7146/A Spark Fades

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A Spark Fades
Date of Scene: 30 July 2021
Location: New Hope Hospital
Synopsis: Jean meets Rogue, Shan, Noriko, and Gabby at the local hospital where Jean has to identify Jubilation's body and break the news.
Cast of Characters: Noriko Ashida, Gabby Kinney, Rogue, Xi'An Coy Manh, Jean Grey

Noriko Ashida has posed:
The teachers didn't find out till this afternoon that one of their own students was missing...all night and all day long.  But Noriko showed up looking like her hair never had a dance with gravity since the evening before, and neither did her eyes or mind.  The normally keep-her-cool speedster was a frantic mess when she finally reported to Rogue and hasn't left the woman's side.  Not since they started calling hospitals and homeless shelters and all of the shops in Salem Center.  And they found a Jane Doe that matches Jubilation's description all too well at a hospital all too close to home.  Well Rogue knows this at least.

Why would they need to go to the hospital to check if it was Jubes?  Wouldn't the all seeing Eye of Sauron know where Jubes was as Noriko so affectionately refers to Jean in private company.  It doesn't even matter.  They're in the car and Noriko hasn't said anything the entire trip.  She looks over to Gabby, eyes twitching faster than a human can track.

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney could feel the tension of those around her as if it were crawling over her skin. It wasn't that she was empathic so much as she could sympathize rather well with the situation: There was a possibility one of their own, a friend, was hurt or worse. She'd lost enough sisters to know what that fear of the unknown felt like. Even worse when it was corroborated. For now though there was still the hope that it would be fine, one way or another. When Rogue looks her way she offers a tight-lipped smile in an attempt to be reassuring. "Bushwick isn't that far from China town, you know. Lots of Asian folk there that could fit Jubes description. I mean, not that I'm wishing something on someone else or even on Jubes but I'm just saying that we shouldn't think the worst just yet."

Rogue has posed:
Rogue and Nori had gone to Charles who was between meetings for the upcoming school year. It was about to be busy at the start of August with new student parents coming to the mansion to get a personal tour of the grounds pre-school year... but Charles had time to see the two for a few minutes.

During that, the news came up of a Jane Doe at the hospital and it was the snapping point to get the women on the move to check in on the lead...

On the way out of the school, Rogue and Nori ran in to Xi'an and invited her along, as well as Gabby who may or may not have overheard what was going on along the way. The SUV in the garage was grabbed up and the team was on their way to the nearby town of Salem Center and its medium sized hospital!

The car ride is quiet, though the radio is on low. ITs hot as hell out too, but the AC is blazing!

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Shan was on hand. So it is Shan who was called. Perhaps this is for the best. Shan has seen more awful things than the average; they are not putting horror in a fresh mind.

She had immediately put Leong in charge of the library and given him authorization to obtain food for himself and Nga for the night. (This may be one of the ways in which news gets out.)

And after that, she came. She hustled.

She is still in a T-shirt with an Art Noveau book cover print on it, as well as a pair of shorts in deference of the heat. She wishes she had worn more, but that is the way it is. There is a faint hint of purple round her head occasionally. (Mentally, she is doing the equivalent of holding Rogue's hand briefly in passing.)

She answers Gabby easily. "We shall see when we get there. I am glad you are with us, Gabrielle," uh oh it is serious. "I am sure we will know one way or the other, between all of us."

Shan looks towards Noriko. "How are you doing?"

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"How do you think I'm doing?  I'm going to see if some woman who is too screwed up to know or tell people who she is is my girlfriend."  Noriko responds not unlike an abused animal already putting up her defenses.  "Sorry," she mumbles in her next breath, which comes rather quickly along with a fleeting, but sincere look to Shan.

"I just...I went there last night.  They didn't have anyone then.  That means..."  Noriko tries to swallow but her mouth sticks like cotton.  "How much longer?"  This isn't the first time she's asked for an eta.  "Did they say how long they'd had her?  Or what state she was in?"

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney glances over toward Shan giving her a solemn nod. This was perhaps one of the few times she was being rather quiet overall. "I'm just glad I was around to be here," she points out quietly before her attention shifts back to Noriko. Reaching out she places her hand on Nori's shoulder giving it a squeeze. "It'll be okay. We'll get our answers." Then she pauses with her face scrunched into a thoughtful look. There were adults here of course. She shouldn't have to offer, but she does, by blurting out, "Let me go in first to check, okay? If it's not then you won't have to worry. If it is then... I mean. At least you'll know before going in for sure."

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean was not at school when someone first checked in with her; she was in the city at another of her frequent conferences or workshops, no doubt focused on some aspect of psychology, educational theory, or the like, the various things she's obsessed with bettering herself in as part of her quest to be the ultimate school headmistress lady. Nonetheless, when she gets something urgent on her phone, she excuses herself partway through, and starts driving back upstate.

It's a little bit of a trip back to Westchester, and whatever message she receives doesn't convey the necessity of taking a shortcut by flying. Still, she's still a surprisingly fast driver. Sometimes she does cheat a bit.

Thus, the timing is such that she arrives at the hospital separately of the group from the school, although perhaps at around the same time. She's parked out front, and managed to go inside, making it as far as the front desk reception where she's speaking with the nurse on duty there, (politely) grilling her for whatever information she has. Her demeanor seems calm, although it is easy to imagine that she'd fall into the expected role of stoic, reassuring figure, there to reassure and comfort her students and younger colleagues.

Rogue has posed:
Admittedly Rogue is pretty freaked out about this too, but she's trying to keep it hidden for Nori's sake. The evidence is piling up that something bad has happened and she's not sure how to process it well either. So she's just quietly driving the SUV to the hospital. With her sunglasses on she's just quietlys itting there.

"We're almost there." She says just moments before they round the corner to the green grassy hill that the Salem Center hospital rests upon.

Within moments they're pulling up to the open lot spots and are arriving. She doesn't comment on Gabby going in first or not, she'll let them figure that out.

Exiting the vehicle, Rogue walks with the others in to the building and Jean is already there. Rogue reaches up to remove her glasses and hook them in to her shirt hem. She runs her hand through her hair and walks toward the Headmistress. "You're fast." She says softly.

A glance is given to the counter. "Any word yet?" She asks then.

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
"It's OK," Shan answers Noriko. "I understand. You need make no apology."

"I wish only to tell you that you are not alone, whatever may be. I can make no promises of what we shall find. But I can tell you that this will not change. All of us are here for you, and even if all should turn out happily... that is still true."

As they pull into the hospital, Shan glances at Rogue for a moment, then to Gabrielle. "Good idea. Here:" The purple quasi-ionization around Shan's head pulsates for a moment, then dims. Psi-link Shan (who sounds exactly as French-ish) tells Gabrielle: <<Let me know if all is well, eh?>>

After the travails of Parking, Shan walks in, pausing only momentarily to glance at her cell phone due to some obscure update. At the sight of Jean, she settles one standard tension interval, folding her hands loosely at her back and remaining more or less proximate to Noriko.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
The information Jean receives isn't bright or cheery.  Not that Jean would expect it to be.  She is asked to wait while a doctor is retrieved who informs Jean that what they need is for someone to identify the body of the Jane Doe as Jean is Headmistress and someone they expect to facilitate or identify the body herself.  The staff tries to be as delicate as possible, but really, they go through this far too often than humans should have to and have their own gruff ways of dealing with the horrors of their jobs.  A young woman the doctors couldn't save?  With so much life ahead of her?  A part of them hopes Jean and whoever came can identify the girl, a part of them sinks with the thought and that it sprung up at all.

Awful business.

"No.  Let's just go in together.  There's the headmistress," Nori's rapid eye movements pick up.  As soon as they stop though, this idea of going in together gets thrown out the proverbial window for  the next few moments.  She shoots out of the car over to the headmistress and looks up at her expectantly.  "Where is she?  What floor?"  That's all she feels she needs to go find Jubes, obviously, if she's here.

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney glances back at Shan gratefully at the telepathic link up. Just as she's giving a mental affirmative though, Noriko zooms off toward Jean. A single deep breath is taken and let out slowly. "Well, either way, guess we need to go check it out." Is what she says outloud. Mentally Shan might get the thought of (Wish I could spare her from this) in regards to what they might find beyond those hospital doors.

Jean Grey has posed:
When Rogue and company arrive, Jean turns to look back toward the entrance even before they come in - emotions are running high and that makes her a little more aware of everything, everyone. "Hi. Well, it's... we can't be sure yet." She offers a faint twitch of a smile, again mostly a sign of reassurance more than anything, although it's brevity suggests the difficulty in maintaining such a thing. However, with Noriko as impatient and quick as ever, appearing promptly at her side, she's denied the opportunity to openly discuss it while keeping things delicate. Her first instinct, under pressure, is in fact to 'cheat,' tapping in to the other adults and leaving the kids out of it. << They brought in someone in who might match Jubilation's description, but she didn't have ID, so they need someone... to do the identification. >>

Indeed, even then, in that carefully controlled communication, she omits saying it outright, although the implication is clear.

But this little workaround hardly changes anything. She can't just tell Noriko nothing, as she stands there. It's buying time for herself, at best. "We don't know if they have her, for sure," she finally offers, when she's sure she can do it without betraying too much worry in her voice. All that effort at 'leveling up' aside, there's nothing that really prepares you for something like this. "Because they can't-"

She stops, and starts again. "They want me to go identify someone they found. Maybe- maybe it's better if you stay here." A beat. "But it's up to you. I'm going to go now."

Rogue has posed:
Rogue just stands off to the side as the others talk and the issue is laid out. She crosses her arms over her stomach and holds the keys to the school SUV in her right hand, trying not to crush them...

Her eyes look around the lobby, eyeing the people behind the counter and some of the others passing around the halls, but when the talk of identifying someone is brought up, Rogue just looks at Jean.

She knows what that means.

She curses interanlly and looks to Nori. "Hey, yeah, its best if Jean does that, I think and comes back to give us the word." A glance is given to Gabby and Xia'an then. "There's some chairs there. We could chill for a bit." She states somberly.

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
"So we do," Shan answers Gabby as they come in.

She regards Jean, without mirth, though there is the brief warming around the eyes as she recognizes her. Her hands unfold from behind her back, re-fold in front of her. It is a girlish sort of movement. (Why is it so cold in here, Shan thinks.)

Mentally, she replies to Jean alone. <<Shall I join you? It is... too bad, Gabrielle could likely... Well, regardless. I am at your... disposal, of course.>> Jean can glimpse a deep bass-line of fury. But that's not too new either.

"Do you prefer to wait?" Shan asks Noriko and Gabby, aloud. She almost starts to say something further to Noriko but stops short, palpably.

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko hangs on Jean's every word, her every micro-expression.  She even tries to bore into her eyes when she's sure Jean must be transmitting thoughts to someone.  It's just a determined and lucky guess from a desperate teen.  Her eyes twitch to Gabby and back when the teen arrives as if silently communicating something is up, or maybe this is just when Nori /notices/ Gabby has arrived.  She's not exactly as hyper aware as she is normally.

Jean's words seem to tumble out in spurts of Nori's oscillating perception as she disassociates lightly.  "..."  They don't know.  They found someone.  Nori blinks and she seems very calm when she answers.  "If it's her, I want to see her."  At least Nori has the sense to not expose herself to some dead girl she doesn't know right?  Who needs more dead body nightmares?  Not her.  She blurrily shuffles her way to the chairs and plops down into one, foot tapping beyond double time.  Noriko...is just, going along with what they are telling her to do?

It gives her time.  Time when Jubilation is unobserved.  She is neither dead nor alive.  Right?

"She's still dead or alive," she mumbles to no one in particular.

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney was about to respond the affirmative. She knew SHE wanted to go. Even if it meant pushing Noriko out of the way so she didn't have to see, or something suitably distracting. The choice is made though when Noriko herself goes to sit. Torn, her gaze flits between her friend and the others uncertainly as she had been the one to offer going in first for Noriko's sake. Instead she moves to crouch down beside Noriko's chair like some small gargoyle. "Yeah that works for cats in boxes, too," she jokes lightly. "Though seriously. I can go in if you need. Or if any of you need," she offers a bit louder for the adults. "I've seen plenty of bodies before."

Jean Grey has posed:
<< I think it's better if you help keep them calm, >> Jean answers Xi'an, although as much as one can hear a 'pause' or a hesitation in that form of communication, she does seem to stop and think about it, weighing whether she needs the support more than they do. << I think I can manage. >>

At the same time, it seems that Noriko's reaction might surprise her a bit. She didn't really expect the young woman's response to be something from her Physics classes. It's a coping mechanism, of course, but getting into those details, unpacking all the baggage that this comes with and is no doubt sure to create? That's a struggle for another day.

"OK, you can all wait here. I- well, I don't imagine it will take too long. I'll let you know as soon as I know anything." She delivers a final weak flash of a smile before turning back to the Doctor that's come to handle everything. "Alright, I'm ready to go and see her." Presumably, it means going down to the morgue, so she'll follow on whatever journey to the bowels of the building that is likely to be.

Rogue has posed:
Rogue saunters toward the seating area with the others, but a bit slower because she's reaching in to her jeans to pull out her gloves. She's doing it because her ability to control her power runs away from her quickly if she loses her emotional stability... a side effect she and Jean have been working on, but haven't resolved yet...

She feels awkward slipping her hands in to the glove becaus eit sort of telegraphs an expectation of bad news, but her abilities control is still a bit unknown to those around her.

Her eyes are on Nori though, remaining standing for now as she glances to Jean and nods once. "We'll be right here." She says quietly before looking back to the others. "Anyone want some coffee?" She asks, nodding toward a fancy coffee machine in the corner with stacks of cups and such.

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
<< Understood, >> Shan replies to Jean, and then she breaks away, pursing and then relaxing her lips. "I would love some," she answers Rogue, before moving to settle down.

"Do you know," she tells Gabby, then, "that I had to come here several times, while I was getting this thing in line?" She pat-pats on her leg. "I was fortunate I was done growing, except horizontally. They are quite pleasant, though I never felt like eating during the visits."

Her eyes turn back to Noriko, occasionally. Gradually.

"Yes," she agrees with Noriko, quietly. "Do you want coffee?"

Noriko Ashida has posed:
Noriko just stares back at Gabby, her expression no less hollow at the girl's quip, which at least gets them both to the next moment.  Noriko's eyes stop on Rogue's hands when she puts on her gloves, but there's no outward recognition, more just the look of someone who is just trying to /be/ /there/.  "This is so weird," she says with a look of indigestion or awkwardness about her.

"Huh?"  Noriko looks to Rogue.  "Sure."  She has no idea what she just agreed to.  "Gabs...just stay here.  This is taking forever."  It hasn't been very long at all of course.  "I don't want to wait alone," she admits, even for the amount of time it would take Rogue to get coffee.

"I mean.  Look.  So, I looked here.  Earlier.  It couldn't possibly be her right?" the fear percolates as much as some dreadful feeling in the pit of her stomach, something fateful.  Something just feels wrong, clearly.  It's not something she could hide if she wanted to...unless she just, took off.

Down in the bowels of the building, Jean is taken to see a body that has been draped respectfully, one that is unmistakably that of the late Jubilation Lee, student and RA of Xavier's, a bit of sunshine now gone dark and cold.

In the wake of a positive ID, the man continues on with what little he can give Jean.

"...collapsed....cardiac arrest...unknown causes," and other scant details float in and out.  By the looks of it, they have yet to perform an autopsy.  "I'm sorry.  We just don't know much yet."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney reaches out to take hold of Noriko's hand again giving it a solid squeeze. "I'm staying with you," she promises with a solemn nod. It was about what Noriko wants right now after all. "You can squeeze my hand if you want. Hard as you want. It won't hurt me so do what you need." It's an offer that she can do at least while remaining here by her friend. Lifting her gaze up toward Shan she flashes her a grin. "Ah, I've been in lots of hospital-like places. Not fond of them, but these places aren't as bad as some. I mean. Not that it's a competition. I don't think I could ever not be hungry though." Looking to Noriko she repeats, "Coffee? Or maybe they have chocolate milk or something not caffienated."

Jean Grey has posed:
For herself, for Noriko, and for everyone else, Jean had tried to maintain a bit of hope. Faced with the reality of things, there's little room left for it. At least, down there, she doesn't need to worry about what slips out in front of the students, and as she looks down at the young woman, she's briefly overwhelmed, holding to the edge of the table to keep herself steady. It takes her a few moments before she's able to speak.

"It's- thank you, Doctor," she answers, turning back and lifting a hand to wipe across her cheek. "I understand. If it's alright, we- we have a medical Doctor on our faculty, and I imagine he might want to be present. Doctor Hank McCoy. I'll be sure to ah, to leave his information with someone, if that's alright."

Is it better or worse upstairs, waiting and not knowing? Hard to say. Jean is a little long, but there's no frame of reference for most people on exactly how long something like this should take. Eventually, she steps out of the elevator and starts her way down the hall toward the waiting room. Xi'an will know right away, even without any particular message to that effect. Focusing outwardly, on the part that everyone else sees, she doesn't have the willpower to hold all that anguish in. The others? Rogue probably knows Jean's expressions best, but truth be told, she's not so good, not so effortlessly perfect and controlled, that she can hold all this back, hope to keep a straight face for the entirety of that walk.

By the time she reaches them, it's already crumbling. "Nori-" Her voice breaks. "I'm, I'm so sorry."

Rogue has posed:
Rogue mosies over to the coffee machine and after taking a few moments she figures it out. She gets three coffees and one hot chocolate for Gabby. Hot chocolate in July? Why not! Its cold in this damn hospital....

It takes her a few moments before she makes it back over with the four cups and starts handing them out. "That thing is nicer than any coffee machien I think I've ever damn seen." She says quietly as she takes a seat beside Nori then and roams her eyes over the waiting area....

The wait for Jean is mostly quiet, but Rogue will certainly chime in here and there where conversation allows. It isn't until Jean returns that Rogue does take a moment to let it sink in just before the Headmistress says it outright.

The southern gal just drops back in the chair, a defeated sensation falling through her body like she hasn't felt... in a long time. Things start to go in slo motion, her thoughts bursting apart like a supernova star in a far away corner of the universe.

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
"Half a measure of chocolate milk, half a measure of coffee," Shan says, on the topic of chocolate milk. "The bodega latte. It's quite good, and it keeps you from getting too overstimulated."

"Right? I think they put it in to keep you busy, if it's the one I was thinking of with the thirty buttons. I wonder how often it's cleaned..." She takes the coffee and drinks it even so. Moments pass, with meaningless conversation...

Except for Noriko's question. "It is hard to say. Things change even when we aren't there. It's awful, but it is true. It is not your fault; I can tell you have done your utmost..."

Shan's expression suddenly becomes stony even if her voice doesn't change, which probably tips off Rogue at least. She shifts herself forwards, and then when Jean comes in, Shan is breathing deeply and steadily, looking at the floor.

Mentally she is a knot of fishhooks for a few moments, even as she closes her eyes, and then restores calm in her mind by main force. She looks towards Noriko, and pushes herself up to her feet: Remembering, it seems, Noriko's wish from a moment ago.

She asks Jean a question which comes to Xi'an Coy Manh very naturally: << Who did it? >>

Noriko Ashida has posed:
"Of course," the doctor says with a solemn, respectful tone.  Now is no time to work out the details, and so, in a measure of respect, he says, "I will be just outside.  Please.  Take your time."


The speedster does already look like she could use a few nights' sleep, wired as all hell from the natural spike of adrenaline and sleep deprivation effects.  The girl feels a bit buzzy to those who have sensitivity like normal humans, like touching a low grade battery, but it's not something that can't be ignored.  Harmless.  Like the little blue streaks of lightning crackling down her renewed tears, one striking out over the next like some kind of miniature galloping wave of runaway bolts when Gabby takes her hand.  They've been through the Nori can't really hurt Gabby routine before.  It's one of the reasons Gabby got free rides earlier than other people in Noriko's explorations of her powers.  So she doesn't flinch away.  She hasn't at all tonight.  The people who have touched her know her.  To be with those who care.  That should make things better.  Noriko's brain can't latch on to any kind of solace in that indescribable amount of time that passes.  "Sure, chocolate milk.  Whatever," she mumbles absently at Gabby's suggestion.  Nori's going to drink whatever is put in her hands, probably burn her tastebuds off, and regain them anyways.

There's a lifetime of denial that plays out between when Jean comes into view and she finally arrives.  "No," she breathes.  As Jean crumbles before her, Noriko is suddenly another waterfall of tears.  "No," she insists, reflexively gripping Gabby's hand tight before she takes off down whence the way Jean came, presumably to find Jubilation and see for herself.

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney doesn't make a noise at the little jolts of electricity that she absorbs. That doesn't stop the incidental spasm of her neck jerking to the side though. There were some things even she couldn't control, like a contracting of muscles due to electric current. "Fuck," is all she utters as everyone else goes somber and quiet. Just in time it would seem for Noriko to start racing away. The grasp on her hand causes her to spring to her feet automatically running-dragging along. "Noriko! You don't need to see that!" She blurts out in an attempt to stop her friend. "Really you don't... But if you NEED to, then we will. Just. Make sure you need to first. It's not something you can undo."

Jean Grey has posed:
Getting the news out is at least, in a way, a certain kind of relief for Jean. Not for the sadness underlying, but the palpable dread she faces in the moments leading up to its delivery, the terrible anticipation of knowing you have to break other people's hearts. Lifted of it, stands there a moment, slowly getting herself together, while Noriko predictably breaks off at speed. She doesn't try and stop her, although she does look after her with some worry.

"Someone should probably-"

Should't someone be her? She still has a responsibilty in all of this, and bit by bit works at pulling herself back together. "If any of the rest of you want to, you probably should now. I don't know how long it will be before they can finish her examination, and then we'll have to make arrangements..."

Amdist this, she starts to answer Shan in thought, although as Gabby goes flying off after Noriko, her focus on keeping that private divide from the students melts away. << They don't really know, she- >> And then, in words, "They said the cause was cardiac arrest. That's how they found her. So there's... really no explanation for what happened. But I've already asked them to let Hank in, to-" It's still obviously hard, discussing the clinical 'next step,' "-to do the examination."

Then she looks off down the hall. "We should really catch up with them." Pursuit, in her case, is soon to follow.