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 Life After Numbness, (Illusion)
Julio Richter
 Posted: May 30 2018, 06:22 AM
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Sometimes Julio wondered what the hell he was doing, where he got off on teaching…anything really. How’d it come to this, a mass murderer teaching other kids how to beat the crap out of people. Orale, kinna messed up y’know? Oh sure, you could say its was ’self defense’ or whatever, but life and Shatterstar led Julio to not take that term seriously. Julio didn’t wanna kill again, but Star was probably right. This world didn’t hand out choices like that. After turning a whole city to just dust and gore-soaked concrete, Julio’d tried to just go numb, make himself harmless.

Julio frowned as he wound medical tape around his wrists and dusted chalk powder on his palms, the pallid powder like bone meal against his skin’s warm umber. It evinced the calavera paint he’d worn in the dream beyond sleep. Madre always said pray, and God’d answer whether your ass was ready of not. Julio’d wanted numbness? There’d come searing pain, followed by a cold that went on forever.

Hijole, prayer answered right?

The young man slid up the zipper of his trainee uniform, sliding his discarded clothes into a locker. The path out of the locker room led him past the sinks and striations of stained checkered tile. The ovaline face with its broad nose, smooth features, and half crescent almond eyes looking back from the mirrors seemed a miracle, a relief but still utterly alien. It was so different from the barely sane piece of bleeding meat Señor Summers brought in a year ago. It was hard to imagine they were the same person. The glass reflected a smirk that deepened dimples along the cheeks. Technically he wasn’t maybe. The healers had rebuilt this body from the ground up so many times Julio doubted there was an original cell from Isabella Richter’s womb left in him.

Eh, he just kinna tried not to think bout that one too hard, made sleeping easier.

What mattered was, deserving or not, Julio had a heartbeat now. Learning to live again after so many months in the deepest darkness had been pretty rough. Diego knew, being the güey who pulled him back and all, but didn’t really want talk about it. Which was alright, Julio wanted to focus on the now. The Earth had been there for him, she always was. That abiding strength poured him right now, even just walking into the equipment closet, each footfall bringing on the slightest rush of dizzying anima.

Guess that was the real answer to how he, a literal quantifiable walking disaster, ended up tutoring kids who also had nowhere to go over the summer. He’d just kept walking straight ahead, not daring to look back at the seductive quietus. It’d led him here, in his saviors’ shoes, wearing their colors, wondering when the word would come down from the head hunchos that they’d screwed up.

Until then, there was apparently a chica who didn’t play well with others, so much so that they needed to be separate from the main class. That was fine. Hell, Shatterstar had walked him through rehab multiple times now. Julio wasn’t really in a place to begrudge someone needing to go their own pace y’know?

The pulsing tremors of distant footsteps shuddered up the seimsokinetic’s bones. Julio turned from where he’d been setting up the gear, face creasing into an broad smile that put creases at the edge of his eyes.

“Hey there! Your’re Señorita Roux yeah?” He inquired with a raise of dark eyebrows. “I’m Julio.”

Jessamine Roux
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Jessamine Roux
 Posted: May 30 2018, 04:14 PM
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Jess had been forced to stay in the hell hole that was the mansion for the summer. Hell, she had no where to go and Jess didn’t quite feel like trying her luck. Ira had gone off the radar and she was just left in a void with darkness surrounding her. It was pulsating and reaching at her but always pulled back. Sometimes it felt like that void was simply toying with her – enjoying her suffering.

The mansion was offering combat training classes and Jess felt like she had gotten far too rusty. After going through her options, the only true chance she had ever to take control of her life was to find a way to use what the institute forced in to her and fine tune it. Cameron was doing it, and it seemed like a natural path for her. An ex-child soldier doesn’t have too many open choices. The mansion had given her absolutely nothing power wise outside just a constant pain that made living unbearable. The girl had considered joining the actual group but something in her revolted at the thought. Sure, there were people she wanted absolutely nothing to do with but the thought of being pitted against others just didn’t sit well with her.

So, the girl had hunted down this Julio guy and informed him that she wasn’t exactly what you would call a team player. After some small coaxing the man had promised her that she could have her lessons in private. Jess was just here to try out. She wasn’t too sure how seriously she took this pretty boy Latino guy. He seemed to be the same age as her but here he was teaching. She didn’t need teaching – she needed finetuning. This was also one of the reasons she didn’t want to be put in a group with people who had never been in a real fight and most likely would never be.

Finally, came the day that Jess had to pull herself out of her chamber of isolation that was her room. She made her way to the training room in which she had once before been with Ira – the only person she had had any respect for in the whole mansion. Jess was wearing black leggings, with a tank top that left her pale arms out in the open. The deep cuts showed as soft pink against her otherwise flawless skin as she came in with her arms crossed over her chest.

The boy was quick to take notice of her and she flashed a small sarcastic smile. “It’s Jess”, the girl retorted not bothering with the niceties usually required in conversations. She hadn’t come here to make friends. “Yes, that’s what I’ve heard. So, Julio, what are you all about?”, she said doing her usual way of interrogation. People hardly answered honestly but their minds spoke the truth whether they wanted or not. She had tried to listen on his thoughts before coming in but all she heard about was about some star that was apparently a person. Also, her teacher was possibly a drug addict which kind of took away his reliability but then again narcs usually knew how to defend themselves at least.

-- Julio Richter
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Julio Richter
 Posted: Jun 1 2018, 05:06 AM
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The question’s epigrammatic breadth took Julio a bit off-guard. Confusion briefly broken over his soft features as a wave on fawn-colored sand, drawing down the outer horizons of his eyebrows and contorting his smile into an amiably pensive zig-zag. Behind the boy’s semblance rapid Spanish was superimposed over a deep chthonic roar like the boom of thunder beneath rather then above. Even as Julio chuckled and made a soft ‘uhh’ of verbalized neuro-cognitive deficit, human thoughts mingled within the ambiance of unspeakably vast primality, a distant thunderstorm both fierce and calmingly soporific.

“Oi, kinna a big question to pop onna guy y’know?”
He expressed candidly, sheepishness offset by the laughter dancing within warm sepia half-circles. “…or a small one dependin’ on the güey,” Julio amended with jovial self-deprecation. After setting some last training implements in their appointed places, the young man looked to his student in quiet speculation, glancing up and down her thin frame in quiet assessment. While pretty in a Mexico City fresca kinna way, Julio’s awareness of Jess extended beifly within and beyond the skin, as one might warm their hands by a campfire. But the fire in question was her life, cellular notes weaving together into a symphony of gestalt animation. As the would-be coach checked with glance if his athlete was sound of body and free from malady, every breathing creeping thing added their voices and fire to Julio’s expanding consciousness. Moss hiding in the damp interiors of drinking fountains, flies dancing in rafters, stones singing with the vibrations of passing footfalls, and the arterial flow of the student body through and around the mansion was as present on Julio’s personage as the trainee clothes shifting against skin.

“But,” concluding Jess up for the task, Julio’s soul snapped back to corporeal singularity. “Guess what I’m all about right know is figurin’ out how much combat expeirence you got.” He folded his arms over his chest, one hand’s fingers resting on a shoulder blade. “Don’ wan’ to slow this down with goin’ over stuff you already know.”



Jessamine Roux
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Jessamine Roux
 Posted: Jun 8 2018, 05:31 AM
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Jess watched the man get taken aback by her straight forward question and she felt like groaning, but the girl held her urges. This man, boy, was going to be her teacher or whatever so she would play nice enough for now. The man didn’t seem offended, instead he tried to soothe his own confusion with a smile. What a curious reaction. He didn’t seem particularly comfortable based off of the tone of his Spanish ramblings (that annoyed her since she couldn’t understand much from it).

“I don’t think small talk serves any purpose. It’s hardly of any use for me to know what your favourite colour is. I prefer questions that have some substance”, she stated with a slight tinge of irritation in her voice. People were too used to useless small talk. No one cared about anything of use when it came to conversations. Her icy eyes followed as the man set up the last of the equipment and she felt a shiver run down her spine. The memories of the institute came back far too real for her liking and she had to reconsider if this was actually worth it. A part of her was still convinced that if she participated in these sparring sessions, she’d end up at the ring again. With a shake of her head, Jess brought her thoughts back to the situation. This guy seemed rather harmless. Well, harmless compared to what she was used to. He was missing that gleam of pure madness in his eyes, the bared teeth waiting to rip someone’s throat out – that had to be a somewhat good indicator of his sanity, right?

Then his thoughts took a turn to a rather weird direction. What on earth was wrong with all these people? She had figured Joey must have been the weirdest of the bunch with his Nephilim bullshit, but this boy was nearing the same range of weirdo as the small thing. Did they do specific assessment tests to find out the weirdest of the bunch to deal with the so-called students? She was convinced this was what they did in fact.

It was her teacher’s turn to ask questions now and he thankfully seemed to be rather no nonsense as well. He didn’t underestimate her like everyone else seemed to do in that god forsaken place. “I lived in a facility that trained mutants in to becoming private super soldiers, we were sold to the highest bidder and our powers were trained for their best suited uses on top of teaching us to protect our future owner from all physical harm. The weak were killed off by stronger soldiers”, it was the first time Jess explained the institute this broadly, but it was also the first time anyone had asked her. “So, I haven’t learnt to do this whole play nice fighting. If you use force, you use it to kill or hurt the other one severely”, there was no point in hiding this. Sure, a part of her felt slightly proud of the fact that she was able to fight the way she did, but she wasn’t too happy about how these skills had come to be.

-- Julio Richter
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Julio Richter
 Posted: Jun 8 2018, 07:16 AM
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It was always kind of a question what flavor of person you were getting in these individual cases. When Jessamine crisply clarified that her sudden vague query had stemmed for how enlightened she was and was in fact ‘a question of substance,’ Julio got the gist pretty quick.

Chido, one of those…welp no small talk then. That was easy enough.

Stifling the impish impulse to immediately inquire what her favorite color was, Julio kept his thoughts on disingenuous word-games to a brief teasing smirk, “an’ I prefer questions where the real purpose matches up with what’s said.” Jess was right though, they weren’t here for colors or discussing whether making people feel comfortable was worth the conversational effort. Honestly, no nonsense might be better in retrospect. He already been given a stern look or two for flirting instead of fighting, and Jessamine was the kind of chica would could really tempt the kinna thing.

Profesional es!

Peculiar ways of asking a güey nothing and everything aside, Jessamine proved refreshingly honest with her following answer, even if ‘stark’ was the least grizzly word that could used for the truth she told. In a way, being buds with Shatterstar and his own …whatever, made the sheer drop into slavery, weaponization, and apparently open season on the stragglers. No no mistake, it was desmadre to the max, Julio doubted he kept his face neutral through it. Yet, as someone whose various travails, from leveling cities, to vampires attacks, to being burned alive on the lawn, were all distressingly public knowledge, Julio know blood-boiling the ‘oh you poor dear’ look is. From her tone Jessamine wasn’t looking for sympathy and was probably trying to move forward, something Julio couldn’t help but respect, their obvious difference in perspective aside. He remembered everyone and their friggen abuela asking ‘how he was doing’ after San Fran, like it’d all go away if he talked about it. She wanted to move on, and Julio wasn’t going to shove her back there with smothering sympathy.

“Is it still operatin’ ?” While technically not relevant to their sparring, it was too important a question for the junior X-man to just let slide. While he wasn’t going to belabor the fact with Jess, what she’d gone through was wrong, evil even. Asset 527 wasn’t in the shaking buildings into the sea business anymore, but hell, exceptions could be made for this.

“Thank you for bein’ honest with me Jess,”
Julio stated with uncharacteristic seriousness, soft features scrapped smooth by a brief dip into solemnity. It was definitely helpful and changed the game-plan here big time. Like himself, Jessamine was a killing machine. It took time to train that out of the muscles, and lots of it. Body was the easiest part, it was the heart and head Julio unfortunately couldn’t do much about for her. E.X.A.L.T still had all kinds of switches and strings tied up in his brain, so just sparring it’d have to be. “Seems like we’re safe skippin’ the basic forms and such then.” Julio’s face creased in thought, an expression too close to a frown to evoke sagacity. “Orale,” he concluded after a second, shoes squishing on the blue mat as he wandered over to the rack to grab some sparring gloves. “We’ll focus on some non-lethal take-downs later. But first I have'ta see what kinna fighter you are.” He tossed to a pair of gloves that looked Jess-ish size over to her.

“Also,” Julio said, flexing fingers through the padding he was pulling over his hand. “I need to know what your mutation is. I know it can be kinna personal,” he amended gently, “but this is a mixed form combat class. If I dunno what all you can do, I won’ be much help.”

Jessamine Roux
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Jessamine Roux
 Posted: Jun 22 2018, 03:05 AM
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Jess rolled her eye as Julio proved himself to be the comedian of the year with his mental quip on how much he wanted to inquire the girl’s favourite colour just to mess with her. “Well, it’s all about perspective. You are welcome to ask as many questions about me as you wish but both of us know I’m not here to make friends and I assume you didn’t take up the position of teaching children how to fight so you could make some life-lasting meaningful relationships”, the girl spoke in a slightly sarcastic tone giving a small shake of her hands at the end to emphasize her point and how ridiculous it was.

She began walking around, letting her eyes scan the room as Julio’s thoughts took a trip down memory lane. He was still referring to this Starperson and apparently, he had been burned alive. At this Jess turned to look at Julio, her brows furrowed slightly. There was no bodily indication that he boy in front of her had ever played with fire, but you never knew. This place was filled with mental cases so it wasn’t beyond her believing that one of them would burn someone alive. This kid seemed to have more problems than the average nutjob at this hellhole. That in itself was at least slightly interesting.

“Most likely. I highly doubt that where I lived was the only rehabilitation centre they had. Super soldiers are far too good of a market to only put your eggs in one basket”, she answered truthfully, concluding her study of the sparring area. She imagined that most of those freed were living their lives on the edge, just like her and Cameron. There was no telling when they decided to get their assets back and finish what they started. “Plus, even in my rehabilitation centre we had kids from south America and all over the US. Meaning they work internationally”, she had had a lot of time to figure out how things worked within the institute and whenever they had had any of the higher ups come in for evaluations, she would use the time the best way she could. Hearing people’s thoughts wasn’t always as terrible as the girl tended to make out. Sure, in the mansion it was useless, and she would have rather blown her brains out than listen to another teen drama – but at the institute it gave her information and what she lacked in strength or brute power, she made up for with information no one else could get their hands on.

The girl’s face contorted in surprise that she quickly hid away. She wasn’t used to people treating her with any respect – especially at the mansion. Ira had been the only one and he was long gone. “You’re really not like the other egoistic maniacs that work here. Why do you want this?”, she couldn’t help herself. This boy obviously wanted to join ranks with the x-men but he seemed rather decent. She most likely shouldn’t have asked the question but she couldn’t help herself. This was something she could not understand for the life of her. She wanted to ask him why he accepted this emotional abuse and brainwashing that the mansion used to create its own super soldiers. To her, the mansion was not far from what the institute had been. The institute had been honest with what its aim was and used physical harm to re-educate. Where as the mansion was filled with these egoistical manipulating cunts, who pretended to care for children that had no one else. They gave them falsehood of being loved in order to gain their loyalty and then used them as their own pawns. Whatever they thought was right went, no one questioned this and that’s not a healthy attitude.

Finally, they were getting on with the training and Julio picked up some gloves. “No. I don’t do hand-to-hand combat. In case you haven’t noticed the impeccable shape that I am in, I don’t exactly have the body built for combat where I need to match someone’s strength”, she said making a disgusted face at the gloves. She’d had to do her basic training using them and vowed never to touch another pair of training gloves for as long as she lived. “One of your useless teachers took something of mine and I want them back”, she stated bluntly with her arms crossed over her chest. “Heavy duty, contractible, steel batons that can be connect together. Specifically made for me and my build”, the girl explaining bringing her hands to show the empty holsters on her thighs.

The girl felt her body go slightly rigid as he asked for her mutation. She usually didn’t mind showing it but she couldn’t get the thought out of her head that she was exposing herself here. There was no telling what he could do so him knowing her powers gave him an advantage. “I need to know your powers as well. I refuse to indulge in anything that might get me killed if you know what to expect unless you give me the same spiel”, she said rather defensively. Jess hadn’t come here to play and she sure as hell wasn’t going to risk anything. She didn’t trust this boy, nor did she trust anyone at the mansion.

-- Julio Richter
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Julio Richter
 Posted: Jun 27 2018, 05:07 AM
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As Jessamine described the scope of this mutant trafficking organization, Julio ignored the uncomfortable sickness that came with learning it operated in his geographic neighborhood. A worry, soft and insidious, burrowed though the mental notes he was taking to go over with Storm later. “Thanks Jess,” he said after she’d finished. “I figure it probably sucks to talk about,” dark eyebrows lifted in emphasis as Julio sought her eyes briefly, “but it really does help us track these people down, thank you.”

It quickly became evident that Jessamine Roux and Xavier’s School disagreed with each other in a big way. Julio decided to take her appraisal of him being different as the compliment it seemed intended to be, despite the questions that raised. She inquired why he wanted this, which probably meant why he wanted to become an X-men, something he’d refused to even consider just this past summer. The reality behind his choice was simple really. Julio just wished he had something more noble and inspiring to tell her, but Jess’d been real with him even what she didn’t have to. The least he could do was return the curtesy.

“If I leave, the MRD an' government will hunt again me again and even more people'll die. If I make it back home, that just puts my family in danger.” It seemed stupid saying it out loud, that never-ending tennis match of options your brain plays in the long sleepless hours. “So I can either curl up an’ hide here, run away again,” Julio pointed out as he secured glove straps on his wrists, “or try fightin’ as a person instead of a weapon.” His following shrug attempted to roll off the burden of tension from the heavy matter at hand, “goin’ with tres for now.”

They walked over to the rack to attend to more martial matters, and Jessamine explained her reservations. In fact he had noticed the great shape Jessamine was in, but Julio kept his gaze dutifully trained on the girl’s face as she pointed it out. “Matchin’ the other guy’s strength isn’ the way to go anyway,” Julio pointed out patiently, “Use your opponent’s momentum right, and even short-stacks like us can hold our own up-close,” noted the junior coach, folding sinewy arms behind his head as he listened quietly to Jessamine describe her lost weaponry. Truth was, she’d need to expand beyond that niche eventually. Everyone had their set style and what-not, but real action wasn’t so accommodating. With a glance down at the empty holsters, Julio reasoned it wasn’t actually about combat, not really. That whack-a-skull baton probably felt like part of her, made her feel safe. Which might be why of the teacher’s taking it away was such a big deal.

Julio could kinna relate, there were times he really wanted his SIG Sauer back. But fights between the cartels were quick, viscious, and always deadly, not exactly what X-men were about, y’know? Joining his rescuers had meant Julio leaving his old life behind.

Yet, Jessamine wasn’t taking that plunge anytime soon, and it seemed unfair to ask her to. It didn’t take a genius to see this chica felt real alone, isolated in a school packed to the gills. Julio was new to this whole teaching thing, and anyone who heard about it back home would’ve probably busted their ass laughing at that image. However, he figured more progress would be made with small steps then trying to rope Jess into a corner. “But,” he ameliorated with a soft crooked smile, “This useless teacher gotta name?” Dark chocolate eyes crinkled at the edges, “If so I can see bout’ gettin’ your rods back.”

His question about powers brought on a palpable tension, and Julio knew they’d just stepped into dicey territory. Before he could think up a polite way to withdraw the query, Jessamine returned the interrogation back on him along with some concerns for her life. Hijole, this chica was cagey, but he could kinna get where she was comin’ from. “That’s fair,” the seismokinetic allowed as he tried to scrape together a cliff notes version. “I’m connected to the vibrations that travel through the planet." Orale, thing’s had come way since he just thought mutants were cursed freaks. Year ago he’d probably have no idea what any of this meant. “I feel footsteps, life-energy, and the tectonic plates.” An indicating finger pointed down towards the chthonic depths. “I use these vibrations to make earthquakes, volcanoes, and shockwaves.”

He held up a staying hand lest she get the wrong idea. “Which I won’t do while we train.”

Jessamine Roux
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Jessamine Roux
 Posted: Jul 14 2018, 03:50 PM
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”You people came in once already and what good did you do? You killed most of us off. I haven’t seen the x-men treat my kind any better than the people at the institute did. Sure, you might not put me in solitary weekly to be tortured but instead you use emotional brainwashing to use children who have nothing else. You make them do a deal with the devil where they’re given some bullshit about how they matter when everyone here is nothing beyond a self-centred egomaniac”, the girl couldn’t help but snap at the boy who planned proved to be no better than the people she had already met. The trauma that had been her rescue festered deep within her and each day at the mansion seemed to only make it hurt again. “You can’t bring the institute down. Cut one head off, two more will come. The more you god complexed douchebags try to save us, the more you damn us”, the girl hissed as her body began to betray her. Fear seeped through her words as she trembled like a leaf in a hurricane. “You will only kill us and the rest, well so, far I’m not more than a freak, no better than an animal to you because I refuse to be brainwashed again”, Jess could feel herself unravel right in front of this boy who knew nothing. “Once was enough”, she finally whispered clenching her fists trying to gain control of herself.

It was the first time the girl had come undone in a long time. When was the last time? The night her and Cameron had spoken. Her mind tried to reel her back in to the cell she had been thrown in, covered in blood soaked bandaged. The pain had been so bad she was ready to give in. If morning never came, she would have been more than happy. The girl’s blue eyes ripped open and she steeled herself. Locked all that pain deep inside her. Somewhere, no one would ever find it.

“I know someone like that, but he decided to take control. If you have powers like that, you should be able to keep yourself well protected”, the girl said her voice eerily void of emotion. His story was nothing new. It kept repeating over and over, except she had seen only 3 possible outcomes – the x-men were not of them. You either took control of it all and abandoned all hopes of ever being ‘normal, like Cameron had done years ago. Two, you became a weapon for someone else and finally three, you got yourself killed.

The girl decided not to give any more input to his choices. She thought him working for the x-men was not far from what she imagined being a weapon was like. Then again, enough brainwashing made you believe anything. That must have been the case here as well.

The girl couldn’t help but roll her eyes as she heard him give the speech she’d heard a million times back. “Getting up close is never ideal. Especially with mutants. One touch and that’s game over for you. Keeping your distance and always being ready is what keeps you alive. Find yourself with a pyrokinetic and they’ll burn you to the bone, super strength, they’ll rip your arms right out without breaking a sweat”, the girls mind flooded with the horrors she had seen and the mistakes those around her had made. “And ding ding ding. I lived in a place where you might get killed for breathing in the wrong direction. The institute wasn’t this jampacked with freaks like this place is. Being here keeps me quite on edge and without my batons I hardly stand a chance. Ever lived your life waiting for that moment when someone snaps and decides to use you as their little stress toy?”, she said her body becoming rigid from the stress. Jess was nothing, but explosive nerves and stress bundled up in a dangerous combo that could end up with murderous intent as had been proven during her first weeks.

“She had multiple people inside her head. Different voices, different personalities. Had white in her hair. Extremely annoying and has a thing with the tree thing”, the girl tried to recall any other detail of the woman, but their interaction had been so brief. Jess hardly paid any attention, so it was hard to remember much more of her. “Would be greatly appreciated”

The girl was intently listening on any hint that the boy might be lying or hiding something about his powers but as he explained, there were no indications. His mind was clear as a summers day. “Alright”, she finally said after his explanation on his own powers. She could see why he was wanted as a weapon but she could hardly understand why the boy couldn’t keep himself safe. He seemed like he could wreak some havoc if he so wished. “I can hear all of your thoughts, well everyone’s thought near me – non-stop. And I do this”, she said and the room was filled with a shower of brightly coloured, shimmering butterflies that shifted mid flight in to birds with slightly more intricate details on them. Soon the birds gathered together in a hypnotising dance of colour that with a flutter of glittering dust solidified in to an exact copy of the girl. “And that’s where the name Illusion comes from”

-- Julio Richter
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Julio Richter
 Posted: Jul 15 2018, 02:22 AM
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Julio patiently endured the disjointed tirade of dubious claims and equivocations on the nature of his own character with a smooth faced calm. The more important stuff about what Jess was saying lay between those lines. She was hurt, angry, scared, and felt everyone here was against her. Jess referred to ‘her kind’ like a separate kinna creature, which told a güey alot without asking too much more. It was the end though, when she started to loose control, that Julio knew he’d screwed up big time. “You’re not’a freak or an animal Jess,” he reminded gently once the splurge of words had devolved into shaking,

Jessamine answered Julio’s summation of his life circumstances with numb iciness. However frigidly condescending her life advice might be, Julio was encouraged when Jess mentioned another person. While Julio doubted Jess’ version of ‘take control’ lined up with his own, she seemed to admire this unnamed güey on some level. Her jaded doll blankness was more then a little unnerving, familiar in a way that brought uncomfortable tenseness to the gut. But maybe showing connecting this other, anyone really, would help some.

There was no shortage of gory input on Julio’s suggestion, and young man listened with characteristically amiable meekness, ducking his head slightly to one side playfully as if Jessamine’s long suffering eye-roll were a softball thrown at his face. The cheery quiet became a frown of visible concern as Jess’ zero-sum scenarios descended into a darkening of her aspect. For a second there she seemed impossibly far away at distance of just five feet. Julio noticed when Jess answered his thoughts instead of his words, but was far more troubled by her body language. Julio answered with only a nod before moving on, “but Jess…” He resisted the urge to reach out, given what she’d just said, that might make things worse. “You wanna sit down or somethin’?” The offer was followed by tranquil capitulation. “Alright, I see your point, we can jus’ work on footwork and whatnot for now.”

When it came to this offending teacher, the schizophrenia was a new one, and brought on a ton questions, not the least of which being how Jess kew that unless the teacher had gone all Exorcist on her. Julio had to stuff all that in a mental corner as he tried to find a detail that didn’t really on Jess’ distinctive brand of caricature. While there were more then a few teachers with white in their hair, Julio decided to go with the one it stood out the most on, kinky tree sex aside. “Sounds like you mean Rogue,” he reasoned. “I’ll talk to her ‘bout it.”

Jessamine confirmed the suspicions that’d mounted in the last minute or two, and things simultaneously got way more simple and way complicated, normal for telepathy stuff really. A less Gordian revelation came as entire training room was inundated with a diaphanous deluge. Julio held out a hand as incandescent butterflies flowed around him prismatic currents, like a rainbow had been life but retained its hushed sublimity. He jumped maybe more then a little when the insects became birds, a waterfall of pinions and glinting pitted eyes. By the time a simulacrum of Jessamine materialized from a haze of gold, the boy’s jaw had dropped a few inches. He circled the copy, face dawning into a goofy sunrise of a grin. “Muy chido…”

Jessamine Roux
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Jessamine Roux
 Posted: Jul 19 2018, 04:17 AM
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Jessamine Roux



“Well, you can tell that to your precious x-men. They don’t see me any different”, she spat at him, wrapping her arms around her shaking frame. She would not listen to any excuses. The girl had been faced with the hypocrisy that the x-men seemed to hold in high regards within themselves. “I watched the x-men slaughter us without any regards, they have no regard for our lives”, she added forcefully letting her steely blue eyes cut deep within the boys own. The fact that the x-men had killed so many of those at the institute without a second thought, had rooted a deep fear within Jess from day one. Sure, she had never felt much love for those at the institute with her but no matter what she thought, they were the same. They were all soldiers and they had gone through something no one else could ever understand. The institute had its own methods on how to yield submission from its subjects.

The girl listened in the boy’s thoughts on her and she couldn’t help but let out a snort at his optimism. Oh, if he only knew Cameron. A man with no regard for human life, he killed because he enjoyed it. It was what he was made for and he took pride in it.

The girl’s eyes shot to his hands as if to dare him to try and touch her. She was feeling more than skittish and would most likely to try and break his hand if it tried to soothe her. Touching was not something she was comfortable with most people. Mark was a special case in everything, so the girl had begun leaving him out of the equation on how she felt towards the general population. “I’m fine, I have dealt with worse”, she said rolling her shoulders back and cracking her neck. The girl hadn’t really learnt to give herself the time she might need to go over her feelings. Only way of coping was to ignore it all and push forward.

Jess watched as awe took over Julio’s whole being, reaching out for the butterflies. She made one of them land on his finger leisurely flapping its shimmering wings. Once her showcase concluded in to a twin of herself the boy seemed properly amazed. Jess felt a small flame of pride flutter to life within herself, but she didn’t let it show. “Not quite as deadly as yours but it keeps me from having to ever get in contact with my opponent unless I want to hurt them”, she explained letting her illusion dissolve next to her. She considered showing her little trick in fighting but one could never be too careful around others.

-- Julio Richter
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Julio Richter
 Posted: Jul 25 2018, 06:44 AM
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Julio didn’t contest the Jess’ claim. The discrepancies within her account were noted but didn’t dent the Tapatio’s unflustered auscultation. For he harkened mainly to her tone, the flash in her cobalt eyes. Was it true? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe seen from a certain angle. Julio’d kinna given up having everything clean and simple, even if his companion seemed to like her truths served stark and razor sharp. There were more questions to ask, but not here, not the someone shaking at room temperature. “I will,” Julio answered the rhetorical demand with a nod, as if Jess had just asked a personal favor.

Jessamine’s retreat into the icy tough frescas thing, complete with neck-crack nearly had him for a second there. Hijole esta cosa? Yet Julio subdued the tickle in his throat force of will. No curling busting at the stitches invaded his lips, and some not so gentlemanly jokes about chicas north of border stayed safely in his hermanos’ minds and Spanish. Some humor didn’t translate very well…or at all, in some cases.

But no private jokes diluted the awe remained even after the butterflies dissolved. “It gorgeous,” he noted earnestly, “waaaay better then mine.” To the eyes of young man who preferred pizza, dancing, futball, and the most awful movies imaginable, the power to level cities wasn’t a gift. It was really more like a really really dangerous kind of asthma, something hecka annoying you were born that made life more complicated. But this? The seemingly endless possibilities of Jessamine’s power stretched out through the boy’s imagination as he regarded Jess like she was a cross between a ninja and a unicorn. Some of the ideas were clever, the product of a mind good at seeing connections, some were predictable, others were just silly, but none held any trace of death or bloodshed. To him at least, Jessamine’s power was perfect.

“So,” Julio ventured, “are they made of light or are you putting them in my head?”

Jessamine Roux
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Jessamine Roux
 Posted: Jul 27 2018, 04:55 AM
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Jessamine Roux



”It’s not quite as useful as yours”, she said with a shake of her head. Jess despised her telepathy. The illusions were fun but of little use as they were. They gave her the possibility to do petty theft without being and staying on the grey side of life where it technically wasn’t a crime because the people were compliant – sure the reasons behind this compliance was not as conventional as one might hope.

“At least with your power, no matter how desirable it is, you can protect yourself. There is very little I can do when it comes to self-preservation which makes me a prime target for others”, the girl said as if this was something part of everyone’s lives. Well, the boy knew what it was like to be wanted for your powers. He was a weapon where as she was an infiltrator and a torturer.

The girl felt a flutter of pride as the boy’s thoughts kept going on and on about the possibilities of her powers. He thought they were perfect. That was a wholly new concept. The girl suffered daily because of her powers. They had limited her life so greatly she hardly saw them as perfection. Then again, Jess had never thought that she’d want to get rid of her powers. Sure, they were the reason she had lost her life and became this half ghost with no place in the world – but at the end of the day she was Illusion and Illusion was her. Without her powers, there was no her.

Thankfully, the conversation moved forward. “It’s inside your head. I can make you see, feel, hear or smell anything I want. Adds nicely to the fact that I have to listen to everyone’s thoughts at all times, don’t you think?”, the girl explained snapping her fingers to add a flourish to what she was doing. The room was filling with dark clouds that begun dripping water, quickly becoming a torrent of rain. The water splashed against Julio’s tanned skin, leaving trails on his shirt and matting his hair against his head. Jess stood in the rain as if she was inside her personal snow globe. The drops of rain hit the invisible dome leaving her completely dry as Julio had to take on the onslaught of sudden rain.

Quickly it all came to a halt and the clouds evaporated as quickly as they had come to be. The ground was left seemingly wet, the mat soaked through and through. A loud squelch came from behind the boy as a dark, oozing figure begun rising from the mat. It clawed its way out from the depths, materializing behind him. Soon enough the creature’s torso was fully out, and its sharp clawed hands started pulling itself closer to Julio. Guttural groans escaped from it’s gaping maw that was oozing a dark, thick substance all down its front.

It was gaining on Julio as Jess’ blue eyes followed the horror show she was creating. The girl rarely got to play with her powers like this. She was a master of macabre illusions that came from the darkness of one’s soul. The mat seemed to have slowly liquified after the monster as it clawed its way ever closer to Julio, a glint in it’s sunken eyes. A strong reek of swamp in summer heat rose from the creature as Jess kept adding layers upon layers to her horror show. She had been practising hard on creating smells which had proved to be harder than anything else she’d ever done.

-- Julio Richter
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