|2045-03-20 Now and Then|
|Location||Sweet Lou's Diner - Mutant Town|
|Summary||Vega steals a seat at Richie's table and they discuss childhood and aspirations. Richie may or may not own a space helmet.|
It's fairly early in the morning, but Sweet Lou's is doing hopping brunch business. Richard's tucked at a table with a paperback book, and he lifts his coffee to sip carefully. One has to be careful with Sweet Lou's coffee. It's burnt, but he seems like he's endured many a cup of burnt coffee in his day, and he doesn't seem bothered. There's an empty seat at his table, which is convenient, because the rest of the diner is so packed.
It's fairly early in the morning and Vega doesn't necessarily look like she's seen much of her bed. Her pink hair is pulled up in a messy top knot, showing off metal hoops gleaming at her ears, and she's bundled into a leather jacket and scarf. Scanning the restaurant, she sighs at the sight of packed tables before her gaze lands on Rich and his open seat. Making her way around the other diners, she flashes him a hopeful smile. "Good Morning, Speedy. Do you mind if I join you? This place is packed."
It takes a moment for Richard to tear his eyes off the paperback spread open in his hand, but then his gaze falls on Vega with a note of recognition. "Jumper. Hey. No. I mean -- no, of course, I don't mind. I'm lucky I managed to snag a seat at all."
The book's cover gets a look as Vega tries to figure out what has his attention so thoroughly grabbed. When Richard finally responds, she smiles crookedly. "Great. Thanks." Slipping off her leather jacket, she hangs it on the back of the chair before tucking herself into the seat and crossing her legs beneath her with a soft clink. "Yeah. This is clearly the place to be on a Sunday morning. How's the coffee?" His cup is given a nod before she looks around for a waitress.
The cover has robots on it, and some super pulpy title. It looks like it's from a whole other era. Richard smiles faintly at the question and slides over the menu he's already finished with. "Pretty burnt," he says. "Drinkability probably depends on your tolerance for that sort of thing."
"Good book?" Vega smiles a little at the cover, glancing to Richard with a hint of good humor in her expression. "Thanks," she says, accepting the menu and flipping it open to peruse it. Wrinkling her nose at the questionable drinikilbility of the coffee, she shakes her head. "I should probably pass on that then. Much as I'd love to supplement my caffeine fix this morning."
"Suit yourself." Richard's smile turns a little wry before he lifts his coffee -- black -- for another sip. "Oh, uh. Yeah, it's good. Kind of dumb, but -- you know. Very fifties pulpy, which is what I was expecting." The waitress, who has spotted the new guest at Richard's table, wanders over to ask Vega about what she wants. The menu is full of the expected diner fare.
"I should be used to it considering what the precinct coffee was like... but man, I hate adding cream and sugar," Vega says, lifting her shoulders in a light shrug. Coffee that bad usually needs it, in her opinion. "Can't go wrong with robots..." She pauses in her thought to order her breakfast, getting a vegetarian omelet with a side of toast and a glass of orange juice. "I don't know if I would have picked you for a pulp fiction kind of guy."
"Probably because you've never been in my apartment," Richard says, smile faint. His cup remains poised up off the table, fingers curling around the ceramic. "I grew up pretty obsessed. Was never able to really shake it. Sometimes I think it's a comfort more than anything else. You know how books you read as a kid always feel different than books you read later?"
"Is it full of toy robots and pulp fiction?" Vega wonders with warm interest, sitting back in her chair. Tilting her head, she listens with interest as he speaks and nods at the question. "Books are more real when we're kids. They're still possibilities," she says. "Space was never quite what caught my interest, although I can tell you more about stars than you ever really wanted to hear. Robots however..."
"It's something--" Richard hesitates, the words on the tip of his tongue. "Maybe it's that. More real. Everything seems -- bigger when you're a kid. You feel bigger. You're more -- open to adventure. And to falling in love with a bunch of words on a page, I think." He ducks his head, scuffing at the back of his hair a little self-consciously for his rambling. "I bet," he says. "Do you think you'd be as interested if you weren't so -- you know, supernaturally smart with them?"
"Everything /is/ bigger when you're a kid. All the world is potential and possibility and magic waiting to happen," Vega agrees, voice soft and gaze a little distant for a moment. Her attention refocuses on him with a slight smile, her head shaking a little. "I think... I would be interested in a very different way. Considering... my physiology." She tips her head down towards her legs, which he knows at largely metallic, lashes shielding her gaze a little. "Admittedly, I was pretty sure I wanted to be a Martial Arts Master when I was a kid like in the movies."
"Yeah," Richard agrees quietly, watching her as her gaze goes distant. He hesitates again, the potential of words writ clearly across his expression before he says, "Is it rude to ask what happened?"
When Vega's gaze refocuses on him, it is sharp and fixed with a kind of quiet intelligence and a touch of rue. She shakes her head, pink tendrils brushing against her cheeks. "No. It's not rude," she offers softly. Her voice is low enough not to carry as she speaks. "When I was fourteen... I was waiting for my train headed home from school at the old 86th street station. A couple of kids were screwing around at the station and the cops were called in... thinking it was a mutant attack and shot one of them." She pauses, watching Richard's reaction before she continues. "Kid lost control of his powers, some kind of heat and explosion ability. Anyways, he destroyed the station."
"Oh," Richard says quietly. "Oh, jeez." His gaze settles on the coffee poised in his hand, clearly trying to consider what the most appropriate response is here. "That's really awful," he eventually lands on. And then his gaze lifts curiously back to her face. "And you grew up and became a cop."
"Yeah." Lashes brushing her cheeks, Vega lifts a hand to tuck a lock of hair back behind her ear. "They pulled me out hours later." It said like a fact, as if it was just as neat and tidy as all of that. Her response waits for a moment as the waitress arrives with her food, although the upward tip of her brows lingers. "Yes. I did," she says once her plate is in place and the woman has moved on. "I couldn't change what happened to me... but I could try to keep it from happening to some other kids." She shrugs.
"Trying to change things from the inside?" Richard says in a murmur that's not without sympathy. The waitress actually brings his meal, too, that he ordered before Vega joined him. It has more meat in it: omelette, bacon, hash browns. (Now I want hash browns.)
A smile hooks Vega's lips at that note of a sympathy. "To a point. We don't get better than what we had if we don't work for it," she says, taking a sip of her orange juice. "How about you? What drew you, back in the day?"
"Oh, I don't know," Richard patently lies, albeit with a smile twitching on his lips. "Wanted to be a hero. Something like that." He pulls a napkin onto his leg and takes up a fork and knife to start on his breakfast.
"I can see you with a cape," Vega teases lightly, collecting her fork and knife in the opposite hands to cut her own up. She takes a bite of it with a happy sound.
"I can say with good authority that I've never worn a cape," Richard says with solemn humor. Then, after a beat, he adds, "...as an adult."
A bright note of a laughter and a grin escapes Vega at Richard's addendum, her fork pointing at him tellingly. "Uh huh. Sounds like you know what you need to do next Halloween," she teases lightly.
Richard snorts out a laugh. "Oh, I don't think so," he says between bites. "I don't think anybody needs to see that."
"You could pair it with a suit," Vega suggests with a considering tip of her head. "Very dapper and dramatic. Maybe." Rolling a shoulder, she taps her foot lightly against the floor. "Or I could rig up a space helmet for you."
"Sounds a little too Phantom of the Opera for me," Richard demurs. He chews on a bit of bacon and swallows. "Nah, I've definitely got one of those."
"Really?" Blinking in surprise, Vega tips her head at Richard regarding him with consideration. "...Do you cosplay too?"
Richard barks a laugh out of pure surprise. "What? No. I don't -- no. I wouldn't even know where to start. Forget I said anything."
"It seems to be a thing some people are into," Vega counters with a wave of her fork. She watches him for a moment as if trying to gauge something. "The beginning usually works best," she suggests for where to start, taking a sip of her juice. "I won't, but you don't have to tell me if you don't want." Simple as that.
"Thanks, I guess," Richard says with a certain dry humor. He falls quiet for the moment, taking bites of his breakfast, looking thoughtful.
Mouth hooking into a half smile, Vega is content to sit and eat her breakfast for a bit. It goes quickly in neat and tidy bites.
Richard finishes up his meal at a steady pace, probably not quite as neat and tidy as Vega, but certainly not messy. "I better get going," he says, glancing over for the waitress to indicate for the check. "But thanks for keeping me company."
"Thanks for letting me steal a bit of your table," Vega says lightly, flashing Richard a crooked little smile. The checks are split as she nods thankfully at the waitress. She lingers a little over her orange juice. "Have a nice rest of your day.""You, too." Richard pays up and offers Vega a quick smile as he rises. "See you around, Jumper," he says before heading out.