Marching two by two

The Food Rally 
Ashley had been feeling... weird? She'd even eased up on her healing hours a little (which her wallet suffered for) because she'd just been bleeding out of her face without actually using the power.

It was concerning and felt like a step back after years of increasing mastery.

And now, sitting at a picnic table with an untouched chili cheese dog in front of her, she had a keen sense something was happening. Ashley's head tilted, eyes and bright red irises (unbeknownst to her) locked on a very strange sight.

Three wasps perched on the tabletop in something of a neat triangle, and with identical orientation and pace, they were.. rotating. Every twitch of leg or wing was in sync, nearly robotic.

A little dribble of blood dripped from Ashley's nose and she didn't even notice it.

shirt, probably also wearing pants

Life continued to be great for Ted! Summer was his favorite season, and he almost always made a lot of extra time for leisure while the rest of the country was, too. Along these lines, he had dipped down to Crestview for a bite to eat and was looking for a free space at a bench, somewhere to sit and really get to know his purchase. There was a young lady on her lonesome, not his first choice for a spectator to the oncoming beard mess, but he noticed after just a glance that, uh. There was blood dripping out of her nose. And that was just a little bit worrisome!

He decided to hove into her view, waving brightly. "Miss? You okay there?"

It was very, very, very strange. Ashley watched, wondering when they would stop? And if they would attack?

There was some fuzziness to this moment, some deep sense that she could not look away. Her meal inched toward lukewarm, and there was some chance she'd stare at this until someone kicked her out.

Or talked to her.

The moment ended with a strange and almost physical sense. The wasps set to crawling in their own directions, one taking flight immediately.

Ash looked up with a sheepish smile, opening her mouth to say she was totally fine, this happened all the time, sorryyyy!

But instead she gave an "Oh!" of surprise as an absolute waterfall of blood poured free from her nostrils, a torrential expulsion even as someone whose nose bled on the regular.

"Sorry, I- yes!" she said, quickly reaching into her bag to search for what was essentially a nose blood towel, using her other hand to try to pinch the bridge of her nose.

Haha wow that was a lot more blood than normal and she hadn't been healing anyone?!

Ted's eyes bugged out at the explosion, and his body twisted a little, as if the blood was going to come after him and try to get on his waffle, requiring him to shield it with his body. But aside from that he acted with concern, sidling closer, surreptitiously trying to tell if she was really high or something? Ted couldn't think of many reasons for a Tarantino-style nosebleed.

"I'm gonna go grab some napkins, okay? Just a minute." And he placed his waffle gingerly on the table, glancing at her face.

Why. Was. This. Happening?!

She gave a clumsy nod to the guy's words, too confused and frazzled to say hey, no, I'm getting my blood towel!

Ashley would find it eventually, holding it up to her face as she found herself trembling slightly.

Maybe it was just a... standard real normal person nose bleed? Caused by just having a nose that bled a lot?

She'd look sheepishly to the guy whenever he returned, yelping out a muffled "I'm sorry!" between the blood and towel.

Ted returned with an overflowing amount of napkins, a little surprised to see her with a towel already, and more surprised to get an apology. He set the napkins in front of her and immediately watched them try to flap away in a light breeze. That was an issue, so he grabbed his waffle boat and set it on top of the pile, just in time to watch one of the circling wasps land and become mired in the whip cream.

Okay, well that was another problem. Grimacing, he wiggled a napkin out of the pile and used it to grasp the wasp, then perp-walked it to the nearest trash can and threw it away, only to have the wasp fly up immediately, sticky and vengeful.

Ted yelped and took off for a far corner of the lot.

Ash could mostly just watch, making a weak half-grab at the napkins as they threatened to tumble, but beaten by a much more capable... whoever this was!

Except one of the wasps went right for what was undoubtedly a delicious treat, and Ashley grimaced through the towel, watching as The Guy made quick work of it. Phew!


Except. Oh, no.

She could only watch, grimacing behind her blood towel, feeling very much responsible for this but lacking the power to help. (As far as she was aware.)

Off on his own adventure, Ted dodged around for a minute or so, half-out of hearing range; the wasp seemed to have his number, possibly due to the sugar-smell from the whipped cream dotting his hands. In any event, the chase ended with a yelp and a smack to his upper arm, Pyrrhic victory for the bug and stinging defeat for the psychic. And then he had to slump back to his food where, oh, there was a girl with a nosebleed.

One hand hovering protectively over the growing welt on his arm, he sat on the bench and sighed. "Well, that was — how's your nose?"

Oh, no.

Ashley watched it from a distance, the chili and cheese on her hotdog coagulating toward lukewarm. Her brows came together in concern, feeling weirdly responsible for it all?!

At least her nose was almost done bleeding?! She pulled the towel away, eyeing the mark on his arm.

Ashley actually had very little experience treating bug bites. This did not deter her from wanting to treat bug bites. But she'd already soaked a towel in nose blood. Ugh.

"It's uh- it's okay! I get them. Sometimes."

She swallowed some spit and felt it in her sinuses. Ugh.

"I'm sorry about your arm, it got you?"

The wasp, not her nose!

He looked over at her and squinted for a second, blatantly checking to see if she looked all right and then deciding, yeah, good enough! His hand revealed the sting, and he shifted to get an eyeful of that instead. "Yeah, outsmarted by a bee. I think it only got me once though." He presented the elbow over the table, as if it were perfectly natural for a stranger to want to look at his arm swelling. "What are you supposed to do, put ice on it?"

It was a wasp, but Ashley was polite enough not to correct that! She saw the angry sting and felt an immediate, almost crazy kind of draw to heal it. For practice! Practice was so important!

"I think so," she said, making more eye contact with the sting than was probably not-creepy.

Say your words, Ash!

"But. I could... heal it? I have a healing power?"

Her voice was a little squeaky.

"I'm not crazy, it's like an X-Men thing I guess?"

That was probably worse and she gave kind of an embarrassed laugh but it's what Minerva had said!

It might be creepy to stare at somebody's bee sting that hard, but Ted had offered it in the first place, so really he was surprised but also flattered. Then more surprised, later, when nosebleed girl said she had healing powers. When nosebleed girl said she was an X-Man.

Ted nearly always looked startled and happy, but he looked more of both things as he gaped at Ashley across the bench, and another wasp dropped into his waffle. "Like Elixir?!"

Good news: he didn't seem freaked out!

Bad news: Ash did not know who Elixir was.

"If she's someone who can heal people by touching them and gets nose bleeds while she does it, totally," she said, sheepish but not embarrassed as she looked to her bag.

Water. Neeeed that Great Value water. She'd start digging accordingly, missing entirely the approaching wasp.

I mean!! That wasn't exactly what he did, but there were parallels, especially to Elixir's early life when he was still at the Xavier Institute! "That's kind of the same! He has this ability to heal wounds and cure diseases when he's in contact, and then later he learns how to cause diseases and even bring people back from the dead!" Also his skin was gold! "How long have you had your power?"

Elixir was a dude. And he gave people diseases? But also brought then back from the dead?!

"Whoa," she squeaked, wondering still if she could heal the guy. One thing at a time. "Like five or six years ago. But it's just healing. I could... your arm, if you want?"

By now her hotdog was cold, and his whipped cream was probably melting! (She still, sadly, did not see the wasp burrowing into it.)

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