|Location||Alexandra and Ciel's Apartment - Avenue B Apartments|
|Summary||Ciel arrives on Lexie's doorstep.|
Ciel Kane has not exactly been MIA for the last two and a half years, but she's not been particularly /present/ in the lives of friends and family either. The occasional call or vidcom, the /very/ occasional post to her social feed, has made it clear that she's alive, and in India, doing work that more than a few of her former colleagues turn their noses up at.
It's probably a pretty big surprise, then, when Lexie comes home to find Ciel literally on her doorstep, leaning against the wall of the apartment's hall with an overlarge duffel at her side while she wastes time watching something mindnumbing behind her Eyes. She looks much the same as she always has; tall, thin, lightly-muscled with thick waves of dark hair and a streak that's currently dyed lime green. She also looks tired beyond jet leg, as if exhaustion has sunk bone-deep. Don't mention the circles under her eyes, Lexie. Please.
In contrast, Lexie's social media updates are plentiful; she's active on multiple platforms, including whatever the future-day Facebook, Twitter, and Instagrams are. Probably also future Tumblr. So Ciel can have heard all about her various NYC and PI adventures, as well as some strident activism in regards to mutant rights. You know, the kind of stuff that keeps her totally safe and not at all in danger. You know how it is with young people.
"Hey, you're kind of standing in my -- ohmygod, /Ciel/?!" Alexandra's bag is slung over her shoulder and across her chest, or else she'd drop it to immediately try flinging her arms around her older friend. There is that ice-rattle of an almost-empty cup of what was once an iced caffeine beverage that probably drips a little condensation on Ciel's neck in the midst of the hug. Sorry. "What are you /doing here/ how is /India/ ohmygod!"
"Ooof," Ciel says in the wake of the hug, and she fishes out a smile to answer Lexie as she draws her arm up around the younger woman. "Hey, Sparky," she says, drawing back with brows drawn up in exaggerated innocence. "I'm surprising you, clearly! I thought it was about damn time I checked out your New York digs for real, right?
"Ohmygod, are you staying? You have a bag, you're totally staying." Alexandra tosses her hair over her shoulder and wiggles her key in the door until she can shoulder it open; it scrapes with a noise that is not entirely pleasant, but at least doesn't sound like it's too actively broken. Ah, New York. "It's a total mess, so. I'm trying to find a roommate since my last one bailed." These two thoughts are less connected than their proximity makes them sound. The apartment inside would be a more sizable apartment would be nice for one person, but the studio is set up with a partition to pretend like it's for two people. It's not the worst thing /ever/: there's no immediate sign of roaches or bedbugs. Lexie's right that it's a mess, though; at least the mess is constrained to things like laundry and papers and whatnot, as opposed to actual /trash/. "How long are you in town for?"
"Damn, Lex," Ciel answers as she steps through the door with a gaze that sweeps slightly (slightly!) judgmental over the scattered mess. "Tell me you at least clean the bathroom?" She shoots the other woman a grin as she follows her in and drops the duffel just inside the door. It lands with a *thud*, suggesting some serious weight. Ciel draws her hand back through her hair, fingers raking through the thick waves as she answers the last question with a drawn out, "Ummmm." The slant of her quick-flashed smile suggests an answer of 'how long can I sleep on your couch?'
"Um," Lexie responds to the question. "I mean, when it gets -- dirty." This does not suggest a routine cleaning schedule, Lex. "/Anyways/, lemme just--" She starts trying to shove papers and laundry to on side of the sofa to clear up the other for Ciel to sit. "Ta-da! Sofa. Okay. I'll take your response to mean -- something. Like something you're gonna gab to me about?"
"Well," Ciel says, and as answers go, it's not very informative. She trails around the apartment, shifting this bit of mess or that on occasion to better see the actual /place/. One or two items get a smile, faint and fond. "Let's just-- I'm not going back. Not to India." She pauses somewhere in the kitchen, craning to find Lexie. "I kind of thought. Maybe I could-- lend a hand. For a while.
"Ooh, like clean my apartment?" Lexie claps her hands together, her keys jingling from their hook on one finger. "What happened in India?" she asks next, barreling right on through every social cue that she should leave it alone.
"Your apartment /needs/ some cleaning," Ciel shoots back with fond exasperation before she clarifies, "No, I mean. Jobs and shit. You're still doing the PI gig, right?" Oh, is Lexie barreling? CIEL DIDN'T NOTICE.
"How do you think I'm paying for this lavish lifestyle?" Lexie spreads her hands wide. HOW, CIEL? "I mean. Sure! I guess. You have to get a license and stuff. Although not to help me, you can probably just -- do that. Yeah! That sounds fun!"
"Yeah?" Ciel's smile eases a touch, and a measure of tensions she didn't know she was holding slips away as she leans back into the kitchen counter. "Maybe I might. We can see how it goes, yeah?" She lifts a hand, mimicking Lexie's gesture as she adds, "And you can show me all the best parts of New York, yeah? The best clubs, the best bars...
"Ohmygod, /yeah/!" Lexie reaches for Ciel's hand to squeeze it. "We'll go to /all/ the bars and /all/ the clubs and all the -- I dunno, we'll /find places/, it'll be /so cool/." Her smile is bright and wide and a little wild, eyes gleaming. "Mutant Town is so amazing, Ciel, you don't even know; there's such a /community/ here, you know? Like there has to be, or what's even the point?"
Ciel's smile brightens a bit for Lexie's enthusiasm, and she squeezes her hand in return as she says, "/Good/. I missed that like hell. You keep up with your training? No one gives you shit?
"I'm, like -- an electrokinesis /hero/," Lexie claims with another toss of her hair. "Who's gonna give me shit? I mean, okay, yeah, everybody gets shit, but I've got no problems here. Probably helps that I take jobs the norm PIs won't." She rolls her eyes in a vividly expressive gesture. "You know how it is."
Ciel grins, broad and, briefly, bright as she watches Lexie. "Damn right," she says firmly. "You'll have to show me your new tricks."
"And then we'll get totally wasted, and you'll actually tell me about India," Lexie decides with a cheerful sort of confidence.
Ciel wrinkles her nose, pushing off from the kitchen counter to go wander-- well. A step or two, anyway. There's not a lot of pacing to be done in an apartment this size. "There's not much to tell, Sparks," she says, almost as if she believes it. "India's hot and crowded and there's a lot of dust. And-- you know." She glances at Lexie, her expression briefly serious. "Every damn mutant's a merc. Just about. It's-- different."
"And you had adventures over there and disappeared for like two years and now you're back and don't want to talk about it," Lexie concludes. She finally drops her bag off on the sofa and winds her way over to the fridge to rattle around for a pair of beers. "I'm sure there's /so/ little to tell."
Ciel is silent for a moment, twisting through the apartment. Eventually she drops herself into the sofa's free space and blows out a sigh. "It sucked, okay?" she finally says. "I thought-- I mean, it's about as far from fucking Staten Island as you can get, you know, and they actually let us /do/ things with what we can do. But the sort of people-- it's the /definition/ even, isn't it? Mercenary? Money's the only damn thing that matters.
Ciel is silent for a moment, twisting through the apartment. Eventually she drops herself into the sofa's free space and blows out a sigh. "It sucked, okay?" she finally says. "I thought-- I mean, it's about as far from fucking Staten Island as you can get, you know, and they actually let us /do/ things with what we can do. But the sort of people-- it's the /definition/ even, isn't it? Mercenary? Money's the only damn thing that matters." And now she sounds particularly sour. "To anyone. Even if they convince you different for a while."
"Sounds lame," Lexie agrees loyally. She pulls two beers out of the fridge and makes her way back over to offer one up. "I mean, money's not so bad. I'm actually a pretty big fan of it."
"Oh, yeah, me too," Ciel answers with a low laugh, twisting enough to lift a hand to accept the beer. "But I don't think I'm cut out to. You know. Not give a fuck about anything /else/."
"I mean, they don't /talk/ talk about it, but I get the impression that dad's time in X-Force was kinda lucrative." Lexie leans over to clink the neck of her beer against Ciel's before taking a quick swig. "But yeah. Just money'd get pretty boring pretty fast."
"We earned our keep," Ciel answers, her smile a little tight despite her best efforts as she tilts her bottle toward Lexie in answer. She lifts it for a long swallow, then sinks down, stretching long legs in front of her. "How's the PI life? You do shit you like, mostly?"
"I mean, a lot of it's pretty boring," Lexie admits, perching carefully on the arm of the sofa. "Lotta waiting around and watching things. So. I dunno. There are these /really/ exciting moments, but they're kinda few and far between. Kinda make up for things, though. Probably."
Ciel waves her beer in dismissive gesture. "We can get our exciting plenty of other places," she tells Lexie, almost like she believes it. "Not everything has to be shooting people and dodging bullets." She tilts her bottle back for another long swallow. "Anyway. It's not like X-Force was all adrenaline all the time. I did plenty of waiting and watching. Damned good at it, even."
"Well. I guess that's a -- good thing to be good at?" Lexie's expression screws up, like she's not actually quite sure. "Anyways, there's some really great, divey bars around here. Like, total shitshows, it's fantastic."
"God, that sounds amazing," Ciel answers, tilting her head back into the sofa's cushion with a faint smile. "The sort of place you can drag someone into the bathroom and lose your mind?" she hopes, gaze flicking toward Lexie.
"Oh, yeah. Definitely." Lexie gives Ciel a considering look, gaze falling briefly on her bag. Then she gets up with a decision in her expression. "And we're going. A proper introduction to Mutant Town in all its glory." She tips back her beer, finishing it off, and then leaves it on a table to forget about and reaches for Ciel's hand.
"What, now?" Ciel answers, but there's no real argument in her voice as Lexie's hand catches at hers, despite the circles under her eyes. She surges to her feet, smile spreading slow and pleased, and she tilts her head back to drain the last of the beer in a long swallow. No point in wasting a perfectly good pre-game."Yes, now." Lexie is absolutely respectful of the need to finish every last drop of that beer, but as soon as Ciel's done, she's tugging her back towards the door they only just came through to head out into the glory of Mutant Town and all its alcoholic offerings.