15602/First There Were Three

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First There Were Three
Date of Scene: 15 September 2023
Location: Kitty's Dorm
Synopsis: A difficult conversation is made all the more challenging by powerful movie references.
Cast of Characters: Magik, Shadowcat

Magik has posed:
At nearly every critical stage of Illyana's life, Kitty Pryde was her very first friend.

When she was just a girl who didn't know English, but came to spend time with her big brother regardless, it was Kitty - the only X-Man remotely close to her in age - who wound up with the lionshare of the responsibility for looking after her when the older members were busy.

When she was a tender lamb being readied for the Elder Gods' altar, Kitty - a permutation of her made hard and terrible by the corrosive nature of Limbo and its master - took pains to teach her how to survive long enough to rebel or die trying, rather than give into her red-minded instinct to simply cut her throat and save them both the trouble.

And when she emerged hours/years later, a fourteen year old with haunted eyes and a perforated soul, she shared a room with Kitty; shared /everything/ with Kitty, practically. Even when bleak gravity nudged her away from her fellow New Mutants, Illyana could rely on the ephemeral mutant to give her somewhere safe and warm to land.

It's been years since they shared a room. Years since they were children reckoning with the crushing weight of premature expectations. Years since Illyana first learned to love and fear Kitty Pryde in tumultuous measures--

Years, since the last time she stood before a door, nervous due to the uncertainty of what could unfold once she was on the other side.

Perched on the precipice of a dangerous new venture and staring a hole through Kitty's door, the Queen of Limbo takes in a slow, deep breath--

And then, she knocks.
Shadowcat has posed:
Years. It's weird to think about, how much time has passed. Kitty hates thinking about the passage of time. It reminds her that she's an adult. And what that means about all the weird things going on in her cellular structure. Which leads to the bigger questions of what goes on after all that time has passed and then she starts thinking about things like vacuum decay and whether or not she's getting crow's feet and


Kitty hates thinking about the passage of time. But if there's ever been a guidepost through it all, it's been her relationship with Illyana. The blonde girl who couldn't even speak English when they first met, who gradually became so irreplaceable to her, and now...

... Now...

There might be no one who knows her better than Illyana. And no one she knows better. Which is why, nervous uncertainty aside, Illyana will likely not be surprised when the first answer to her knock comes in the form of Kitty Pryde literally poking her head through her door, the intangible mass of her curly hair spilling around her face as she blinks at Illyana with wide, surprised eyes.

"Illyana?" she wonders. "Illyana!" she beams. "Uh, just a sec, I just got a -- y'know--"

And then she disappears back out of the door; there's the sound of someone kicking what sounds like a mass of clothes and stumbling into an unhealthy gathering of aluminum cans followed by a curse.

"Motherf--uuust a sec! Do not open that door!"

Then there's the sound of what sounds like a mass of clothes and cans making an impact somewhere in the floor below them.

And then that door opens, revealing Kitty in overalls and a black t-shirt, the text emblazoned on the front partially revealed past denim straps:



Times may have changed, but Kitty's ramshackle sense of fashion has yet to.

"Hey. ... Looks like something's on your mind. You've got serious 'on my mind' face."

Nor has the fact that, as far as Illyana is concerned, very few things get past her notice. Her head tilts.

"... Want to come in?"
Magik has posed:
Illyana doesn't open the door; she steps beyond it.

Stepping discs are silent, in and of themselves; some parts of Limbo are louder than others, loud enough to carry between worlds-- but the discs themselves are soundless. Illyana herself isn't quite so fortunate, but her years with Limbo's corroded vision of Kitty left her with several vital lessons in stealth: she takes her sweet time stepping from the disc, one booted foot after the other gingerly touching down on the other side of Kitty's door while the disc shrinks away; she hardly breathes, lest she give herself away. Even though Kitty's preoccupied, the woman's as sharp as either of their blades and then some; all it'd take is one stray tell to give herself away to the cyclone of curls and console text racing between messes.

Along with the boots - knee-length, velvet, and dark violet with four inches of heel - she's wearing black fishnets, a wine-colored mini-skirt and black leather belt whose ram skull-shaped buckle sports dimly glowing eyes, a deep red mesh top over a leather body harness that's all shiny metal rings and inky black straps, and a black leather jacket with a few touches of white accenting. A black choker studded with a quartet of teardrop-shaped rubies hugs her throat, and dangling skull earrings hang amidst long, loose blonde hair.

Polite creature that she is, Illyana waits until refuse has been stashed beneath the floor to remark, "Efficient," as arctic blue eyes slowly, pointedly rove from where things were up to Kitty herself.

And then it's just a matter of waiting.

So she can offer her oldest friend a taut, devious smile when their eyes meet.

"I didn't want to trouble you," she adds, "with opening doors-- not when you've already got so much on your plate."

Her eyes ever so slowly shift back to that spot on the floor.

And rather than resume eye contact, she proceeds to close in on Kitty, intent on seizing the other woman in a hug.
Shadowcat has posed:
Kitty Pryde is -great- at stealth. She's a -master- of stealth. She has a lifetime of mystic ninja training and darkness in her heart because hey don't worry about it.

So as you can imagine--

It's PARTICULARLY EMBARRASSING when she gets out-stealthed.

TO BE FAIR: her guard is totally down.

That doesn't change the fact that her first response upon turning around to call out to Illyana, only to find the blonde ALREADY IN HER ROOM in ALL HER GOTH GLORY after having -obviously just witnessed her mess- is simple:


She squeaks the most ineloquent squeak ever heard on the planet earth and suddenly drops the handful of empty X-BULL ENERGY DRINKS in her hands.

Which is just about when she suddenly begins to drop out of Illyana's line of sight.

Tangibility is a funny thing; even if it's subconscious at this point, it's something Kitty has to maintain. Which means, when sufficiently startled, well--

Kitty's about halfway through the floor by the time her thoughts catch up to her enough to stop herself. Illyana smiles. Kitty-bust frowns.

And then she throws up the ancient sign of friendship: the double deuce.

"Har harrrrr I hate you."

This is announced dourly, but with all due affection, as Kitty drags herself up off the floor. Heaving a sigh, she straightens her overall straps and begins to ask,

"Well now that you know how many energy drinks a day I have on average I guess we officially have no secrets between us anymore, so what do you--ack?!"

... only to find her question cut off as her oldest, closest friend suddenly closes that gap between her. Arms sweep around her, and Kitty, wide-eyed, finds herself pulled into a hug with a bounce of curls. She blinks in surprise--

-- before that expression relaxes, and slim arms find their way towards wrapping around Illyana with a little, wordless squeeze.

"Hey you," she murmurs, after a moment.
Magik has posed:
"I promise," Illyana softly swears as she draws Kitty in, "that I will only remember when it's deeply inconvenient to."

Illyana's most common modes of dress do a good job of hiding the wealth of taut, hard-earned muscle winding through her otherwise slender frame. Years of learning to swing a sword or die mean dangerously a dangerously toned back, arms, and shoulders-- and powerful hugs for lifelong friends who drink far too many energy drinks.

"Despite your cruel hatred, I will -- I must -- cling firmly to my principles," the blonde solemnly swears, arms tightening around Kitty's shoulders and back. She slowly exhales, her shoulders sagging and head lowering until her brow's sinking into brown curls.

"Hello, Katya," she whispers. "I didn't mean to make you fall for me."

Punctuated with a firm squeeze, what would be a light-hearted bit of banter from someone else is a tell on Illyana's lips-- at least, for Kitty, it is. Just as she once tried to bury herself in trappings of normalcy to distract from the truth of her lost childhood, Illyana tends to be at her most frivolous when her head's full of grave thoughts. Her hands shift to Kitty's biceps when she eventually lets go, allowing her to look the other woman eye to cold, blue eye as she wonders:

"Are you well?"

of her oldest friend.

A small, tight smile - the Limbo Queen's version of beaming joy - lingers as she carefully looks the other woman up and down, seeking an answer of her own.
Shadowcat has posed:
"well you gotta stick by your code" Kitty half-mumbles against a mane of blonde hair.

"even if it's a jerky code for jerks."

And Kitty Pryde knows a thing or two about jerks.

Otherwise, though, she just lets the hug last for as long as Illyana needs; she already knows there's something wrong - she's known before Illyana rudely outninja'd her way into her life today, and she's rarely -this- affectionate - but she can wait for Illyana to get there. It's part of the process.

And besides, Illyana has extreme hug strength, the happy consequence of having extreme murder strength. She doesn't mind indulging in a little extreme hug action.

Which doesn't stop her from abruptly snorting when Illyana utters out, 'I didn't mean to make you fall for me.'

"Oh my -god-."

Eventually, the hands settled at the back of Illyana's head and the small of her back pull away as Illyana lets go. They settle at the blonde's waist with a single, supportive squeeze, warm hazels meeting their colder counterparts eye-to-eye.

Are you well? Illyana asks. Kitty's answer is the incredulous lift of her brows. She -looks- well - her unfortunate choice of terrible coding-joke shirts and loose overalls aside - but she -also- looks like she sees right through Illyana.

A sharp look that's only mildly compromised by the fact that her thick brown bangs have spilled across one eye in messy shambles, easily solved with a very canny and very careful upwards exhale of air until it manages to blow that hair aside.


A second passes. And then:

"Well I just finished the new season of Life After Lockup: Vault Edition so I think my life is doing preeeeeeetty..." Kitty mumbles out some sounds that in no way sound like cogent words.

"More importantly..."

She takes her goth friend in for a second. And then, that knowing edge back again,

"... I'm still well enough to know when my friend is grappling with some serious shit, so how about we get comfy and you tell me how -you- are?"

There's no hiding from her, not even if you're the Limbo Queen.
Magik has posed:
Kitty purses her lips for precise exhaling action only for Illyana to reach up and brush the hair from her bestie's face with a tender sweep of pale, murder-optimized fingers. Her delicate touch carries through to securing thick brown curls behind an ear then combing onwards, inwards-- letting her fingers get lost in darkly colored depths while Kitty catches her up on the latest in LAL:VE and (unintelligible).

This, at least, is less a sign of tightly held distress than a lingering remnant of youthful wonder: no matter the years passed or horrors survived, there's a special kind of magic in these nigh-endless coils that calls to the witch queen. Comfort's often been a liability in her world; given a chance to indulge without leaving her back open, she's all too happy to seize it.

This continues to be so even after her Nerd/Ninja friend successfully makes a called shot to Illyana's nonverbal cues, but it does come with a small, taut frown.

And a dismayed groan rumbling low in Illyana's throat.

And brows slanting inwards as glacier blue eyes wordlessly ask:



And then the slow, steady shift of those eyes towards Kitty's floor, as if searching for some sign of her expertly hidden mess.

"... fine," she finally murmurs. Sighs, really; her eyes snap more or less back to Kitty's.

"Let's get comfortable, and I'll tell you all about my plans to commit a vast array of crimes."
Shadowcat has posed:
Precise exhaling action (it's her secondary mutation (shut up yes it is)) turns out to be unnecessary: big, hazel eyes blink as pale fingers work their way through the buoyant mess of Kitty's bangs; her breath hitches briefly in her throat in those seconds before she indulges in her secret reality TV binging shame.

"Oh. Ah--" she begins, and realizing she's bordering on blushing which is fine for a teenage high schooler but deeply unacceptable for a college student in their mid-twenties masquerading as an adult, just gets out a muted, "thanks" as she refocuses.

It reminds her of when they were younger; Illyana had always been fascinated by that wild mass of curls she could barely keep tamped down. Then, Kitty hated how uncontrollable it all ways, how she thought it made her look.


Nostalgia for semi-simpler times leaves Kitty Pryde with a warm feeling as her head tilts slightly into the passage of those fingers through countless brown ringlets. Hazel eyes flutter gently shut.

But even that cannot dissuade Kitty when she's put her mind to something, -especially when it's something she knows someone is trying to avoid telling her that's just such a huge catnip for her you don't even know-.

Slanted brows and glacier blue eyes wordlessly ask: Really? Already?

Arched brows and flat hazel eyes wordlessly answer: Yes. Right now. Immediately.

Illyana looks aside. And as she does, Kitty gives her a single, encouraging squeeze around the waist before she pulls away, making her way towards the other end of the room. It's only a few seconds before she reemerges, dragging out the Ceremonial Beanbag Chairs of Confession and/or Gossip and/or Chilling (they have had many purposes throughout the years), plopping both down next to one another.

If you think her still owning beanbag chairs of sentimental value makes her childish then -- well yeah okay it's kind of kiddie but

shut up!

"Alright! C'mon. We're gonna hash this out and--"

She's in the middle of turning around, and just about to flop back into the gold chair, before Illyana says something about 'vast array of crimes' and 'committing them'.

"--do some crimes wait what?!"

That last part is kind of squeaked out because Kitty is RIGHT in the middle of flopping backwards; it makes her landing on the beanbag chair just a TOUCH ungraceful, making her a sprawled mess of overalls and splaying brown curls and limbs kind of tilted diagonally across her beanbag. She blinks. She squints. She frowns.

And then she thwacks the other beanbag with her palm.

"Get over here and get comfy and explain immediately!" -- "In a comfy way!"
Magik has posed:
A stepping disc opens next to Illyana; the Limbo Queen reaches through.

Another portal opens several feet above Kitty; a wine bottle tumbles towards her.

Illyana crosses the room as the bottle falls, her first steps lagging so she can kick her feet back and smoothly unzip one boot, then the other-- then forward, casting them across the ground.

All the better for flopping into her black beanbag chair.

And drawing her legs towards her chest as she tilts towards Kitty, intent on laying her head in the lap of her friend who's trying her best.

"You know how I feel," she then murmurs, shifting to and fro to find the most comfortable angle for confession, "about turning the other cheek--"


"-- vis a vis anything."

Her head rolls slightly so both eyes are staring up at Kitty when she continues:

"With what we do here - for the Professor, and for my own peace of mind - I have been willing to tolerate it-- to compromise and swallow the bile that rises with each hateful movement, each exploitative act, and be content with reducing harm," comes low, taut, and terribly flat, devoid of emotions that might otherwise push her oldest friend that much further into concerned territory.

"But lately, I just..."

        "... can't, anymore," she admits in a deliberate murmur.

"There are boardrooms where investors congratulate themselves over squeezing another few points of profit from mutant bodies; nice, unassuming men who attend secret auctions to shop for designer tools of genocide after tucking their children in for the night... neophytes willing to sacrifice their idiot lives to summon demons into Mutant Town..."

Each fresh reminder of the cruel world they've had to face since adolescence is spoken with a clinical distance, like data points in Illyana's 'Why I Decided To Become A Criminal' presentation.

"I recognize that they're only a minority of humanity..."

Like judging the problem from afar is the only way to rationally conceive of it.

"... and I don't have an appetite for punishing the undeserving-- nor for conquest..."

Like distance is the only thing that keeps worldly corruption from burning in the demon queen's fire.

"... but I'm tired of waiting for those fetid few to see the error of their ways. Or harm enough of us to attract attention; or grow fat and arrogant from our blood..." is accompanied by an arm slithering loosely over Kitty's lap and around her waist.

"... so I intend to find them," the Queen of Limbo softly says.

"And end them."
Shadowcat has posed:
Kitty Pryde can sometimes be awkward; some might mistake that for clumsiness.

It's a testament to the fact that couldn't be anything further from the truth just as much as it is how familiar she is with this old song and dance, the way she casually swipes that bottle of wine from the air without even so much as looking at it.

Flumped against her beanbag chair, Kitty tosses the bottle from one hand to the other. It's surprising how easy removing the cork is when you can just cheat: Kitty demonstrates this by just kind of shoving intangible fingers into the neck of the bottle, getting old of the cork, and then just kind of... idly pulls it back out the side of the neck and tosses it over her shoulder.

She'll clean it up later. She will! Don't judge her.

Soon enough, though, Kitty has a lapful of Illyana, and the reason for the bottle changing hands becomes clear; bottle in her left hand now, her right hand is free to fall onto Illyana's shoulder the second she lays out into Kitty's lap like she was anticipating just that. The brunette's lips draw into a subdued, fond smile as she squeezes once, her fingers drawing out in that practiced way towards warm, blonde locks of hair, gently and soothingly combing dexterous digits through them as Illyana speaks.

You know how I feel about turning the other cheek--

"Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning!" quoth Kitty, for only Galadriel can truly encompass Illyana's feelings on the matter.

-- vis a vis anything.

She quiets then. The only source of activity from Illyana's oldest friend is the steady, soothing way those fingers gently move through that golden mane of hair, twining locks in between each digit and letting then sift through as they pass back and forth. It's an idle action -- one that doesn't require much thought from Kitty as she pits her focus on listening to what Illyana has to say.

And what she has to say is...


Well, Kitty would be lying if she said it was something she never thought of before.

The anger. The hate. No -- more importantly, the -frustration-. Kitty's brows furrow as she listens to Illyana's calm, emotionless dissertation on her Criminal TED Talk, how she takes such pains to try to address it at a remove. She knows Illyana -- maybe better than she knows anyone. Better than Kitty knows herself. She knows why Illyana is speaking of it like this.

And Kitty also knows why -she- draws in a sharp suck of air seconds after the Queen of Limbo comes to her conclusion.

A second passes. And Kitty brings that bottle up to drink straight from it, indulging in her favorite wine as she stares up at the ceiling. She finishes. Exhales that sharp inhale, slowly.

"... Yeah," she utters, gaze still affixed upwards. "I kinda thought it was maybe something like that."

It's all she says at first. No outrage; no accusation. Nothing like that. Because she knows that feeling. Instead, she just lowers that bottle, dangling it over Illyana's head in silent offering to her Russian companion. After all, it's Kitty's turn to speak; Illy's to drink.

"Y'know," she begins slowly. Carefully. "... After Ogun, I just felt... really angry for the longest time. And it wasn't really... because of what he did to me -- I mean, y'know, it was about that too, but -- it was because now there was this piece of me, deep inside, that could always see the coldest, most ruthless ways to solve all the problems in front of me. The world seems a lot smaller when you realize you can walk right through most of it, and..." Her brows furrow. Her eyes squeeze shut, turning from the ceiling.

"... Sometimes I get so mad all I can think of is if things would be better if I just gave in to that feeling and passed my hand through the heads of a few choice people." It's a bloodthirsty admission. Something she'd never admit to anyone else. But with Illyana, with something like this...

"So it's... not like I don't know where you're coming from. But -- going this route? Illy... it's a direction you might not walk back from." She knows
Shadowcat has posed:
"So it's... not like I don't know where you're coming from. But -- going this route? Illy... it's a direction you might not walk back from." She knows -- she knows what Illyana deals with. She knows what Illyana is. Even so...
Magik has posed:
"I know that you can't do it," is Illyana's soft reply.

Rather than drink, Illyana cradles the bottle close, keeping it tilted just so to prevent spillage. Gently, she pushes up against hand coursing through her hair -- the same one Kitty's thought so keenly about slipping through just a few skulls. Through the right skulls; the admission did nothing to dissuade her from accepting the affectionate gesture, despite the notional proximity.

"That it isn't in your nature. ... in most of our natures--"

She hesitates for a beat, pulling her free hand in to brush against her choker-adorned throat as her eyes nearly shut.

"... and I know that my time is finite-- I know that I don't want to spend it watching the people I care for beat themselves bloody against cold, stubborn cruelty." It's a vulnerable admission to pair with Kitty's bloody one, and it's followed by pale fingers stroking past the four rubies dangling from a pale neck to touch Kitty's cheek, cupping it after a brisk brush.

"If I'm damned," she posits as her thumb glides across the other woman's skin, "then it's only right that I take my fellow sinners with me, yes?"

Somehow, despite spending the lionshare of her childhood in Upstate New York and Literally Kind Of Hell, her sense of humor is as cold and bleak as land her family came from; the smile that goes with it is a small, pained thing. Some things are much easier said without looking one's closest friend in the eye, but Illyana's a stubborn creature at heart.

Because it's hard to drink wine laying down -- and because Kitty doesn't need her help making a mess -- the blonde witch sits up, pivoting and shifting in place so she's facing Kitty when she takes a long pull from the bottle. As soon as it comes back down, she tilts the mouth of it towards her fellow mutant, letting it hover an inch from her lips.

"I'm glad," she then admits, quietly, "that you aren't made for drawing blood-- that your anger remains tightly bound in your darkest corners."
Shadowcat has posed:
There's a part of her that wants to tell Illyana immediately that she needs to pull back from the choice she's making. She wants to dig her heels in and start a shouting match and yell Illyana back down from a path of carnage.

Kitty Pryde also knows that neither of them would ever come out the winner of that shouting match; they're both just too stubborn.

Instead, big hazel eyes fall down to that choker as Illyana's gesture draws attention to it. Kitty's fingers hesitate in the blonde's hair. The nature of Illyana's soul is also a thing Kitty's much more familiar with than most. It's hard not to be, when you've wielded a piece of it for a time, and still feel the connection burning in the depths of your own soul.

It's called a lot of things into question for Katherine Anne Pryde, but right now...

    If I'm damned, then it's only right that I take my fellow sinners with me, yes?

... there's only one aspect of it that she's focusing on.

Dark brows furrow inward until the bridge of Kitty's nose wrinkles. Even tilting her head into the cup of Illyana's palm, her expression is instantly transforming into that scrutinizing squint Illyana knows so well -- that stubborn, hot-headed, 'Kitty Didn't Like That' look. Which is why, when Illyana sits back up, Kitty straightens in the Sacred Beanbag Chair of Venting (Kitty Ver.) and turns to face her friend and former roommate so that she may fully see... The Frown.

The bottle hovers inches from her lips. But she ignores it as her hands drop to Illyana's shoulders, gripping each with a firm, decisive squeeze.

"Hey," she begins. "You're not damned. Cut it out with that crap. I don't care what -- what kinda situation you're in -now-. It's never too late. Okay? You're not damned. You deserve a good end just as much as we do. Got it??"

Kitty takes a long, slow breath. And then she tilts her head until her forehead bumps against Illyana's, lips a few scant inches away from that bottle, not -quite- yet accepting it.

"I can't go with you," she continues, slowly; her hazel eyes never leave their glacial counterparts. "But I can - and I'm gonna - watch out for you. I'm not gonna let you go to a point of no return. Because you're my best friend. Because you deserve all good things in life. So I'm gonna do this. For you. And you're gonna hate it. But I'm gonna do it."

A little, lopsided grin decorates her lips.

"Because -I'm- glad that I've got someone like -you- to watch my back. Someone who cares a lot more than she likes to let on. She's a complicated gal, but no one understands her but her girl. They say she's one baaaaaaad mammajamma."

I-is she--

"So who's this cat who won't cop out when there's danger all about?? Mag! ... ik!"

This might be a good time to power interrupt her with that wine bottle.

"right onnnnnnnn chikkachikkachikkachikka"

oh god she's starting to scat sing
Magik has posed:
There were only three rubies when Illyana first showed Kitty that choker, years and years ago when they were still roommates.

Somewhere between then and now, part of her slept while the rest wandered, rampaged, and quested at will.

Somewhere between then and now, the evershifting corridors of Limbo twisted her apart and left her to drag herself back together.

Somewhere between then and now, another piece of her turned hard and cold then chipped away, so now there are four rubies.

And there are three words:

    You're not damned...

which tug two blonde brows into the sort of mild chastisement that becomes second nature after years of exchanges which ultimately boil down to this one, enhanced and embellished by high tensions and sparking emotions as they may have been.

"Good-- one of us should believe that," murmurs through the black filter of Illyana's sarcasm, wielded in the service of skirting the argument Kitty already avoided. Beyond the small smile still stuck in place, this assertion is accompanied by a solemn nod, her forehead brushing against Kitty's. "For manifestation reasons; who knows, after all."

Among other, more concrete/serious reasons, like friendship. And wanting the best for others-- both of which earn soft, huffy sounds of acquiescence and briefly fleeing eyes from Illyana. She will hate it, probably -- but that's a fight for another day, when they aren't cozy in Sacred Beanbags with a bottle of wine between them. Ditto the compliments, the accusations of a soft, hidden heart-- as if she's some sort of Han Solo, a reference which she would in no way be equipped to make if not for this stubborn, sweet dor--

"-- what--"

Illyana's lips steadily draw in together as the painfully, beautifully seamless transition truly sinks in; her eyes gradually widen in whatever the German word for the familiar horror which makes one feel at home is.

"-- kitty, no--"

After her weakly voiced protest, it takes several more seconds - enough time to slide into scatting - for Illyana to overcome the sheer shock of being Shafted and tip the wine bottle to Kitty's lips.


But also, gently, because she doesn't want to drown her former roommate-- just cut her off before it's even further past too late.

"I would never ask you to come with me," she says, softly-- smiling, fuller than before. "Not for this-- it isn't who you are. Knowing that you'll be here is enough."

Illyana tips the bottle away from Kitty so she can take another, brisk sip then set it beside them.

"Here, believing in me," she murmurs, squeezing Kitty's upper arms, "and watching ancient movies, like some sort of nerd."

A beat.

"With beautiful hair," she adds.
Shadowcat has posed:
One piece. One simple, empty socket that separates Illyana Rasputina from complete damnation.

Hazel eyes linger on it the sight of the choker; where she so distinctly remembered three rubies now four glitter in a nigh-seamless pattern that yearns for completion. It'd look beautiful, if Kitty didn't know - couldn't /feel/ - the dread reality behind those rubies. It fills her with a cold, sinking dread to look at it.

But also... resolve. Stubborn, bullheaded resolve. One piece left. She's going to do everything in her power to make sure that socket stays empty.

She's going to do everything in her power to make Illyana whole again. She'd never be able to forgive herself if she didn't.

They're thoughts that rage in the back of her mind, even as they fuel the determined, stubborn words she offers up to Illyana, and her ultimatum she offers no negotiation on. Sarcasm is just met with an obstinate little guffaw as Kitty rests forehead-to-forehead with her Limbo-stained friend, the forward lean making her ever-present Star of David dangle loosely in the space between them.

"i'm gonna believe so hard you don't even know" she mumbles in response, voice barely above a whisper.

Of course, Kitty's power of bullheaded sincerity is only matched by her sheer ability to insert her foot directly into her mouth without fear and mortify her friends to death (it's a tertiary mutation). Illyana weakly protests, but her voice is soon drowned out by the sound of Kitty's loving send up to the music of the Theme of Shaft. She's -really- getting into it, forehead swaying against Illy's, brown curls bouncing as she scats out a smooth percussive line.

She's just about to get into a sweet horn blare which is just about when Illyana saves the world


by firmly-but-gently force-feeding Kitty some wine.

This will surely make things worse in the long-term. But at least in the present, Kitty Pryde is forced to abandon her musical aspirations as she flails and sputters and tries her best to get -most- or at least -some- of that wine down the right tube, a thing made all the harder by the fits of laughter overtaking her.

"oh -- hkkfff -- you're -- hhhhh!! -- the Queen of -- pffawh -- Dicks!!"

she means it with great affection.

Which is why, by the time Illyana takes that last drag of wine, Kitty is flashing pearly white teeth in a warm, delighted grin. Her gaze may be accusatory --

But at least for now, Illyana's words and her wine-based diversionary tactics are enough for Kitty not to press certain uncomfortable realities -- at least for now. She's going to hold true to her word. And she's certain Illyana will hate it. But for now...

"pssshaaawwww whatever, ms. perfect bangs forever," she flubs, but be assured: she's using these kind words as the fuel she needs to enable her behavior for years to come. She smiles. It's the little, flattered smile of someone who takes so much stock and validation from the person beside them. "So you're saying you think nerds are beautiful. I graciously accept this compliment."

Kitty's hands fall on Illyana's collar, fingertips lingering just beneath that choker. A second passes in the warmth of that smile. And then her eyes widen in realization.

"Oh!" gasps Kitty. "Speaking of -- I picked up the 4k collector's edition of the original Star Trek movies remasters the other day! And I haven't watched them yeeeeeeeet--"

She side-eyes Illyana. There's going to be more to talk about. Maybe yell about, depending on what the future holds. But right now, the blonde's fate is sealed.

"How about some Star Trek and chill?"

It's an open question if she knows the implication of that (she does not).
Magik has posed:
Illyana wears her royal title with the utmost grace, offering a slight, seated bow and flourish in response to Kitty's sputtering declaration.

One piece left; one kind soul willing to help her protect it, whatever that even means. Illyana presses dark red lips to her anchor's forehead in lieu of even pretending to apologize for gently (but firmly) flooding her former roomie with wine, then shifts back down to peer into the other woman's eyes, her forehead a fractional inch from resting against Kitty's again. She greets the curly-haired mutant's logical conclusion with a scoff, an eyeroll, and a firm headshake.

"No-- I'm saying that my girl - who happens to be a nerd - is beautiful," she then insists, lips pursed. "It's a very important distinction: I will not be bound by a compulsory admiration of all nerds-- as Queen several times over," the blunt-banged blonde murmurs as her hands wander towards Kitty's shoulders, "I will not be bound by anything--"


Illyana's brow furrows, slightly-- and then less slightly, the Russian woman struggling to make the dots connect for a beat before realizing that she just needs to swipe the lowest hanging fruit, and groaning accordingly.

As for the offer itself, though--

Despite her stubborn insistence on maintaining her sovereign right to only admire some nerds-- despite her anti-Shaft wine interjection-- despite her impressive inability to retain more than the most basic strokes of sci-fi canon, Illyana greets the prospect of Trekking and Chilling with a broad smile and fractional inward lean. It isn't about watching Star Trek, not really. It's about basking in Kitty watching Star Trek, bubbling with trivia and quotes and a dozen other distinct, shining points of Pryde that collectively make for a warm, comfortable evening-- at least some of which she will surely spend lounging with her head in her fearlessly belief-ridden bestie's warm, comfortable lap, having her hair played with as if the only thing either of them has to worry about is nailing their next live fire exam.

"One of us will, of course, need to find more wine," she answers with a grin.