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2045-08-15 The City

From X-Factor

The City
Date Posted 2015/08/15
Location Mutiny - Mutant Town, NYC
Participants Karina, Nicodemus
Summary In which Karina hits on Nicodemus or possibly doesn't.
 
This bar has little to recommend it save the price of its drinks - beer and hard liquor only - and its tendency to not ask questions of its customers. The place is poorly lit, perhaps intentionally so, with close tables and booths that always seem to be a little sticky with something. The dim interior is colored with flashes of orange and red and yellow from the constant, strobing flash of the neon signs in the front window. The only decor in the place is a twist of thick, fraying rope that drapes one wall on its way to an iron anchor: the remnants of some long-forgotten nautical theme.

There are often card games of some nature at the larger tables in the back. Rocco, the ever-present owner, tends to know just about everything and everyone in Mutant Town. He'll often give odds on just about anything it's possible to give odds on, and provides information on the Town's not-so-secret mutant fights, or where to obtain illegal items and substances, if he likes the look of you.

It is a summer night. The weather is cool and fair.


It is a subtle thing that sets Karina Artyomovna Zarubin apart from the usual crowd at Mutiny, placing her as foreign. The aristocratic way that she holds her chin in that angle, that her clothing is soft and expensive with real, black leather clinging to the length of her legs against the soft linen blouse that hangs off proud shoulders. She is alone, too, rather than with a group, though she is currently watching one particular table of card players in the back of the room from her position against the bar, leaning there as if she owns it. Oddly, no one has approached her in a while; the last man who did received two spoken words before he retreated again. She's not encouraging anyone, either, as she nurses a glass of wine. And by nurse, I mean she barely touches it because ugh cheap wine.

Nicodemus doesn't have much in common with the woman at the bar. His clothing is exactly the sort one expects to see on somebody in a bar in mutant town: old, well-worn and probably second hand. He moves quietly, in the manner of somebody not especially keen to be noticed, and he enters Mutiny with a sort of restrained reluctance, fishing a fiver out of his pocket and setting it down on the sticky countertop as he requests a beer.

Karina's blue eyes slide over Nicodemus even as that bill touches the bar, brushing along the length of the younger man's arm and shoulder before settling on his features. And then she looks away, lifting one slender finger to the bartender in a gesture before she speaks with a soft burr of an accent, "You can put his on my tab, please." When she does shift to look back to the man, there is the faintest curve of her brow upwards. She might be flirting with him when she asks, "Do you come here often?"

Nicodemus blinks, his brows lifting a little as he looks over at Karina. "Um," he begins, "thank you." There's no lift at the end of the words, though the way his brows furrow slightly might still make them something of a question. "I don't, really," come there often. "New in town. Don't come anywhere often."

A murmured word in Russian meets Nicodemus' answer, not quite vehement enough to sound like the curse that it is as Karina's gaze slides past Nicodemus back to the card players in the corner. She lifts her glass to her lips as she does, taking a sip before she remembers it's taste and repeating that same Russian as she lowers it back to the bar. "New to Mutant Town or the city?" she questions, shifting her attention back to Nicodemus with some measure of light, easy interest. "Some small town boy looking for adventure in the city?"

Nicodemus silently mouthes the foreign epithet, though no sound moves past his lips. When the barkeep plunks down the beer, Nicodemus draws it a little closer, but doesn't take a sip. "Yes?" he offers as answer to Karina's first question. The second question gets a small shrug. "Not sure 'adventure'. Just... somewhere to be."

"There are plenty of places to be. There are only a few reasons to move to the City," drawls Karina in that soft accent, the word 'city' taking on the capitalization in the tone that it holds, as if it is the only one. That, too, is apparently a question. The woman's brow draws upwards with it, her bright blue eyes resting on Nicodemus as her (perfectly manicured in a red so dark as to look black in this light) fingernails tap against her wine glass.

"Are there? What reasons?" Nicodemus asks, canting his head faintly as condensation collects around his fingertips where they rest on the beer-chilled glass. He holds Karina's gaze with his own quizzical expression.

"Adventure," names Karina as one, lifting her finger to count it. "To disappear in the crowd." Another finger. "Pursuing some dream of fame. Or some sense of romance tied to the City." And the way the woman studies Nicodemus, she seems to already have some thought on what, exactly, he is here for.

"Hmm," Nicodemus muses, blinking slowly. "Which one do you think I am?"

Karina leans forward, shameless about invading Nicodemus' personal space there as she puts her lips closer to his ear. She murmurs, knowingly, "Obviously, you want to disappear." And then she draws back, that gaze sliding slowly over the younger man, almost an invitation and almost pointedly.

Nicodemus holds very still as Karina leans in, more like he anticipates possibly getting bit than because he's worried about startling her away. She gives him a once over, but he only looks Karina in the eyes. "Less than I used to. It's something."

"Kotyenok, there is never any reason to disappear, to blend in," Karina answers in the same soft tones, a smile lifting at a single corner of her lips. And then, she adds, "Get out of the City while you still can. Go somewhere else and lead a normal life; marry and have children, buy a house, die in debt." Her fingers push her glass away from her rather than bringing it closer, across the bar as she straightens imperceptibly.

Nicodemus quirks a faint smile at the words 'normal life' and gives a small shake of his head. "Pass," he replies. "You seem awful jaded for romance or attachments to the city. And it's clear you don't want to blend in. Are you here for adventure, then?"

Only that half-smile answers Nicodemus' question, caught there as Karina's fingers lift to curve over her lips, hiding it slightly. But, when she speaks, they fall away so that a single one hooks against the younger man's pocket. "Opportunity," is the reason that she forgot before, and this single word definitely sounds like an invitation.

Nicodemus looks down at the finger curled into his pocket, and then up at Karina, his head canting again. "What does 'Kotyenok' mean?"

A laugh spills easily from Karina's lips, as if she didn't quite expect him to ask, and that invitation seems to withdraw (if it was really one) as her finger falls away. She answers, with a smile, "Kitten."

His brows lift and Nicodemus barks a small, surprised laugh. "That's funny. You don't know, but that's actually really funny." He smiles softly, glancing down at his beer before nudging it away with a small sigh. "I don't really even like beer."

"Is it?" Karina already finds it amusing herself, obviously, but her interest is piqued by Nicodemus' statement. But, it's his latter one that will earn the more important, murmured question of, "What do you like?"

"Water," Nicodemus replies, his expression faintly apologetic as if he understands how very boring this answer is in response to such a loaded question. "From a spring or a river or a lake, ideally. Everything else is just kinda..." he lifts one hand up to his mouth and flicks out his fingers in impersonation of a firework or explosion. "Like noise on my tongue."

There certainly is a noticeable shift in Karina's interest as it dies a little at his answer. So boring. But that smile lingers as she answers with a mimic of his gesture, "The noise is sometimes the point. Something interesting."

"Sometimes," Nicodemus agrees, "sometimes it's just distracting." His brow lifts as he looks from Karina to the group of men playing cards and back.

Karina only shakes her head in dismissal for that silent question, her own gaze only flicking briefly back towards the group before it settles again on Nicodemus. "Welcome to the City," is what she offers him, instead. "There is always enough noise here to distract you from anything." With that, she shifts to walk away, only looking back to offer a smile in parting.

"So I'm learning," Nicodemus agrees as Karina moves away. He returns that smile with a small nod before sliding off his stool and slipping back out of the bar. The beer remains untouched.

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