2012-06-10: More Human


JillV_icon.jpg Kai_icon.jpg

Summary: Kai wants to make amends for his past misdeeds and makes a very unusual request.

Date: June 10, 2012

Log Title: More Human

Rating: G

Westchester - Salem Center Food Court

Entering the mall brings its visitors right to the Food Court. A wide open area with tables and chairs sprinkled around it, its edges lined with a wide variety of fast food choices. Pizza, burgers, ice cream, chicken, Chinese, smoothies, you name it, you got it.

It's been a couple of weeks since Kai was contacted by Kenta telling him that the missing girls had been found, Kai has spent to majority of those two weeks in negotiations with Barnes to set up negotiations with Xavier's for him to talk to someone else he owes an explanation and apology. Dressed in grey jeans and an ice blue t-shirt Kai is sitting at a table in the food court, two tables away is a man in a suit watching him.

Though the Salem Center mall is only a short walk from the nearby Xavier's school, a car still had to be arranged to bring Jill. It's late afternoon and the sun is still up, as by the time it had set the mall would be near to closing anyway. Her own chaperone is at hand as the blonde girl arrives from the small covered parking garage. The man from Xavier's doesn't even remove his sunglasses as they come in, and neither does the girl. She looks nervous, uncertain even after the situation has been explained in full. With two adults keeping careful watch, the girl in the pink shirt with a yellow winged pony on the front fidgets. She doesn't look like a vampire, not in the traditional sense anyway. A light touch on her shoulder sends Jill hesitantly toward the table and the waiting boy who tried to save her so many months ago. Her chaperone melts away further into the crowd, not drawing attention to Kai's watch or himself. Jill rubs at her nose to clear a faint scent away, something like sulphur. Or brimstone. "Umm," she says awkwardly, halting by Kai's table but not sitting yet. "H-hi."

Kai's eyes flick up to Jill, there’s something very cold about them before he remembers himself and the look fades away, he's been trying to get people to avoid him lately, he gets quickly to his feet, "Oh hi, thanks for agreeing to see me, do you wanna sit down?", he gestures to the other chair. Jill might notice more of an awkwardness to the boy than last time, perhaps showing his previous act is no longer in place, while he waits for Jill to decide his eyes flick to the direction Jill's chaperone is in out of habit.

The girl's chaperone catches the glance, smiles, and touches his forehead with two fingers in a kind of rakish salute. Jill, meanwhile, pulls back one of the food court's legendarily uncomfortable plastic chairs and plunks herself down in it, looking awkward. "Umm, sure. Thanks." She does not remove her sunglasses. Silence lasts for a few seconds, her nails scratching idly at the thighs of her jeans. "So, umm, thank you," begins the vampire girl hesitantly. "For tryin' to save me and stuff back then."

Kai shakes his head at Jill as he sits down, "Please don't thank me, I don't deserve your gratitude, how much have you been told about who I am and why I was there that day?", he sighs, "But before any of that, are you ok? I don't know too much about where you were but you seem ok, physically at least".

Frowning, Jill looks down at her lap. "Umm, not a lot, to be honest…" At Kai's other question, it's Jill's turn to look back at her chaperone, twisting in her seat. The man frowns slightly, but nods and makes a subtle "go on" motion with whisking fingers. Frowning, the girl turns back to Kai. Sucking in her bottom lip, Jill reaches up with tremulous fingers and pulls her sunglasses off carefully to get comfortable. Where her eyes where a bright, memorable sapphire blue before, now they are an almost luminous ruby red. The red of fresh blood. "It's a long story," Jill breathes out, combing fingers through her pale blonde hair. "But yeah, I'm not dead, at least." Which is only a half-truth.

While Kai is very familiar of that shade of red he isn't as well knowledged about the supernatural, however he has seen eyes like that before during the fight in that warehouse, before he can stop himself he asks, "What are you now?". He looks to the entrance to the center and frowns, it's still daylight out. He's very good at remembering details and is slightly mesmerized by the difference in colour.

Those bright red eyes flick away, Jill tapping her fingertips together on the table in front of her. She looks like she doesn't want to answer that but does anyway after a moment. "Umm…. vampire," she says in a mumble, nearly hidden by the general crowd noise of a shopping mall on a late Sunday afternoon. "I heard you took my hand back to the school for me," she adds, shifting gears quickly as if to bury what she'd just said. "Thanks, but I kind of… don't need it anymore. They still have it. It's still alive, which is really weird. It shouldn't be, but it is."

Kai frowns again, "How do you feel about that?, being what you are now?", might be an odd question but it interests him, she was one thing and now she's something else. "The hand is still alive even though you're not?", he goes quiet for a moment while several different ideas cross his mind.

Even though she's been asked the same question, or a similar one, many times already, trying to come up with an answer every time is still difficult for Jill. "Umm," she hesitates. "It's… not so bad, I guess. It's, like, not as awful as it's made out to be a lot of the time in movies and stuff." It's certainly no picnic either, but she's making a concerted effort not to complain or wallow in self-pity… as much. She draws lazy spirals on the plastic tabletop with a fingertip, fingernail rasping quietly. "It's weird 'cause it should be. I mean…" Jill glances around to see if anyone is listening. Of course, at least two people are, but they don't count. Not really. "You saw… what I was. Before. The hand should've died off, like, months ago. It's like cuttin' a branch off a tree but the branch keeps goin' anyway." A pause. "Which I guess can happen, but you get my point, right?"

Kai nods, "It's an interesting conundrum, you're strong, fast, beautiful and now young forever, I’m sure there must be negatives but I don't know much about vampires". He decides to express one of his thoughts, "With still living DNA of what you once were could it be used to restore you to what you were if you so choose to step away from your new life?"

Jill blows out a breath in defeat and leans forward, cradling her chin in her palm. "I dunno… no, probably not. If it was that easy, I don't think there'd be any vampires left." She shakes her head sadly, plainly unhappy or uncomfortable with the turn of the conversation. Her eyes flick away to stare at the moving mass of shoppers for a moment. "S-so… I don't… I mean, not to sound mean or suspicious or anything, but why'd you want to talk to me? I'm not anybody important."

Seeing that Jill needs the change of subject Kai moves onto the really uncomfortable part of the conversation, "I wanted to talk to you because I owe you an apology and an explanation", he sighs but tries to keep eye contact, "I suppose I’ll start with the explanation and I should start with who I am I suppose, Jill do you know anything about the organisation known as HYDRA?"

A frown wrinkles the vampire girl's forehead. Jill shakes her head slowly. "Nuh-uh." She doesn't go on to reveal her true ignorance by asking if it's something like the Freemasons or even a gasoline company, which for some reason sounds plausible in her head.

"If SHIELD are the good guys then HYDRA are the bad guys, HYDRA are a terrorist organisation working towards world domination, they are exceptionally dangerous and will use anything they can working towards they're goal", Kai cups his hand over the middle of the table and when he removes it there’s and ice-symbol of HYDRA, "Prior to last year I lived my entire life in one of the many bases HYDRA has spread across the world, they had been training me for as long as I can remember".

The girl's red eyes fix on the strange symbol, a skull with strange curled filigree underneath it. No, not simply decoration. Tentacles. Reaching arms. She frowns at it and looks up at Kai. She is about to say something but stops herself. Considering more carefully with a brief glance toward her chaperone, Jill instead asks, "Up until last year…?"

"Last year I was chosen for a mission to investigate intelligence on a school started by SHIELD, Barnes.", Kai draws out an XIII in ice one the table, "My name is XIII 'thirteen' and for this mission they created the identity of Kai Oaken for me, my mission was to live as a normal teenager and discover if such a school exists and infiltrate said school if it does".

Worriedly, Jill looks over to the suited man two tables over. The one who hasn't moved since she sat down and who appears to not be paying attention to the pair of teens while paying very close attention indeed. This is all beginning to feel like a spy movie, which is much more fun to watch than to actually be in. "I… I know about Barnes. I don't think I'm supposed to, but I do. Someone I used to know goes there." She slides a finger toward the ice-shaped Roman numerals, rubbing gently at one corner of the X. "So Kai Oaken isn't even your real name." Her mouth works silently for a moment, thoughts log-jamming in her brain in a rush to all come out at once. Finally, one manages to squeeze through. "… Why are you telling me this?"

"I'm telling you this because I owe it too you, living among normal people began to undo some of the conditioning HYDRA put into me. Funny thing is, when I first came to this city I got bullied mercilessly, but other people were nice to me and I started feeling bad, I began to weaken". Kai runs his hand though his hair, "I never really experienced guilt before and it confused me but one thing I was sure of was that I didn't wanna go back to a life underground with HYDRA. I had already infiltrated Barnes by this point and was worried that my mission would be shortly coming to an end." He looks at Jill with genuine guilt in his eyes, "I learnt of another school, Xavier’s and thought if I could maybe find out where it was I could continue a mission there, so I took your phone. I knew who you were".

Confusion and shame cloud Jill's features. Her fingers lace on the table in front of her, squeezing tightly as a chill runs up her spine. She can't look up to meet Kai's ice blue eyes. "I…" She falters. She'd put her entire school in danger by trying to deal with that situation by herself, all without realizing it. A few seconds pass without word, without even breathing. "So… that's why," she concludes with the clarity of hindsight. It doesn't make her feel any better to know the truth. If anything, it makes her feel worse and it shows plainly.

Kai shakes his head, "I'm not done", he holds his hand over the table again and a small ice-model of one of the gargoyles that kidnapped Jill has formed when he moves it, "My mental state had been somewhat effected by these new feelings of morality, trying to help you and failing was a sort of final straw for me, I broke down, I got locked up by your school and fled HYDRA, I’m not training as an Agent of SHIELD and I’m doing what I can to make things right, I’m sorry and I thank you so much".

"But… I didn't do anything." The vampire girl's red eyes fix on the small ice gargoyle. Pensive. Uncomfortable at old memories and months-long captivity. "You did. There's nothin' to thank *me* for." She looks up, reluctantly meeting the boy's gaze. "I should be the one thanking you. For trying. For telling the school what happened. And…" She trails off. "And stuff…"

Kai shakes his head again and places his hand over the table again, when it's moved there’s a little figure of Jill the ice making her look more like the old Jill, "You were a nice girl who I took advantage of and when it came down to it I failed to help you, I tried to do the right thing for a change and I failed, it broke a part of me and gave me the chance to try and rebuild a good person".

"Then, umm…" The blonde girl is vaguely embarrassed by the compliments and the miniature ice replica, scratching the side of her nose with a fingernail and not sure where to look. "You're welcome, I guess? It, uh, it wasn't on purpose or anything, but I guess it's nice that somethin' good came out of it. I'm glad you're doing-" She halts before she says that Kai is 'doing well', because she isn't sure that's the sentiment she wants to express. It can't be easy, and in a way she understands. This is the second time she's had to try to rebuild her own life. "-doing what you're doing," she finishes lamely.

Kai turns a little red, "Have I said something wrong? if so, I’m sorry", now his story is over he starts slipping back into the previous awkwardness, "I want to find some way to make what I’ve done up to you".

"No, no. Nothin' like that." Jill toys with her sunglasses just to have something to do with her hands. "Don't… don't worry about me, 'kay? I'm fine. You… y'know, worry about you. I mean, I'm glad you told me," she adds, not entirely certain that she is glad. At least she's more informed, so that's something. "But, like, you don't owe me anything. It's okay."

"Actually I do owe you, cos I kind of wanted to ask you a favor", Kai looks down at the table, "I'm training to be a SHELD agent but I’m also learning how to be a real person, I know how to act but beyond that, I wanna learn to be a person and I wanted to ask if you'd consider helping me?"

That stops Jill in her tracks, mentally speaking. "You… umm… you wanna learn…" she begins, raising an eyebrow suspiciously. "… how to be a person?" Her mouth hangs open for a moment, fangs briefly visible. "I don't even know what that means."

"Jill, when I met you you were so human, you still are, everything about you seems so genuine, that’s why I felt so bad for what I did", Kai chuckles to himself for a second as the bizzarity of the scene hits him.

There's a long moment of silence. "Kai… I mean, if I can still call you that." Jill purses her lips and leans her chair back on two legs, folding her arms across her pink pony-laden t-shirt. After consideration, she shakes her head with a wry smile. "I still have no idea what this means, but you went to a lot of trouble to set it all up. I got called into the headmistress' office and even *she* seemed surprised. And she *never* seems surprised. It's just, like, a thing she does." Her lips works, worrying at a fang with the tip of her tongue. "So, hell, I dunno. I guess I could try? Honestly, I still don't even know whatcha want, but…" She shrugs. "Sure, why not?"

Kai nods, "Yeah call me Kai, I wanna get myself as far away from who I used to be as I can, still waiting on getting the mark taken off my back if they can figure out a way without needing a skin graft". He smiles at the mention of the headmistress, he's thankful to her but has a VERY healthy respect for the woman, "You'll give it a go?, thank you so much, I’ll find away to make it worth your while".

Jill awkwardly shifts in her chair to lay all four of its feet back on the floor. "I'll, uh… I'll do my best. But either at night or indoors, y'know. Or maybe somethin' over the internet? I dunno. Traveling durin' the day's kind of a problem for me now." With a grimace she adds, mostly to herself, "I think the upholstery in the car's gonna smell like smoke for a while."

Kai smiles and forms an ice crescent moon, "I'm good with the night, you see a whole different side of the world then, it's a lot more… dunno peaceful", he bites his lip, "Would… could I… is it ok if I ask how you well died?, you seem pretty at peace with it all".

The vampire girl stops moving for a moment. She is, no pun intended, deathly still, not even breathing. "It wasn't pleasant," she begins hesitantly. "But I think I did it for the right reasons. I was tryin' to save people. My friends." Jill exhales, a weight lessening with the soft breath. "It was my choice. I'm okay with it."

"You gave up you last breath for your friends? and you told me you're not special", Kai gives Jill a serious look, "I don't give complements because I don't understand the point of them beyond further bending the truth, the reason I say this is so you'll really listen to me, what you did is extraordinary, has no one else told you that?"

"A couple times," responds the vampire with dismissive humility. It's almost like she doesn't fully understand, or at the very least feels no self-aggrandizement for it. "If I hadn't, somebody else would have. They were all really… strong people." Her watch emits a short chirping noise that draws Jill out of the reflective moment. "Hey, the mall's gonna be closing soon. I got it set to tell me when sunset is," explains the girl. The miniature ice-Jill is slippery with melt water already and threatens to slip from her fingers as she picks it up with a wan smile. "I'm glad you're doing…" A vague gesture. "Y'know. It can't be easy. But I guess if there's somethin' I can do to help, you know where to find me, right?" She favors Kai with a lopsided grin, one fang showing. "I even got a new phone."

Kai looks round as Jill points out the time, he hadn't realised how much time had passed, "I figured you'd be getting a new one, I tried finding you by tracking the phone when you disappeared and I found it broken a few feet from where you were taken", he pulls out his phone and hands it to Jill.

"Yeah. I never got my Gorillaz t-shirt back, either. It's somewhere in a magic castle in Romania… I think." Drawing out her own phone so that she has one in each hand, Jill shows the unique and astonishing skillset of the modern teenager: Speed Texting. Vampiric superspeed probably plays a part in it, too. Sending a message from Kai's phone to her own number, she twitches through menus to add the number and email address to the phone book, then switches hands to repeat the process in reverse. It all takes less than two minutes. "Done," she pronounces, holding Kai's phone out with a completely unnecessary twirl for pure showmanship. Standing slowly and snapping her sunglasses open, she pauses before putting them back. "If… if it's any help, I forgive you, y'know? For, like, the phone thing and whatever else. It's all in the past now."

Kai smiles as he takes the phone back, "Show off", he stands up as Jill does, "Yeah thanks Jill that means a lot, something I can tick of as having made right, list might still take me a few decades but thanks, this is a start", he tosses the melting ice things to his keeper not caring if he gets wet, he really doesn't like the man, treats him like a criminal. "Thanks for coming".

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