everything but fight, and everybody who wants to hurt me still comes at me like I'm a crippled toddler."

He doesn't really want to talk about it anymore. This has been more introspection than he has done in months all at once. "Anyway. So they said there were zombies." after a beat. "Also what does tanyo deedo mean?"

Julio Richter has posed:
Julio stops and stares at Simon for a long handful of seconds, then answers gravely, "It means, 'I don't speak Spanish.'" Maybe he's getting a little bit of his sense of humor back, then. "Earthquake jokes are okay, I think. 'If you see Julio's dorm a-rocking...'" He trails off and frowns. "I can't think of a funny ending. As long as it's not about mass death, it should be OK."

"Hell, even my mom is probably fair game. She kicked me out over the mutant thing so fast, I didn't even have time to tell her I was gay, too." He gives a wan, sardonic smile at finding this sad bit of shared history. "You could probably make a joke out of that."

There's a short silence, after which he says, "Just so you know, I wasn't going to hurt you." Maybe Simon's comment about people coming at him hit a little close to home, and Julio's feeling bad about dragging him down here to intimidate him. "I thought about punching you, for a while," he admits, "but I did this instead."

He gestures forward into the darkness. "Vamonos; I think I feel a ley line up there. We can use it to get out of here. If there are zombies down here, they're boring zombies." After a second of walking in that direction, he adds, "Tan jodido means so fucked, or so fucked up."

Simon Lasker has posed:
".. You were so I don't ... oh heh."

Simon feels a wave of relief at the return of some humor. He was worried that the damp of the cave had started to seep into his soul. "But Julio, if it doesn't bother you a little, it defeats the point of picking on you." See Simon can make friendly jokes too.

He extends a small tendril of flame out to illuminate the path ahead. He lets out a breath when he hears Julio admit to not "I am glad to hear it. You make a terrible monster. You're too nice." Almost to himself he says "Next time punch me. It'd be quicker."

He picks up his bags and follows Julio further into the cave. "You brought me down here without an easy way back? pshh, jodido .." He feels a levity to the moment now.

"You sure you didn't just bring me down here to get me alone with you?" its sort of playful (joking? something else?). He puts his arm back over Julio's shoulder.

Julio Richter has posed:
"You can bother me a little," Julio allows, with a slight snort of amusement. "I'm just letting you know where the line is. I make a pretty good monster, pretty easily," he continues, flatly contradicting Simon in an even tone of voice. His momentary shiver might be at a memory, or just a consequence of the chill. "I've been trying to do things the hard way."

Once Simon has his bags, Julio leads him around another cluster of stalagmites and a very still, shallow pool of water, to a spot that looks no different than any of the other areas they've been through. Dark, cavernous, echoing. As he comes up short, staring intently at the ground, in the near distance they can both hear a distinct, loud splash.

Julio's head snaps up and he stares at Simon, obviously more than a little freaked out, and wraps his arm around him in turn. The mote of green light that has been flitting around him all this time dives into the ground, and a moment later that weird glowing outline of a caiman creature rushes up to swallow them whole again.

Once again, they transit briefly through the psychedelic tunnel, but when it whirls away, instead of being back at the ski lodge, they're in the backyard of the school, a reasonably short walk from the back porch.

Julio lets out a breath and sags slightly. "See?" he says, reassuring himself as much as Simon. "I had an easy way out. Just needed to be in the right place."

As he drops his arm back to his side and steps back, he takes another breath or two to steady himself. Giving Simon a quizzical look, he finally replies, "If I wanted to get you alone, it worked. But if I wanted a date, it wouldn't be instead of a fistfight."

Simon Lasker has posed:
"Just take the compliment Julio" Simon sighs. They eventually stop and simon looks expectantly at Julio. He startles at the splash "Very funny." He tries to keep his voice even. He isn't trying to get out cooled now.

When they get out of the tunnel Simon puts his arm in front of his eyes as he adjusts to the light. "Ahh ah thats bright." Simon chuckles. "Okay, okay. I know when I'm not wanted." .

He starts walking blinking back to the mansion, and replies awkwardly "Well thanks for the ride. I don't know if I could have survived another four hours of ukelele singalong."