I hadn't put much thought into the 'when' of things beyond that it occurs in the present year to minimize the research I need to do about pop culture and technology. After all, each of these chapters is being written in a day. Hardcore research à la my usual writing isn't something I can afford. But the last chapter inadvertently did pin down a rough window in which the events of this story unfold: February 2013. So we're looking at winter in New England here. I'm sure Emma's ecstatic, because she's got camouflage!
"Hey! Lorna! C'mere!"
Leaning a bit to her right, Lorna Dane peered down the aisle at Dawn. "And where exactly am I going to sit if I do? On Marvel Girl's lap?"
Dawn rolled onto her back, staring up at Jean as she mouthed the words 'Marvel Girl'. The redhead blushed faintly before rolling her eyes. "You know how we all have our post-human names. Like Scott is 'Cyclops' because of the visor he wears when he's practicing with his powers, Bobby is 'Iceman' because he's a cryokinetic, and Warren and Doctor McCoy are 'Angel' and 'Beast' because… well, obvious reasons. The boys were pestering me to pick one, someone threw out 'Marvel Girl' for reasons I still don't understand, and I told them to go with it just to shut them up. And now I'm Marvel Girl." Looking up, Jean narrowed her eyes. "And there is no way you're sitting on my lap, Lorna. I might catch something."
"We're the next evolution of humanity, and we still haven't gotten past slut-shaming. Awesome." Lorna let out a sigh of disgust and Dawn wiggled a bit, inching herself across Jean's lap so she could turn her head and stare back up the aisle at the green-haired girl. Rising to her feet, Lorna unzipped her bottle green bubble jacket and tossed it back onto her seat. She stretched before gesturing to her body. And a very nice body it was, in Dawn's opinion. Like she'd told McCoy, Magneto might have been a douche but he had two really hot daughters. If not for the fact that he was creepily old, the blonde would suggest studding him out to see if he could pass the Hottie Gene on a few more times before he carked it. "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful, Marvel Girl, hate me because your boyfriend thinks I am."
"I'm sure Duncan would stare at me the same way if I started showing up for school wearing corsets."
"But you don't. So who was he staring at that time he walked into his locker? Not you."
"Okay, so fine, he looks at you. But which one of us does he take out on dates? Not you."
Dawn groaned loudly and sat up before sliding herself fully onto Jean's lap, interposing herself between the two arguing girls. "Jesus Christ, can you two just kiss and get it over with already? The sexual tension here is so thick that even the Hulk couldn't smash it." Over the course of their bickering, Lorna had edged closer to their row, making it possible for Dawn to reach out and slap a hand over each girl's mouth when they began sputtering denials. "Jean, Lorna can wear whatever she wants. Deal with it. Lorna, of course guys are going to stare if you shove your chest in their faces. It doesn't mean they like you. It means they like your tits. So stop baiting Jean, because Duncan probably thinks of you the same way he thinks of girls that end in JPG."
A long lick across her palm convinced Dawn to free Lorna's mouth, and the green-haired girl took a step back before crossing her arms under her breasts. Peering down at the cleavage revealed by the low neckline of her green tank top, Lorna frowned. "I'm better than dirty pictures. I'm three-dimensional. Very three-dimensional in the place in question." Pausing, she looked from her cleavage to Dawn and back. "Unless… do they make 3D porn yet? Because then I might need a new counter-argument."
"I… do not know. Willow and Tara didn't own any, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist." Dawn slid across the armrest and rose to her feet, standing in the aisle. Turning to Jean, she made a shooing motion. "You, slide over." As the redhead sighed but obeyed, Dawn turned to Lorna and looked her over speculatively. "Hmm. You're a tiny bit taller, so you take the seat next to her and I'll sit on your lap." Lorna opened her mouth to protest, but Dawn raised a hand and cut her off. "Listen, we both know why you're on this train. You want to talk to me? This is how it's gonna happen. Now sit down next to Jean or go back to your seat. Your choice."
Letting out a mighty sigh, Lorna gestured for Dawn to back up before slipping into the seat next to Jean and shooting a glare at the redhead. "I bet I know why they call you Marvel Girl. It's a marvel anyone realizes that you're a girl in outfits like that."
Jean scowled and made a slight tugging motion with her right hand, using telekinesis to seize a strand of Lorna's hair and jerk it hard. "First of all, just because I don't run around half-naked doesn't make me any less of a girl. Second of all, which one of us has a boyfriend right now? Because while you might be better at attracting boys, I seem to be a lot better at keeping them. Which is better?"
"Now kiss…" Reaching in, Dawn fisted one hand in Lorna's hair and the other in Jean's, pushing the two girls toward each other. Her efforts earned her an elbow to the stomach followed by a telekinetic shove to the chest, and she released the pair as she stumbled back. Straightening up, she snickered even as she rubbed at her aching chest. "Like I said, UST you could park a tank on top of. Anyway, you two have fun. If this does in fact turn into an epic hatefuck, try and make it to the bathroom first. I don't have enough money on me to pay Jean's bail."
As she turned to walk away, a hand reached out and grabbed her wrist. Looking down, she found Lorna staring up at her with wide eyes. "Wait, what? Where are you going? The only reason I'm even sitting here is because you told me-"
Dawn shook her arm until Lorna released her before pointing up the aisle at someone who was trying - and failing miserably - at being subtle while watching them. "Oh, I'm sorry, did you want to talk? I never would have guessed, what with you sitting there giving all the attention to 'Marvel Girl' and not me."
"Seriously, I'm done, I swear." Lorna leaned back in her seat, patting at her lap. "I promise to ignore Marvel Girl and talk only to you and-"
"No, no, it's okay." Dawn chuckled as she reached in, slipping her hand between the twin points of the green-haired girl's tiara and patting Lorna atop her head. "After all, who am I to stand in the way of true love? So you two can sit there and bicker as foreplay and then kiss and then start picking out names for your two point five children and your dog and decide what color house to have behind the white picket fence… and me? I'm going to go talk to your supervisor. And maybe investigate this whole at-seat menu thing that the website says we get for being in first class. Because I don't know if we're on the menu rotation that has the Belgian waffles or the French toast, but they both sound delicious to me."
Before she'd made it two steps down the aisle, Jean and Lorna were back to bickering, this time over whose fault it was that Lorna had lost her chance to talk to her assigned target. Dawn just kept walking, grinning as her new target's eyes widened and then the girl quickly turned to face forward again. Pushing Lorna's jacket down into the footwell, Dawn appropriated the green-haired girl's seat and knelt on it, leaning forward over the top of the seat in front of her. She waited… and waited… and then the pointy tips of the girl's odd red tiara just barely missed the sides of her face as the older girl tilted her head back, staring up at her warily. "Miss Summers."