|Always A Cop|
|Summary||Vega shows up to ask a favor of her ex-partner.|
|Related Logs||2046-01-20 Once a Cop|
Irene's home is familiar to Vega by now, even as she approaches it by way of the sky. The small, off-white slatboard house with its peaked grey roofs sits on a block of similar looking homes, all with small lots, the crests of the roofs dusted with snow. The weather leaves the neighborhood in a still sort of quiet, the winter seeming deeper and more real with snow on the ground. A black figure in the night sky, Vega descends almost invisibly a few houses down before dropping to the street and walking the rest of the way. Arriving at the door, dressed in a dark hoodie that still covers her hair, she knocks lightly on the door. It is late enough that Idris might be already asleep.
Perhaps understandably, there isn't an immediate response to her knocking on the door. Vega may even need to do it again. But when the door opens it does so with speed. "What are you doing out there? It's cold." Also late. Irene speaks quietly despite her quick words--a sure sign that her son is in bed already--and then steps out of the doorway to let Vega inside. She's still dressed from the day, such as it is, in jeans and a olive t-shirt that's seen some years reading ARMY across the front. Once Vega is inside, she pokes her head out the door to glance outside briefly before shutting out the cold.
There is a hesitation that pulls at Vega's features as well as her steps, slow to answer and slower still to step inside Irene's warm house. The snow is knocked off her boots out of consideration. She can't feel the cold in her feet. "Well..." Digging a hand into her hoodie pocket, she wraps her it around a square-edge shape. Pulling it out, she offers Irene the box. It's her favorite cigarettes. She isn't supposed to smoke. Vega even gives her shit about it. "I doubt anyone could follow me. I took the direct route," she says quietly, pulling her hood down. "Irene..." She glances at her friend, eyes dark and focused. "I came to ask a favor."
Irene stares at the pack of cigarettes as they are held out for her, surprise freezing her at first, then real worry is visible in her dark eyes. It crawls up her spine, straightening her posture to alert tension. "Shit, what happened?" She asks, because something terrible must have if she's being gifted something Vega has made clear she sees as a vice. She does take the cigarettes though. "Should I be putting the coffee pot on or getting beers?" Or neither, perhaps. That's always an option.
"Nothing has happened... yet. That I am involved in," Vega corrects herself partway through the statement, dragging a hand back through her hair. "I'm sure you've seen the news." A lot has been happening. A lot of it in Mutant Affairs court. Her tiredness shows in her features, drawn and pale even beneath make up. "Either or. I never say no to coffee." Or beers. Really.
Well, that was not a very comforting response. Irene's expression says as much. "Yeah," she admits, "I've been following the news." Then she turns and pads on bare feet to the kitchen. "No, I suppose you don't," she murmurs, setting up the coffee maker to run. The house itself is, frankly, cleaner than Vega has ever seen it be in the last six years. Everything is put away, no clothing or books or anything laying around wherever they've fallen. Everything's been dusted and washed. Walls have been patched and painted. The furniture is the same, and there are still shelves stocked in prep of disaster or something, but it's about as close to looking new as she's seen the place.
"It's life preserving." Coffee. Following Irene more slowly, Vega takes a chance to look around the house as she moves towards the kitchen, eyeing the change with a lift of her brows. She stands a little awkwardly in the doorway. A little uncertain. A little hesitant. A little apologetic. "Your place looks nice. I don't think I've ever seen it so clean..." Oh Vega. Fail at small talk.
The coffee maker hisses with steam as it starts to brew. Irene turns to look at Vega, leaning against a counter, and taps the cigarette pack against a palm. "Yeah, well." Her mouth slants. She's had a lot more time on her hands lately than she ever has before. "Thanks," she finishes, dryly.
The operation of the coffee maker pulls Vega's attention for the moment. It's internal processes soothing in their way, easing a little of the tension out of her shoulders. "It's really nice." Although it lacks finesse, it is a genuine enough compliment. Entering the kitchen more properly, she drag a hand along the edge of the counter top, fingers sliding over its finished lines before she refocuses on Irene. Her mouth hooks in a line, just a little apologetic. "There's a lot brewing in the city right now. A lot that's not on the news."
"Thanks." Irene repeats herself, but this time it isn't dry, but quiet. Even the kitchen is clean beneath Vega's fingers, counter tops free from dishes and stains, if not appliances. "There usually is. Given what has made the news, in greater or lesser amounts, I can only imagine what you're privy to." Se can imagine /pretty well/ after eight years in Mutant Affairs, but still.
If the kitchen was free of appliances, Vega might think that Irene was moving rather coping by cleaning. "We about to make a move. This weekend, likely," she says quietly, dark eyes lingering on her former partner. Pausing she swallows, her expression showing worry for a moment before it steels into her more placid cop-like expression. "I have a bad feeling about this."
"Ah," says Irene. Short, a little pained...but only if you're familiar with her. Otherwise, she looks and sounds carefully neutral. She taps the cigarettes against her palm again, thoughtfully. She takes a slow, deep breath, watching Vega and running a few thoughts through her head. "You and me both," she murmurs, though some of that is just due to Vega showing up as she has. "Mutant Affairs knows what it's doing..." Her defense is quiet. Not halfhearted, but worried. "But then you know that."
"Mutant Affairs knows what its doing... but I want more than that at my back, at our backs going into this," she says. Asks. Really. It's a request more than anything. "Ideally, I want you at my back. But, I know with Idris and just everything... I understand if you can't," she adds, smile flickering over her lips. "Especially because. I talked to Kaylee. She and possibly some other people might be there, I don't know still quite where we stand but I can trust her to react like a cop. To know procedure if things go bad." But.
The coffee maker beeps, finishing its brewing, but Irene doesn't stir immediately to get it, letting the last bits drip out and watching her ex-partner with some concern. She turns then, putting aside the cigarettes and pulling a mug out of the cabinet before reaching for the coffee maker. "Vega, they let me go," she reminds, like it's necessary for her to need to remind either of them after the last month. "They don't want me there," she says, pouring coffee into a mug. Nevermind that it's Vega asking, not Mutant Affairs, but... Her head whips up to stare at Vega then as she mentions who she's been speaking to and why. The coffee overflows the mug as she's distracted and it takes her another moment to notice. "Shit," she says, putting the carafe back and drinking a little from the mug so it doesn't spill over more before she grabs a towel and wipes it and her hand off. She sets the (clean-ish) mug by Vega and then mops up the mess on the floor. The towel gets thrown in the sink, slapping the basin a little hard. "What--" She starts to yell, remembers her so nis asleep, and hisses the rest. "What the fuck are you thinking?"
It's telling that her ex-partner doesn't beeline directly for the coffee. "I know," Vega whispers. She does. She's been sitting the office with Irene's ghost for the last month. Continuing her piece as Irene pours, her words trail off and eyes widen as Irene looses track of what she's pouring. "Shit, Irene!" It's a soft sort of yelp that leaves her trying to go grab a towel. Coffee. It's hot. The other woman beats her to it, if not a sponge which she offers a little bit sheepishly. There is still a thankful nod for the coffee. Her partners hissing gets a wince, but it is one that is paired with a clenched jaw. "The fuck I was thinking is that we lack a contingency plan - for some reason not everyone wants to take this as seriously as I do. The enhancer screwed you over. I watched the tape and if you'd been /anyone else/, Irene..." Her teeth grit, hands fishing by her sides. She'd be dead. Or worse. "I can trust her to have extra firepower. And I can trust her not to shoot me in the back. If and when things go bad."
The sponge is accepted and used to get the last of the burning liquid off the floor and wipe it clean, as if nothing happened before it gets tossed in the sink too. Coffee. It's hot. Anyone else would have been burned. Then again, that's the reason she's still here at all. "I know," Irene says, grimly serious. "Anyone else would be dead." She says it out loud. "At least this time everyone else walked away too." There have been enough times where that hasn't been the case...but this time, not losing her life meant that she lost her job instead. "She's reckless-" She cuts off with a low growl and a huff of breath. "You can't just gather up a bunch of /vigilantes/ for a police raid, Vega. You /know/ this!" And if she knows and she's doing it anyway...how worried must Vega be? That's the thought that eats at Irene, that makes her grab the cigarettes and dig a lighter--meant for candles not smokes--out of a drawer before heading out the back door.
There is a wince for that /particular/ choice of words from Vega. Blowing out a long sigh, she drags her hand back through her hair. /She/ didn't walk away from an explosion like that. She survived, but she didn't walk away. There have been enough other times where they couldn't say the same for things like that, even in their partnership together. There are often casualties. She knew that. She knows it now. Watching Irene head out the door, Vega glances up at the ceiling and keeps an ear perked for a little boy who should be asleep upstairs. After a moment, she fixes her coffee, and then she follows. Her boots are solid against the cement steps leading out into the small back lot. "I am not bringing them for the raid," she points out, dropping down onto a step to take a seat. Regardless of where Irene has decided to smoke. "I say them, but it might just be Thompson. Anyways... I am bringing them for /if/ the raid goes bad. If that little feeling in my gut that won't go away proves true."
There is a slight overhang over the door where the back step is, but Irene isn't under it. She's standing a few feet away, in the small scrap of backyard, the snow falling on her while breaths and puffs of smoke alike waft away from her. She watches Vega as she exits the house and takes a seat on the step. She doesn't respond to her ex-partner immedietly, but there is a look on her face that speaks to her taking the time to think about what has been said, rather than just stewing in frustration. "Fuck," she finally says. "You really think it's going to go that badly?" She's certainly never recruited back-up like this before, as far as Irene knows.
Irene is given all the time she needs. Vega sits and drinks her coffee while it is still hot, watching her partner from beneath a hooded brow. Her expression dark and thoughtful and a million miles distant all at once. "Maybe." After a moment she adds, "I hope I'm wrong." There is a possibility she will be. "I don't like it. I don't like the situation. I don't like their brazeness. Or their ease of getting out and off. They walked into the department and blew it up. Maybe I am just paranoid." Curling a little tighter in on herself, she repeats. "I hope so."
The quip on the tip of Irene's tongue is 'Yeah I know, I was there.' But she doesn't actually say it. Instead she frowns and smokes, covering worry and bitterness with the action. "Maybe. Maybe not." They do inspire a certain amount of paranoia. "Alright," she begins on a heavy sigh, "What's the situation, then?"
They can listen to your /thoughts/. That inspires a lot of paranoia. Lifting a hand, Vega rubs at her eyes tiredly. "Remember that old charity in Mutant Town?" The Bowery. "It looks like they are interested in opening it for a different kind of business. Likely guess is prostitution. Equally likely they are just setting up a home base of operations."
"Yeah." Irene nods and taps her cigarette, ashing it into the snow. "Fuck," she hisses, sucking in a breath through her teeth. "So, police are raiding it then. You're raiding it. And you think...what, you guys are outmatched? Did things get weird?"
"I think that's a strong possibility." Vega can't help but let out a bark of bitter laughter. "Irene. What about dealing with these guys /hasn't/ been weird?"
Irene makes a face. "You know what I mean. Weird/er/." Grumbling, she takes a drag from the cigarette while looking like she wants to throw something at Vega. "Shit, I mean, Mutant Affairs is supposed to be prepared for this kind of thing." She gestures vaguely. "But here we are."
That face is a reasonably common face. Vega has made Irene throw things at her before. "I meant /even/ for Mutant Affairs." Her index finger taps against the lip of her coffee mug. "Yeah." Taking a sip of coffee, she watches Irene for a long and silent moment. "You don't have to, you know." Join her. Provide backup. She wants it. She /asked/ but she wouldn't hold it against Irene if her answer was anything else.
At least they are always soft things. "Well, I don't know how weird things are there." Seems like they'd be weirder than normal right now, anyway. Irene takes a drag of the cigarette and blows smoke slowly, taking her time. Then she fixes Vega with a sharp look from eyes that look black in the dark. "You think you can fucking stop me?" Maybe. Probably, given enough time. "What do you need from me?" She asks, though her expression briefly flickers with something like rue, like she can't believe she's agreeing, except of course she is. "You know I don't actually have the authority to shoot people anymore." She snorts, a gust of cold mist in the snow. "First time in fifteen years."
"Hectic. Tense. There's this... Maybe it's just me but there's an uneasiness." In her head. At Mutant Affairs. This is different. As Irene fixes her with a sharp look, Vega answers it. Her own in greyed and worn. "Maybe. I don't want to though." She came looking for Irene. She came asking for help. Setting aside her mug, she slings her hands over her knees and sighs. "I need you... and Thompson to wait. To watch. No one else has the ability, that I would trust, to know what it feels like when something goes bad on the job. I think I'll be on the raiding team - so I should be able to contact you if everything goes pear shaped. But." Should. Rubbing her knee, she tilts her head at Irene. "Much as I don't think anyone would notice in the middle of a gunfight, so long as you aimed non-vital, I will see if I can fix you up with something. You still technically have your civilian carry license." Which doesn't even you authority to shoot even if it gives you access.
"I've got your back," Irene says simply, firmly. Her eyes are dark except the red pinpoints of light reflected in them from the cigarette butt. She sighs quietly. It might land her in the fire again, but she means it. "Fuck, Thompson." At least there is a noticeable comma there. That's something. She does give Vega a look like 'Did you really have to?' but at least she keeps it to a look. "Alright. I can be nearby. If you call." She'll say, and hope for, that 'if'. "I can't promise to aim non-vital." It's not a statement of intent to murder, it's just training. She could try--she can't promise. "I'll see what I can get." Ammo-wise. "Yeah, I have a few licenses." And a gun safe that a Texan would be proud of, but that's a little beside the point.
"I know you do." For as hesitant as Vegas has been to bring this to Irene, even going so far as giving her room to opt out, there is no hesitation in her answer. Not an ounce. Not a moment's. Huffing a sound that isn't quiet a laugh, she shrugs her shoulders at that /look/. Thompson is trustworthy. Once a cop. Irene she knows will be ready and capable. Always a cop. "Yeah. I wouldn't either." It is training and they both know it. "I can probably rig something too. I don't know what." But something. Even in the moment if need be. Rising slowly, she dips her head. "I should probably get going. Thanks for the coffee."
Irene nods firmly. And that is that. It feels like a partnership again, even if strained by circumstances. "Don't go out of your way." In other words: Try to get some sleep and don't forget to eat. It's more important. "Sure," she says, stubbing out the cigarette in her palm. "Be careful going home." Just be careful. "Let me know what I may be walking into, as best you can. Whatever information you've got."
That is that. "Eh. I'll work it over," Vega promises, which is not a promise to /not/ go out of her way thinking of things, just that she'll consider options. She visibly flinches as Irene puts out the cigarette in her palm. "Irene. No!" Don't do that. She remembers after a moment that her partner in crime is invulnerable. Urgh. Picking up the cup, she offers it to Irene with steps that leave her floating off the ground. There's an odd sort of weightless grace to her motions. "Full details before we hit the ground as much as I've got them." Trading off the cup for the air, she slips off into the night with a softly uttered, "Goodnight," in Chinese.Well, she can't exactly stop Vega from Vega-ing up an idea. Irene does shoot her a puzzled look, though, at the protest. She wipes her hands on her jeans. What? Oh, yeah, that probably looked weird. She shrugs and then takes the offered coffee mug. "Alright," she says on a heavy sigh, mulling things over. She looks up into the snowy night as Vega vanishes into it. "Fly safe," she murmurs like a prayer.