Logs:How To Get Away With Kidnapping
|How To Get Away With Kidnapping|
"Oh my God, does the Professor just have spies everywhere?" (Part of Final Boss: Xavier TP.)
<NYC> Sinkers and Suds - Salem Center
This diner, though very new, has modeled itself in the throwback style of Salem Center's main drag. Black and white checkerboard floor underfoot, steel stools cheerfully upholstered in bright red vinyl, brushed chrome tables both standalone or in the booths that line the walls. The servers are impossibly perky, the jukebox only plays oldies, and the seats at the long counter also often include conversation with the very chatty soda jerk manning the fountain there. The smells of fried food and fresh coffee generally fill the air.
It's a sweltering day whose heat is punctuated by refreshing showers. Right now it's raining a bit more steadily outside, which leaves the patrons in the diner in perhaps somewhat less of a rush to depart. For all that the place is fairly empty, unsurprising on a Monday afternoon with the supper crowd not having rolled in yet.
Harm is tapping their chin thoughtfully. "...oh, and Mr. Miller is kind of racist and gives tons of homework, but he's the only US history teacher I think." They're dressed in a light green tanktop with a weathered print of a crescent moon on the chest and brown linen wrap pants rolled up at the waist so that the cuffs fall to their shins, rainbow-strapped sandals on their feet, their bicycle inner tube satchel hanging from the back of the stool where they sit slightly slouched at the counter. There's a half a plate of curly fries in front of them, a mostly-empty glass of strawberry milkshake, and not one, not two, but three empty Lactaid packets. "Ms. Hua teaches some history, too, she grades tough but she doesn't do busy work at least. Also if you're really slick you can get her to tell lawyer stories, those are wild."
Seated beside Harm, Nanami is slowly sucking at a root beer float, kicking one heel back against the rung of her stool, the other foot resting with one chunky heel hooked over the rung. Though there's a touch of dampness still on her sandals, her flowing black and red midi dress is still dry -- a clear umbrella decorated with brightly colored swimming fish is resting against the side of the stool in a slowly dripping puddle of shed water. She has been bobbing her head slowly in time with Harm speaking, a studied expression on her face as if taking diligent mental notes -- this, though, shifts into an amused twitch of smile. "Wait, does she really have good ones? I figured in actual life lawyering is way more boring than on How to Get Away with Murder but I'm so willing to be proven wrong."
Kurt was getting used to leaving his room more and more, without the use of teleportation. It didn’t really count as leaving the room if he was in and out in a few minutes. Dressed in a thin yellow raincoat, he nervously fiddled with his black gloves, which he had specially fitted for his unique digits. He tiptoed around like a dancer, as if the floor he was walking on would crumble if he applied too much pressure. But, upon seeing some familiar faces, his eyes lit up in excitement—although he quelled this quickly. Kurt cleared his throat and wiped his coat of any leftover raindrops before entering.
At first, he was unclear of what he should say, or if he should say anything. But, he cleared his throat again, raising a friendly hand. “Hello!” He smiled and stood awkwardly for a moment. “Would it, uhm, be alright if I partake with you both?”
Several seats away from the students, a neatly made-up brunette in a comfortable flowing white dress spotted with embroidered daisies is working her way through an egg white omelette and large glass of orange juice. She's been talking, cheerful and animated, with the considerably older woman working the counter, but as the server moves on to greet Kurt and offer him a menu her eyes drift over toward the knot of students as well. Her gaze lingers on Kurt before flicking to the other two, fingers tapping lightly against the edge of her plate as she considers.
"Oh! They're not like, murder stories," Harm says, their eyes going very wide. "But she does a lot of like, activism lawyering, so there's stories about protests and the ridiculous things cops try to do." They drag one of their fries through the hot sauce and ketchup at the side of the plate. "I haven't see--or, read?--How to Get Away With Murder, so maybe my standards for exciting lawyer stories are low." They look up as Kurt addresses, looking confused and just a little ill at ease. "Oh, hi um...I forget your name, sorry." They glance at Nanami uncertainly. "I don't mind if you don't?"
"It's a show," Nanami confirms, "a totally ridiculous show, like as far as I can tell from it lawyers are constantly murdering people. More murder than paperwork or courtroom time, judging by their plots." Her fingers curl tighter around her glass as Kurt approaches, her eyes just slightly wider. Briefly, she glances around the diner, but then affixes a small polite smile to her face. "Oh! Right, uh -- sure." She gestures towards an empty seat beside her. "They have really good milkshakes, if you can drink that kind of thing." This, with a rueful twitch of a smile as she looks at the empty Lactaid packs on the countertop.
Kurt felt the tightness in his chest begin to leave as he gave both of them a thankful nod. “T-thank you, again.” He shuffled to the empty seat, nervously fiddling with his gloves as he did so. He slid onto the seat and adjusted himself. The blue mutant sat in silence, in stiffness, feeling like an outlier. “I-I’ve never had a milkshake, what are they like?” The lack of confidence manifested with a small stutter.
A short ways down the bar, Tasha has been coming to some kind of decision. She nods to herself, takes a swallow of juice, nudges her plate over a seat to move just a little closer to the others -- still one empty stool between herself and Harm. When she speaks, there's a warm sincerity to her words. "I'm so sorry to interrupt -- you're all from Xavier's? It sounds like Miller has not changed a bit since I was there."
"Wow, that sounds -- kind of cool, actually." Harm perks up, then blushes, though it isn't extremely obvious on their heavily tanned complexion. "I haven't seen a lot of shows until recently, and it's mostly just whatever's playing in the rec room, you know?" They tilt their head slightly at Kurt. "Um, if you're lactose intolerant, I have plenty of pills for that. I'd recommend it, these are pretty heavy in ice cream." They turn when Tasha approaches them, blinking with perplexity until the woman speaks. "Oh, hi. Um, yeah, we go there." Their blush deepens enough to be easily visible now. "You won't tell Mr. Miller, will you?"
"Never had a milkshake?" Nanami's brows lift. "Where did you grow up, again?" She is taking another gulp of her float when Tasha comes over. Her eyes widen; she sits up just a little straighter in her seat, looking the older woman over. "Oh my God, does the Professor just have spies everywhere?"
“Germany.” Kurt answered quickly before ordering himself a shake, his large toes curling around the rung of the stool. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up as he quickly looked down, tugging the hood of his raincoat to prevent the older woman from even a glance at his face.
"Oh, goodness, no, everyone needs some places that are safe to --" Tasha gestures around the diner with her empty fork. "Vent." Nanami's comment pulls her brows inward deeply, a fleeting worry crossing her expression. "Xavier may have plenty of spies but I am not one of them. Though..." There's just a brief hesitation before she continues. "That's actually -- kind of what brought me out today. It's been a while since I graduated, but I was just talking to one of your classmates and it -- sounds like things haven't gotten any safer there since my day."
Harm relaxes visibly. "Oh good. I mean -- not so good if he actually does have spies! But even if he doesn't, it's just a small school, and some the teachers..." They glance around furtively and gesture vaguely at their head with one hand. "...well. You know." But here they sit up a little straighter. "One of our classmates?" Their alarm is apparent and growing fast. "Did something happen, is someone hurt?"
"Wait I was totally just kidding but does Xavier have spies?" Nanami is suddenly taking a keener interest in Tasha, half-swiveling on her seat to examine the woman with newfound respect. "Are you here, like, counter-spying? Waaaait." The interest is abruptly turning to uncertainty. "You're not some kind of cop, are you? Which classmate?"
"Oh no, I'm no kind of cop -- I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to worry you like that." Tasha's eyes open wider, one hand resting on her heart. "Marinov -- Taylor Marinov? They're safe," she hastens to assure them -- and like all the rest of her words, this assurance comes with the weight of certainty. "It's just --" Her eyes lower, fingers drumming lightly against the countertop. "I don't think Xavier needs spies. He's a very powerful telepath, you know, and -- has a history. Of -- meddling. In students' minds."
Harm's eyes are still very, very wide, but they sink back into their seat with relief. "Oh! I'm glad they're okay." They trace trails through the condensation on their milkshake glass with the tip of their index finger, but their eyes remain fixed on Tasha. "Wait, really?" Their shoulders hunch inward. "I mean -- I knew about the telepathy but -- he was messing with Marinov's head?" They look back at Nanami and Kurt. "That's terrible! Maybe -- maybe we should tell the teachers? They wouldn't allow that." They turn back to Tasha and add, much more uncertainly, "Would they?"
"Safe? What -- where is Marinov, though, was the Professor..." Nanami trails off anxiously, glancing to Harm. "That's -- a little terrifying why do they still let him -- wait, are the other teachers in on it? What kind of messing, why would he -- do that?"
"He's a telepath," Tasha answers the kids heavily, "and so many of the teachers came out of Xavier's themselves -- I think --" Her brows pull together. "Even if they wanted to help I think it would be hard to shake practically a lifetime of conditioning." She picks up her napkin and dabs lightly at her mouth. Wrings the paper between her hands after. "When I was at school, he did something to my friends and I -- erased some of our memories. And Marinov was talking about similar gaps -- it's hard to know how far it extends. All I know is that school isn't safe."
Harm leans forward in their seat, one foot hooked tight around the footrest of the stool. "Erased your memories," they say, horrified. "And Marinov's! Oh no! We have to warn everyone, right?" They bite their lower lip hard. "No wait, if the teachers have been brainwashed they'll just take his side. Then they might not let anyone leave!" Their eyes start to brim, but they blink back the tears. "What do we do, guys? Where is Marinov?"
"What?" Much of the color has drained from Nanami's face. Her eyes have gone very wide, and she pulls her phone out straightaway to start sending a message. "My sister's in there."
"We have a place in the city that's safe. You'll all be safe there while we figure this out. I think we'll have to tell the other teachers eventually, we're just -- working on the safest way to do that." Tasha draws in a small breath, nodding to Nanami. "I'm so sorry to drop this on you all like this, we've just -- we don't want anyone else to go through what we did. Bring your sister -- of course."
Harm is already nodding before Tasha even finishes speaking. "I'll go, definitely," they say, hugging themselves. "Thank you for looking out for us. We had no idea how much danger we were in." They frown, curling in tighter. "What about all the other kids?"
Nanami relaxes only a fraction, finishing her text message -- an answering buzz comes nearly as soon as she sends it -- and looking up. "My sister's on her way." She squeezes tight at the phone, then catches herself and tucks it into her pocket again instead. "We'll just -- have to get all of them too, won't we?"