Hunter Comes to the Soup KItchen

Characters: Lexi Nemo (Tendril), Klavdiya Vasiliev (Okhotnik)
Rated: PG-13
Summary: Lexi is working a soup kitchen in Mutant Town sponsored in part by the Xavier Institute, when a particular homeless veteran comes to watch over the others there. It seems a fateful meeting.
OOC Date: 2017-11-08 to 2017-08-11
IC Date: 2017-11-08
Where: Mutant Town, New York City

For months, possibly even more than a year, the rumor has persisted. Many of the homeless and less fortunate of Mutant Town have come into the food kitchen and shelter where Lexi and others volunteer, and they have spoken in hushed tones of the figure who seemingly leads and protects them. Most would never give a name, but some did. 'Hunter' they called this figure, a protector willing to face any threat to keep the homeless of Mutant Town safe from those who would take advantage of them or do them harm.
But this 'Hunter' never came to the shelter to get food.
The first clue that something was different was the movements of the crowd outside as time came for the doors to open: no pushing, no shoving, none of the usual minor disagreements. Word spreads that apparently another carload of uptown troublemakers was cruising the street not long ago, but they have been dealt with. It's subtle, but a few who speak of this in murmuring voices glance towards the back half of the line today.
The only other hint is the somewhat curious presence of a passel of wild street cats, milling about here and there around the end of the line.. They do not come up to the front of the line, vying for food. They stay back, milling around, relatively quietly. No protests. No complaints.

All of this Lexi has heard - the rumors, the gossip. But never too much. Even as known as she is to many of Mutant Town's homeless, there's a tendency to protect their secrets. While she's not a vigilante (or wouldn't think of herself as such), she's dealt with some intrusions hersef. The most recent was the unexpected car flip of a group of militia types out to make trouble. While there were no deaths, the car was totalled and those inside certainly were in need of a hospital (and a lawyer when the illegal guns and drugs in the car were found by the police). She prefers to help in more peaceful ways, however…especially since Xavier would frown on her making trouble in Mutant Town. There's enough hardship here already without her contributing.
Today, she's the door greeter at the moment…someone has to be. While the shelter is open to those in need, there are always troublemakers, or druggies who are more in need of the clinic down the street…she greets many people by name as they arrive, even those who cast her a suspicious look. The odd order and peaceful transition is new though. Not that she minds, she's just curious what's changed, and perhaps a bit more wary. She's learned that when people get quiet here sometimes it means trouble.
The cats are new, however. Hmm. Her nostrils flare slightly as she scents the air…maybe there's food nearby that they're drawn to? Wouldn't be the first time a particular fragrant trash can brought the local stray cats running. Then again: they ARE doing tuna casseroles today…

Yet instead of being drawn to the trash out behind the kitchen, or charging for the door to get inside, the cats remain calmly milling around at the back of the line. Everyone stays calm and ordered, a bit quieter, more subdued than usual as they come inside and get in line for food. Still, they aren't so afraid that they won't greet Lexi in turn; many know the mauve mutant girl, and most of them accept her as much as they will anyone who doesn't (any longer) live on or under the streets.
The scents Lexi picks up as she inhales deeply are a tad troubling, however. It's not a scent she's smelled before, but those instincts of hers kick in: predator. Big, dangerous, lethal predator. And … feline. No stray, this. But feline. And unless she is completely mistaken, that scent would seem to come from right in the midst of those milling strays.
Whether or not Lexi spots the figure that is and isn't part of the crowd, she is there. Just another homeless face, dirty and unkempt. Ashen blonde hair is dark, greasy and wild. Her attire is a collection of army surplus desert camo, with an olive drab baggy overcoat.

Lexi narrows her eyes at that scent, her head turning back and forth for a moment, before she pauses to smile at an older resident, greeting her, before she waves over one of her cohorts to take over at the door. "Need a break. Gonna take a quick walk, I'll be back by th' time we're servin'." she says to the college aged man who nods to her, taking over as she walks out farther away from the door. She's following the scent now…it's strong. Enough that she doesn't think she'll lose it, even though many of the people in line are pretty fragrant themselves. Her eyes fall on the blonde woman in the camo, flicking over her, then going back to her after a moment, before her head cocks. She doesn't recognize her, but that's not entirely unusual. She's wearing surplus gear…veteran, maybe? They get too many of those. Not as many who are mutants, however. They're often too valuable…they don't get mustered out unless they really really want out. Too useful.
"Hello…" the girl says slowly. "I don't think I've seen ya before out here, ya new ta th' area? Or passin' through?" There's no accusation in her voice…plenty of transients come through, in addition to people who just end up on the streets.

The blonde lifts her eyes, but not all the way; she does not make actual eye contact with Lex, and she hitches back a step to make sure there's room between them. It's the same kind of instinctual posturing Lex has seem all too often amongst homeless vets. She doesn't answer right away, a bit of a rock and sway to her as she regards the mauve girl.
"Don't usually … come here." the woman finally answers, her words mushy, her voice intentionally softened and weakened, disguising the accent they hold. "Everything OK?" she asks, a tad pensively, eyes sweeping back and forth along the line. "Don't have enough, I'll go. Don't want others going hungry."
Proof of a rather unusual homeless woman, giving no real thought to her own next meal in favor of that of her compatriots.

Lexi smiles and shakes her head. "No, there's still plenty, don't worry…" she reassures the woman, noting when she steps back to make space. "…are ya alright with goin' in? If it's too many people, I can bring ya some…" she offers after a moment. Her nostrils flare again as she scents the air. Okay that is…definitely a different feline scent than the cats. Much stronger. "I'm Lexi…' she offers after a moment. "I volunteer out here."

The woman eyes Lexi for a few moments, then glances at the door. She's weighing something, silently. "They call me Hunter." she murmurs. And this close, Lexi is unlikely to miss it for long: the source of that feline predator scent is this woman. Why might be a mystery. But it's definitely her.
"You don't mind, that'd be real good. I c'n stay out here. Right here. No trouble." Okhotnik promises, nodding a bit, a jerky sort of motion. "C'n help scrub pots, after, you want."

A flicker of recognition runs through Lexi's eyes. "Hunter, hmm? I've heard a bit aboutcha. Some of th' others talkin'." She hmms, then nods firmly. "If ya wanna help out after, that's cool, but food first, kay? I'll be right back.' She turns and heads back to the door again, saying something to the young man there, then disappearing inside for a few moments.
She pops back out carrying a bottle of juice and a cheap plastic plate with steaming casserole piled on it. Some of the people by the door turn towards it, starting to grumble, but then see she's taking it to you and stop after furtive looks your direction. There's a fork on the plate as Lexi offers it to you. "There ya go. Drink th' juice too. Ya wanna get some vitamin C in ya." she suggests.

The woman watches Lexi's return, making a little moue face. "Should wait, until they've all been served." she murmurs. It's the words of a leader, taking care of her people. Still, she looks to Lexi and nods. "Thank you."
And Okhotnik continues to sit there, quietly watching, waiting. She crouches down, resting the plate across her thighs, and cracks open the bottle, sipping at its contents slowly. You speak well with them. They trust you." she observes to Lexi.

"Welcome."Lex takes that as an invitation to perch on a pile of pallets, pulling herself up so her legs kick lightly. "Well, used ta live here myself." she admits. "Years ago now. But I still come back when I can. Help out." She watches the group the line as it slowly shrinks as more and more are allowed inside. "I mean…probably helps that I, y'know, look like…" She motions towards herself with her hand. "Kinda obvious what I am, y'know? Makes some people feel safe. Other places I volunteer at, it causes problems. So I mostly stick to Mutant Town."

Okhotnik doesn't look like a mutant, but she doesn't react at all to the mauve girl's appearance or her admission that she's a mutant. It doesn't seem to matter to her at all. She crouches, still sipping her drink slowly, tiny sips, letting it soak in while she waits to be sure all of 'her people' get inside and are assured of a meal, before she tries partaking of what Lex has brought her.
"Not living here now, though." she observes, carefully, still mushy-mouthed and soft-voiced. "You got out." No accusation there, just an observation of truth. "Good that you recognize it, and come back. Give back, to help others find a way out too."
"Sorry, others not accept you." Idiots.

The mauve girl shrugs, leaning back on her hands. "I'm used ta it. With people like that, it's either 'go die freak' or they wanna add a purple girl notch on their bedposts." she says, matter-of-factly. "Either way, not like they're seein' me anyway. Just whatever they built up in their heads, y'know?" You notice those gold eyes are…watching your mouth when you're eating at first, before she meets your eyes again. Mostly, checking to see if you're in need of a dentist…that mushy-mouthed way of talking sometimes means someone has a rotten tooth they're favoring. "But yeah. Got real lucky. So I try ta do stuff for the people still here. I'm not super wealthy but I got time ta give." She smiles a bit. "…they accept you. I keep hearin' yer th' leader of everyone, pretty much."

The other woman shakes her head. "Not a leader." she offers, a tad gruffly. She doesn't bristle yet, doesn't push away and try to leave. But she didn't like that. She objects to that.
"I protect." Okhotnik offers, after a bit. She hasn't eaten, yet. But once all of her people are inside, assured of being fed, she finally starts to eat, slowly. Not the haphazzard, rapid devouring of the truly starving. But her movements are smooth, efficient, with no wasted motion. And she doesn't make eye contact. She avoids it.
That sometime golden shimmer behind those green eyes, when the light falls just so, might be why.
"Trouble comes, I'm first." Okhotnik explains. "Can't fix things. Can't make them alright. But I can protect them from more."

"A protector then. Okay." Lexi tilts her head, watching as the other woman eats, her eyes almost gleaming like a cats in the twilight as the sun goes down. "…ya smell like ya could deal with trouble." she says absently. "That's all people can do. Deal with it as best they can." She eyes the cats roaming around. "…that's why they're with ya, huh?…damn, what do ya call a group of cats…swarm? Council? Convocation…." She frowns, then snaps her fingers. "Clowder! A clowder of cats. I remember cuz it sounds like chowder, kinda." She frowns. "Not that I'd make chowder out of a cat, that's just mean."

"Feed chowder to cats." the other woman offers. She gets to a point somewhere close to seven eighths of the food, and then steps. Stops, and sets the plate down. "Psst psst." she murmurs, and the cats all line up around her hands and the plate, waiting. They all wait, patiently. Then she gives a slight incline of her head, and they move forward, each taking just a little bit of the last tiny bit of remaining food. Not one dares to bat at or otherwise abuse the others. They each get a bit, close to an equal share. And they retreat.
It's pretty darned unusual.
"They like me. Respect me." Okhotnik admits, quietly. She does not pet them, or otherwise love on them. But she fed them, from her own portion of food. It's a pretty generous gift, really. "They trust me to protect them." Like the homeless. Sensing a pattern?
"Yer good with the words."

Lexi wrinkles her nose. "Well, I like weird words, just cuz they're fun to say. Like…pulchritudinous. Titicaca. Splorch. That sorta thing.' She grins a bit, white teeth flashing in the available light. "So, ya got a gift for cats? Ya smell like one…' she says, frowning. "I mean, not a house cat, but somethin' bigger. I mean, I met a girl once who thought she was a cat, but she only turned between a little purple cat an' a girl with purple hair.

The homeless woman watches as the cats finish their bit of the meal, and then she looks up at Lex. "I wasn't born it. Not like your purple friend." she explains, softly spoken. "But I am. 'Part cat', I suppose you would say. I don't use it. 'S' dangerous. But it's there." She does not seem terribly inclined to explain right now; she's not quite 'afraid' of this feline side of herself, but there's definitely a hesitantcy about having much to do with it.
The woman gestures to the cats. "They smell it, like you. Better, probably. They respect it, and follow me. Trust me to look after them, in a fashion." Not unlike how she apparently looks out for the other homeless.

Lexi huhs. "Got it later, hmm? Ya okay with figurin' it out, then or is this…really recent for ya? The, um, cat thing, I mean." She kicks her legs absently, as her silvery dreadlocks shift slightly against her back. "An' that would explain it, if they can smell it too. Suprised they didn't go runnin' out of th' area to avoid yer territory, they must think of ya as a momma cat than a threat."

"Long as I don't get angry, they stay." Okhotnik offers, still soft-pedaling and slurring her words to ease the edge and disguise her accent. Momma cat? Yeah, she's not going to own up to that one easily.
"I … have it figured out. Mostly." the homeless woman offers. "Had it … a few years. Wasn't easy. But I puzzled it out, over time." she admits. She probably won't use words like 'weretiger', but she has figured out how it works. There are still some surprises; she has yet to know anything about her body's reaction to obsidian. "Nothing likes to be near me when I'm angry."

The other girl looks thoughful. "Are ya still…well, -you- when yer angry?" she asks after a moment. "I mean, in control an' stuff? Or is it instinct at that point?" She reaches up to idly start playing with a few strands of silvery hair that curl around her fingers slowly. "Sorry, just…I try ta help people find, um, people who can show 'em how ta control what they do an' live with it an' stuff."

The other woman shrugs her shoulders just a bit. "Enh. Depends. Mostly me. But … a lot of instinct, too. Bit of a blender, I guess?" She clearly has never spent a lot of time thinking about it this way, given the uncertainty of her answers and how definite she seems to be about everything else.
"You can ask anything." she offers, simply. "Just, a lot I won't answer." She makes no excuses. No explanations. She just lays out the rule and leaves it at that.
After a bit, she reaches out and gathers up her plate and stands up, stretching out her legs. "I should start on cleaning those dishes, while they eat."

Lexi himms. "Okay. I'll take cleanin' duty with ya then." she says, sliding off the pallets, landing on her feet smoothly, then narrows her eyes sa she looks past you. "…oh dammit…" she mutters, as a lanky woman with spidery limbs comes down the alley, heading towards the door a bit unsteadily. "Hold on." She walks towards her. "Spitter, ya know yer banned…" she says, frowning as she folds her arms, blocking her path. The other woman hisses. "C'mon, c'mon, I need a place, gotta stay, get somethin' t-t-t-ta eeeeeeeeeeatah." She clicks her teeth at Lexi, baring large fangs.
Lexi narrows her eyes. "I'll bring ya something out. But you don't get to go in. An' you know why." Spitter hisses "Was mine, all mine!" Lexi drops her hands to her sides. "It was NOT yours, and ya damn well know it, an' then ya tried ta start shit when ya got caught. Yer banned still. That's th' rule."

The 'Hunter' moves away from the wall, gliding over to stand beside Lexi, facing off against Spitter. "That is enough." For a moment, the slurring is gone; her voice is harsh, all edges, like razor blades of intensity and command. A soldier indeed.
"Lex, go. Get food. No one starves here today." Okhotnik offers, gesturing with her head to guide the other woman on the very same errand she had already declared she would pursue. But then Diya steps up, filling the sidewalk with the intensity of her gaze, her presence.
"You know the rules. This place, and those inside, are mine. I protect what is mine. You take the food, you go, we have no problem. The tunnels are yours. But you come for this place, for these people, you are a problem. I end problems." Still slurred, there is a finality to the soldier's words. Her hands stay at her sides, but the posture is not unlike that of a classic Western standoff, the hair's breadth of a twitch away from raw violence.

Lexi blinks as you walk up next to her, hesistating as she looks between the two of you as Spitter hisses, but also cringed away from a bit. "But it's cooooold…I'll freeeeeeeze.." she whines. "Tunnels are too cold!" There's a wheedling tone to her voice as Lexi takes a step back, frowning, then decides that Hunter seems to have the aura of one who can deal with issues. Long enough for her to slip inside, anyway. "…okay." she says, grudgingly, before she slips inside again. Spitter tries to sidle around Hunter, her bloodshot green eyes watching her.

"You will not freeze." 'Hunter' offers, firm and unrelenting. "There are steam vents in the tunnels. They will keep you warm, even in the coldest weather. And when the blankets come, you may have your share. But you will not threaten others. You will not take others' blankets, or food."
There's no sidling around Hunter, and she makes that point abundantly clear. "Do not make me teach you, Spitter. You know I can. You know I will. But this is a place of safety. I don't want violence here." Hunter doesn't want violence; that doesn't mean she won't unleash it. She waits for Lex to return with the food, as promised, and keeps a blazing hot amber-eyed glare on the part-spider mutant girl.

It becomes a standoff…Spitter is a bit too cowardly to push it. Against Lexi, perhaps, but the can sense that she won't be able to push Hunter into stepping aside. So she goes for pleading and begging. Fairly shamelessly. "Too cold, too cold…my blood can't take it, I'll freeze without eeeeeeeet…" she hisses, rubbing her too thin overly long arms, her eyes flicking around, then focusing on Lexi as she comes back out with a paper plate and fork and water, much like she did for Hunter. She stalks over and holds it out to Spitter, who looks between the two of you, then hisses and snatches at the plate and water, withdrawing back down the alley again as she retreats.
Lexi siiighs, then mmphs. "…thanks. She pulls that crap every time, we fell for it the first couple times. That she'd changed, that she'd learned a lesson…she never does though." she says, a bit sadly.

'Hunter' shakes her head. "No, she doesn't." Not that she knows why Spitter is the way she is; she is just a realist who deals with what she finds to the best of her ability. "We may not accept her in the alleys, but we will not let her starve, or freeze. The blankets come every year. When they do, she will get her share. And the steam vents in the tunnels."
Clearly 'Hunter' has been around and paying a lot of attention for a long time, if she knows that much about how things work. And she seems to know the tunnels, which is rare these days. There are rumors that a new batch of Morlocks may be operating down there, but it has been years since the last crop.
"Your people are safe. I will keep watch. I promise."

Lexi smiles. "My people, huh?" she murmurs. "Well, yer one of those too then, y'know." She glances over, studying the other woman, noting the accent has sharpened now, her lips pursing for a moment, then she smiles faintly. "C'mon, we can chat inside where it's warm in the kitchen?"

The cats will mill around and keep watch, and screech warnings if something goes wrong.
'Hunter' shrugs. "Scrubbing dishes. Yes." And with that, she changes her physical demeanor back to that same shy, retiring, uncertain one that she had before the threat of Spitter appeared. But it's a lot more obvious now that some of that is a put-on, something that makes her less threatening, more acceptable to others.

From Lexi's expression, she's noticed this, but she's not commenting. She leads you back through the cafeteria style seating to the swinging door that leads to the back room. "Hey Shawn, I'm gonna take cleaning up tonight, Hunter here is gonna help me, kay?" The older man dishing out the food nods, looking at ash blonde woman with a penetrating glance, before inclining his head towards the door. "Sure." he rumbles, going back to what he was doing.
Beyond the doors is a pretty industrial sort of kitchen…older appliances and equipment, but works well enough. There's already a pile of plates and pots and pans by the large sink at the back. "Wash or dry?" Lexi offers as she pauses to lean back againt the sink. "And for first question…how long have ya been in Mutant Town.

'Hunter' eyes Shawn, without overtly challenging him but without backing down, as he examines her. Then she simply nods and heads into the kitchen. She peels off her jacket and hangs it out of the way, showing off just how fit and tightly muscled she is in the tan ribbed sleveless t-shirt worn under the jacket. This also does reveal the very heavy sidearm pistol and the knife both tucked away in belt holsters at the small of her back, as she shoves her hands into the hot water, starting to fill the sink with suds.
"I will wash." 'Hunter' offers. Her soft accent has returned, as she accepts the task and begins scrubbing. The hot water doesn't seem to bother her at all, and she really does a good job of this; KP duty is something she knows well. "A while. We don't tend to keep calendars."

Lexi nods and snags a towel, stepping over to the other side as she glances at the weapons, then back to you. "Seasons blend together, I guess…" Lexi notes softly. "Ya don't seem like most here, though….yer a vet?" she asks thoughfully, taking plates as they're handed over and drying them off to stack neatly.

'Hunter' starts with regular eating plates and serving platters, before going to the big pots and pans; they'll need more real scrubbing. But she does a thorough, measured job on everything, never skimping. "Yes." she answers, after a bit, passing another plate to Lexi. She is a veteran. Even if the truth is that she's not a US veteran.

The other girl takes a moment to chew over that, while taking the plates to wipe them down. She did hear that accent before, but it wasn't a lot for her to be sure. But… "What branch?" she asks after a moment more, the plate making a soft plastic click as she sets it on the clean stack, then glances over at the other woman again.

More scrubbing. More plates. Silverware. 'Hunter' doesn't look over; she still largely avoids eye contact. Indeed, the only time she seemed to make intentional and direct eye contact was with Spitter, when she warned her off. And Lexi saw how Spitter reacted to that; the woman shook, she was so afraid. Part of that was her usually jittery nature, of course. But could there be more to it? "Army." she responds. True, so far as it goes, still speaking mushy-mouthed to disguise her accent.

Lexi turns that one over in her head. She's sort of getting close to more probing questions that she often doesn't ask, because people can be…annoyed. But then, Hunter did offer to let her ask and just mentioned she wouldn't answer, which is different than usual when she's trying to coax information out of street residents. "…which army?" she says after a moment. It's not like she has telepathy, so Hunter can always avoid the question or just like. But the fact she asked it means her mind is certainly working on the idea now.

'Hunter' gets through the plates that are stacked up so far - more to come, but only after more people are done eating - and pulls in one of the massive pots, scrubbing away with the same diligence. She doesn't answer that question for a while. She lets it go, passing by, uncommented. She lets it stretch virtually to the breaking point.
Then, finally: "Does it matter?"

Lexi mmms. "Nope." she says immediately. She can take that as a most likely 'yes, but I don't want to talk about it' answer. "Just a long way to have come, if you were." And unusual that she'd be on the street…people come here to immigrate, or to marry, or get smuggled in, but a soldier coming this far, to another country. "…are you in trouble, Hunter?" she asks after a moment, quiet. "Do I need to watch for people to warn you about?"

The other woman's shoulders hunch a little when Lexi asks that last. She doesn't say anything for a while, just keeps scrubbing. Once one pot is done, she hefts it out and turns it over almost negligently, with no more care or effort than she did with the plates, which is saying something; that thing is heavy, and damned awkward in its size and mass. Eventually, though, the other woman gives a roll of her shoulders. "I watch. Listen. Won't let my trouble be anyone else's." Because she protects. It's what she does. Who and what she is, clearly. "Hunter should not be hunted."

Lexi hmmms, but has at least grown out of rolling her eyes in the best teenage fashion at the moment when she disagrees with information presented to her. A pair of tendrils extend from her arm to take the pot when done to dry. "That isn't how it works." the mauve girl points out. "It isn't just -you- who hasta be in charge of watchin' for all trouble. Most people ya watch over would be fine just watching for it to let ya know." She frowns. "Ya done good stuff here. Helpin' people, chasin' off those who wanna hurt 'em. Helping with Spitter. I hear lots about ya." Her tendrils smoothly extend to hang the pot up on its hook over the counter. "Look, I get not trustin' everyone with it. Some people will talk about stuff they know for a's how it is." she admits. "But it helps ta have at least a couple people ta help. If ya need it."

"Those that know are in more danger, not less." 'Hunter' answers, as she continues. A broiler tray takes a lot of elbow grease, but she takes it pretty effortlessly, and still turns the thing over with negligent ease and sparkling clean. "I protect. So I shut up." Better than saying nothing, leaving Lexi hanging, but still she seems pretty unrelenting on this point. Obviously she has trust issues; who the Hell wouldn't? But she is also doing her level best, in her own view, to protect those she has sworn to protect, even if at the cost of her own life.

Lexi mms. "People with less warning of what might be comin' are in more danger of not bein' prepared for it." she responds. "Yer not the only person who wants ta protect people here, y'know." A tendril reaches out to wrap around the broiler to take it from Hunter to set it to the side neatly. "Can understand not tellin' everyone, but might wanna consider tellin' at least a few people who could do somethin' about it possibly." She pauses to dry off the broiler plate before stacking it on the kitchen worktable for later use.

"Then protect the people. Don't worry about me." 'Hunter' answers, turning towards Lex but stopping herself from lifting her eyes to meet the gaze of the younger woman. Instead, she turns and works on draining the sink, scrubbing it down, and then refilling it, just so that she can take on more pots, pans and such. She's determined about this, and pretty efficient. "Knowing, and thinking themselves prepared, will put others in danger from those that otherwise will pass them by, identifying them as threats to those others where they would be of no interest if they knew nothing."

"Ya kinda -are- part of the people, ya realize." Lexi notes wryly, pausing to collect a dry cloth and extending a tendril to drop the soaked one in the cleaning pile to be washed. "Can see why ya'd worry, but how would they know to get out of th' way from someone dangerous if they don't know they're dangerous? People that dangerous wouldn't hesistate ta hurt someone in their way, whether they knew somethin' or not."

"Simple enough: People here know a threat, and they avoid it. No matter what, no matter how big or small." 'Hunter' answers, as she starts in on the next pots and pans. "Tell them about the threat, give it a name, tell them that threat is looking for me, and they will care. And they will decide to stay, and watch, and listen, and get involved, and try to protect me. And that will get them tortured and murdered. I need them to do what their instincts will already tell them to do: run like Hell, never look back, and ask no questions."

Lexi mmms, taking the next pan to dry. "…some people tend ta ask questions, though." she notes. "And not everyone is helpless ta do somethin' about stuff…or as endangered if they choose ta do so. Y'know?" She sets the next pot over the hook as she finishing drying it.

'Hunter' rolls her shoulders, tosses her head a bit, and leans into the cleaning for a while, going silent. Not even any grunts of effort, as she works on pots and then pans and then more broiling racks. It could very well be another fifteen minutes before she actually says another word. "'ve told you 's much 's can. You look, you ask, your head. Yours, and anyone else you put in danger 'cause they're around you." Maybe she's figuring that will be the one thing that might convince a troublemaker like Lexi to back off: that her troublemaking could put other innocent people in danger.

Lexi shrugs,. then falls quiet, considering. Were she a younger girl, she'd be right back into questioning, but she's learned, through experience, that sometimes it's better to let the other person decide when to talk. It's just the sounds of water and the clink of plates and pans for a bit, until Hunter speaks again. "I'm used ta not bringin' anyone inta things but me." the other woman responds, hanging up another pan. "An' like I said, trouble goes through whoever's in th' way. Bullets aren't addressed ta specific people so as 'current resident'."

'Hunter' actually offers a snort of potential amusement at that last, but she doesn't explain any further. She has said what she needed to say. She too has matured to the point of realizing some people are just suicidally reckless, and can't be taught to watch out for their own safety or that of anyone else. It's not her job to fix their brains. Let telepaths do that, if there are any who aren't psychotic world-shattering madmen (thank you, Henry Bendix, you a$$hat). She just scrubs pots, pans, plates and other dishes, and offers them to Lexi to dry.

Lexi's lips curve up in a faint smile at the snort, glancing over. She's not nearly as reckless as she's been in the past…but there will also be that bit of confidence to her. But she lets the subject drop for the moment, changing the subject by saying. "So….Hunter, hmm? Someone gave ya that name?" The pots and pans are rapidly vanishing between the two of you, as the noise out in the shelter itself is quieting down a bit as people start settling in for the night.

No words, this time. 'Hunter' just nods, as she continues scrubbing. Once the last of the pots and pans are done, she drains once more and refills, cleaning up as they start on the plates and silverware being returned by the eating homeless. Her people.

Lexi turns that over her mind as she considers all she's heard…or that she's infering from what's not being said and what is being said. There's another period of silence broken only by the sounds of water and dishes, the click and clack of stacks being cleaned and put away. "…when I was a kid…" Which isn't THAT long ago, but she likes to think it is sometimes. "…I was on my own. Th' kinda trouble ya talk about, it came through. Except it was aimed at people like me. So it didn't matter that I didn't know 'em." She pauses to rinse off her hands, flexing her fingers, letting her tendrils take over drying for a moment. she's got four out at this point,s witching between them effortlessly as she works.

The other woman nods. "Many fear what they don't understand. What's different." 'Hunter' offers, after a while, considering what Lexi has had to say. As she gets towards the bottom of the stack she's been working through and starts on the silverware, she does murmur, "Glad you made it. Guessing others didn't." Which would be why folks need protectors, like 'Hunter'. Why she takes it all so seriously.

The other woman mmms. "Yeah. Thanks.' she says in response quietly, continuing to work. Now she's not looking at you either, her gold eyes focused on the dishes she's drying. "Had a hard time trustin' anyone after that. Made what I thought were friends an' they turned on me in th' end." Her motions slow for a moment, before she sets the current plate on the stack. *clink* "Thought for a long time that since they did that, that I shouldn't trust anyone. Not really. Can't get hurt if ya don't get close." She picks up another washed plate to dry it off. "That how yer feelin'?"

This time, 'Hunter' doesn't nod. She doesn't shake her head. She doesn't say a word. She just lets it all pass. She finishes the silverware, and drops them into the strainers to drip themselves dry before they will be put away to be used again. She keeps going until everything is clean, and even starts working on countertops and spaces.
Finally, after they are done, 'Hunter' finally drains and scrubs the sink clean, and drops her wet rags and scrubbers down for the next phase of the cleanup. "Sorry those things happened to you. That sucks. Get why you want to help, here. Good that you do."

Lexi helps with the general cleanup, no stranger to scrubbing up apparently. She leans against the now scrubbed countertop, a tendril dropping the used rags into the to be cleaned pile as she crosses her arms. "Well, kinda.' she says, wrinkling her nose cutely. "See, I kinda went wild towards th' end there. Got arrested. Coulda gone ta juvie, but instead, I got fostered ta people who really helped me. Had my back. Actually gave a damn about me, y'know? Taught me how to be…' She frowns a bit. "…someone who has a purpose beyond gettin' through th' week." She tilts her head. "So…I'm always lookin' for people who might need a hand like that. Cuz I figure, pay it forward. An' if I'm gonna be what I am, I should help where I can." Oh dear, she may be making you a project now.

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