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2046-02-08 Ringing in the New Year

From X-Factor

2046-02-08 Ringing in the New Year
Date Posted 2016/02/14
Location Chinatown - Lower East Side
Participants Vega, Irene
NPCs Idris Atwell
Summary Leaving the smoke of New Year's Eve in Chinatown behind, Vega and Irene discuss recent events, business opportunities, and what the new year may bring as Idris sleeps on.
 
New York's Chinatown is no tourist attraction, although its many storefronts selling trendy imported goods and authentic Chinese cuisine makes it a hot spot for visitors and locals alike. It is instead a lively district full of businesses that cater to New York's increased Chinese population, from Hong Kong fashions to imported produce. Many of the sidewalks are lined with markets that appear each morning and disappear every evening, and the air often carries the smell of fresh fish. The signs that decorate nearly every surface bear a mishmash of English and Chinese characters announcing goods and services, while red lanterns strung over the street sway in the slightest breeze. At night, many of the shops close, and the area lights with neon announcing the location of popular bars and clubs.


The fireworks have long concluded. All that is left in the sky are memories and a dim haze of smoke filtering away slowly. The festivities in Chinatown haven't ended completely, but for many they are over for tonight. For most families and those from other neighborhoods the end of the fireworks show signals the end of the evening. They diffuse into the rest of the city in groups, heading towards cars and cabs and subway stations.

For one family in particular this is the end of a very long, if nice, day. It may have begun with some errands, but there followed gifts, visits, a large family feast and then finally festivities and fireworks.

Idris had been sitting on Irene's shoulders for the fireworks. He's starting to get a little big for that sort of thing, but he's still too short to see over most heads so she humors him. Now, only his head rests on her shoulder, using it as a pillow as he has fallen thoroughly asleep after a day of excitement. The rest of him she holds in her arms, trying not to jostle him (as if he'd notice) as they walk down the sidewalk. Both of them sparkle faintly under streetlights, thanks to some glitter 'gifted' their way. Despite this, she says, "{Thanks for looking after him for a bit this morning.}" It's more heartfelt than the scattered 'thanks' of earlier.

The smoke still lingers. It hangs in thick and heavy clouds that curl with their purple fringes grasping at the clothes of onlookers and of families headed home. Vega's family, with their kids and spouses, head in one direction while she joins Irene in the walk back after bidding her mothers goodbye with a kiss to the cheek. There is a laziness to her stride as she strolls contentedly next to her friend and her son. A little of that glitter clings to the cuffs of her sleeves, a few hand prints scattered on her shoulders. "{Ah. I was happy to do so,}" she answers softly, casting a fond look at Idris. "{Did everything go as you had hoped?}"

The Atwells have spent most of the evening with the Zhangs, joining the family for News Year's celebrations, but her truck is parked farther away, closer to Vega's apartment, so it is in that direction they amble easily. "{He does like you. Cool Aunt Vega.}" Irene casts a small smile over to her friend, then looks away. She walks through the fading, hazy air and considers. "{I do not know that I had /hopes/.}" She is silent a beat, then continues. "{It...went. I am not sure what I expected, but I suppose it both did and did not meet expectations?}" She squints over at Vega. That probably doesn't make a lot of sense.

"{Oh. The things he will someday learn aren't /really/ true,}" Vega jokes with a self deprecating edge, eyes bright with humor as they meet Irene's. "{He's a great kid.}" Her voice is warm as she speaks, falling like the squeeze of a familiar hand on the shoulder. The hazy air leaves the frames and silhouettes of those around them blurred with gaussian edges. They are little more than shadows in the street. A mythical cast added to the edge of a dragon mask or the dart of a windsock along their path. "{It was a bit of a mess?}" She suggests with more candor, that humor lingering. "{I spoke to Thompson a little of it last night. It is at least an opportunity and an option from what I heard. What did and didn't it meet?}"

Irene laughs, low and quietly, dark eyes sparkling with humor. "{Not for a long time, yet, I think.}" Carefully, she holds her son a little closer. "{He is, yes,}" she replies with deeply felt affection and a warm smile. It fades a little as they walk, into an expression that is more common, thoughtful and calm. "{You would not be able to be in the offices for more than two minutes without needing to fix something.}" It was a bit of a mess. "{Controlled chaos, Mr. Wallace claimed.}" Sorry, Jeremy, you're back to being Mr. Wallace again. "{Sounded like...a net, catching people fallen through the cracks of the city.}" She cants a look over at Vega. "{Did you?}"

A small smile meets Irene's careful cradling of the not so small boy in her arms as Vega watches the pair with a quiet sort of fondness. Her hands hooked into her pockets, she tips brows upward at the comment on the X-Factor offices. "{That… I'll be finding myself in trouble if I make my way there, then. Although, it sounds like they could use the help.}" Pausing for a moment, an impish smile hooks on her lips. "{Did you manage to escape without fixing anything because it sounds like it would drive you mad?}" A bit of a mess. Humming a thoughtful note, her dark eyes look to the lines of the buildings, the streets, the corners, and the constant shift of machines that power the city. It is a little while before she shares her thought. "{The city could use something like that.}" More than they have now, at least. An opportunity. Dipping her head in a short nod, she lifts a shoulder. "{I was checking in on her after the Bowery and we talked a little. Sounds like they'd be lucky to have you and mentioned that one of the jobs was tracking down a kid who slipped out of Xavier's School.}" A soft snort of a laugh escapes her. "Technopath."

"{You still have other options besides washing up on the shores of those offices,}" Irene reminds, not discouraging, exactly. Just a reminder to think about things. "{It could put a spotlight on you.}" It might certainly make people wonder about her. She didn't exit the NYPD the same way as Irene. "{I...}" She goes to protest that she did /not/ have to fix anything. Except that isn't true. She sighs and admits, "{I bought them coffee creamer because they were out.}" She didn't stop to put the door better on it's hinges or patch up the crack in the ceiling? It was just one errand. "{The city could cease to fire valuable employees,}" she comments back to Vega, still a little bitter. Now on both their behalves. Not an auspicious start to a new year. She doesn't disagree with what Vega meant though, nodding her head after. "{Something like that.}" She falls silent, listening for a bit, to the sounds of the city, and to Vega's answer. "{Maybe. It sounds like a lot of contract work. Hits and misses.}" She looks a little concerned at the thought of a runaway kid, then lifts her brows at Vega. "Oh."

The lift of a shoulder in a partial shrug is a mix of agreement and not to Irene's reminder. "{It could,}" Vega agrees, voice soft and reluctant at that. "{It was just luck that the Bowery didn't.}" It didn't put that same spotlight on her. It didn't leave her exposed to the NYPD the way that Irene had been. "{No one knows about you either. There was never an official release,}" she reminds gently before adding, "{There is an draw in being able to use what you can do though, is there not?}" Mutation as a tool rather than a secret. Her friend's admittance causes her to laugh, shattering the solemness of the conversation. "You bought them /coffee cream/." Her dark eyes fix lightly on Irene, mouth drawn up in a broad grin. "{I knew it…}" Bitter in her own way, she simply nods at summary of the police. It doesn't entirely wash away the curve of her smile. "{It seems so.}" The single word in English is left to drop in the open air, with no Chinese equivalent, it hangs there for a moment. Technopath. "Yeah. Apparently the guess is she might be pregnant, they said it might be 'medical reasons.'" There are so many more medical reasons that as well.

"{Or good fortune,}" Irene says, canting a look sideways at Vega and watching her a moment, worry for her friend tucked into the corners of her dark eyes. "{I just want you to remember you still have options. I could even get you into event security, if you would like.}" She's done a little of it. "{No, not no one.}" Just not /everyone/. She sighs, looking away again, looking ahead. "{More people know about me now...than ever have before.}" She resists shifting her shoulders uncomfortably due to the head using one as a pillow. She flicks a glance briefly to her right. "{Maybe. I have never been used that way.}" She has known the true measure of what she's capable of...but very few others have. Which has been by design. Until now. "They were out!" She protests mildly in her defense of the coffee creamer. "Shut up," she tells Vega, but not without some soft humor. She blinks then, the only sign she's surprised, and then blows out a heavy sigh. "Shi-oot." That really lacks punch. She's silent for a moment, then she says with empathy, "Yeah...She shouldn't be alone, either way."

"{I should probably look into it. As should you. They are your contacts.}" They would no doubt hire her again, even if there might be questions about the force in general. Vega's lips thin as Irene's worries take weight on her figure, muscles tensing and shoulders longing to shift anxiously. Standing on her ex-partner's right, Vega looks left. She touches a gentle hand to Irene's shoulder in sympathy and perhaps in solidarity. "{I am here. Whatever you need.}" she promises. Words are a small thing against the world, but they are something when you mean them. Blowing out a low breath, one that almost whistles over her teeth, she tips her head back at the light stained sky. "{I have only used myself that way. It is very useful, you get used to it.}" That utility of mutation creeping into daily actions, habits, choices; Vega's lift is quite physically guided by it. "You are one of a kind, Atwell." It's a good thing. They were out. Still chuckling to herself, she flicks a strand of pink hair back over her shoulder. The conversation has enough punch to make cursing less than needed. "No. She shouldn't."

"{I have, that is why I mention it,}" Irene replies. "{Most of the events are in the evening, however, and they are hard for me to work. I get a daytime now and again.}" It's not much work, but it's something and it's not routed through her contacts at Mutant Affairs. She looks over at Vega, holding her gaze a moment. Then one corner of her mouth lifts in a small smile. "{As am I, for you.}" Looking after each other still, after everything that's happened, even if they can't actually do much. (Or as much as they might want). "{I just do not work that way.}" She slants a slightly sympathetic look over to Vega, but still with a smile. "{I only have to be aware of myself--control myself.}" Her mutation inhabits her daily life in a much different way than Vega's does, for all that neither of them are ever really /off/. "I'm something, alright." She shakes her head gently, barely, not disturbing her son. "No..." She sighs, not sure what to add to that. "I guess if I hear anything about it, I'll let you know. You can look over the contract paperwork, if you like, though...it's not going to replace things." Replace being a cop.

"{Evenings are hard for you.}" Her eyes linger on Irene's son for a moment and the woman who carries him as if he is no weight at all. "{You have enough skill you should be coordinating security, not simply working it,}" Vega says on the breath of a sigh, just a little frustrated with their situation. Her hand flapping irritably at the sky. It disperses the smoke that still clings to them a little more, the air easing as they walk on. A slight smile curves her lips, gaze too serious to make her words seem frivolous. "I know." That trust goes both ways. "I just might. It's something positive in the meantime... Nothing is going to replace being a cop, but we might be able to do a different kind of good as part of the… community." Maybe. That is a little hopeful even for Vega.

"{They are.}" Irene doesn't need to say more than that, the reasons for the difficulties is currently being carried in her arms. It's not a problem, it's just a statement of fact. "{I know, but I am trading on the good word of an old co-worker and have been trying to lay low during the media storm.}" The twist of her lips is wry for her severely fallen status. "{This is the first time I have not worked for the government in...eighteen years, I think. Perhaps I should move on to the post office.}" It's a joke, sort of, but not a very good one. The Post Office still does have a reputation for being full of weirdos. "You might want to adjust your expectations, there. I did say it seemed a little like a mess, right? In a community we've been...sort of not wanted in."

"{Remind me that I have a present for you later. Neither of us want anything to do with the media if possible.}" Vega might have designed something that will help occasionally at least, should an issue come up. It is all that she can do with that. Her dark brows rise high into her pink bangs. "{I don't know if we can stay friends if you join the /Post Office/,}" she quips, mouth lifting just a little a one corner. After a moment her gaze slides away to look up at a sky that can't really be seen through the haze. "{All I ever wanted to be was a cop. I always thought…}" Trailing off, she shakes her head before continuing, "{I thought that maybe if I had been there that day. People wouldn't have died. I wouldn't have… Now, I've come to that bridge and made that choice and it's hard to fix towards something. I'll take something to do over being left spinning like a demagnetized compass.}" Struck by something, she snorts in soft laughter. "So what? We're where we've always been then. At the edges of a community we're not wanted in."

Irene's brows lift up swiftly as she looks over at Vega, staring for moment. Oh? "{I will do that.}" She sounds interested, but the thought it tabled for another day. She laughs softly at the expression on her friend's face. "{Why not? I look good in uniform.]" Probably not the Post Office uniform, though. It's not the same as a nice set of Blues. The humor dies pretty quickly. "{Fuck,}" she whispers. "{I am so sorry, Vega.}" She hadn't dreamed about being a cop. It just seemed a sensible transition after the military. "{People did not die this time,}" she reminds, kindly for the hard choice made was a good one, ultimately. The consequences were just...heavy. Still are heavy. Will be for awhile. "{There is always private security.}" Not the rent-a-cop sort, the tough, competent sort. "It's a pretty different situation, Vega," she replies, serious to that laughter.

Tilting her head in the briefest sketch of a nod, Vega's mind skates off towards the next topic - which involves Irene in khaki shorts. Really. "{We'll...get matching t-shirts or something, you don't need to go that far,}" she suggests dryly. Probably not Post Office. "{At least aspire to FedEx.}" Even if they aren't government. While little of her humor lingers, the dryness remains, caught up in her voice as she shrugs and says, "{It's… It'll be fine. Fuck. Sorry. That was a downer. I am not that little girl anymore.}" Reality is a lot bigger and fiercer. It's subtle, the smile that curls her lips at Irene's offering, but it's there. "{That is always a good day.}" Even if few good things follow it, a day where no one dies is a good one. "I meant… the community at large. We'll see if. There is always private security."

Hey, she's got great legs for shorts. "{I am a little afraid of what you would make our matching shirts say.}" Also, a little curious. Vega has screenprinted shirts that range from amazing to terrible (and sometimes terribly amazing), but though she may make faces and make fun of her...she also /wears/ the shirts made for her. "{Maybe UPS.}" She is not likely serious about any of these supposed options. "{Sorry. You have had a rough start to a New Year.}" After a moment of pensive thought, she quietly adds, "{I am not sure we ever completely leave those little girls behind. History is carried with us}." The good and the bad alike. Her smile in return is small, but it is there. "{Always a good day,}" she agrees. They've both had days where things went much worse. "Well. There's not much we can do about that. No one's gotten in my face, yet, at least." She sounds like she thinks it's inevitable that /someone/ will. "Mhm. They'd love you." Private security.

It's not really the /legs/ that are the problem in that scenario. Skipping ahead a step, Vega flashes Irene a brief smirk and says nothing. "{They would be great.}" Or terrible. Terrible is a definite possibility. It's like Oz, the great and terrible. "{The old year certainly left us with a bang.}" Her hands are gently clapped together in demonstration, fingers expanding as if to contain an explosion. She is quiet as they walk for a minute, the pensive attitude of the atmosphere with its lingering spirits pulling at them both. Dark eyes lift to look at Irene for a long moment, the shadows leaving her looking older and younger all at once. "{Perhaps not.}" They don't fully leave themselves behind nor those fragments of moments. Hands curling into loose fists, there is a set to Vega's jaw that anticipates and warns against trouble. "They won't fare well if they try." To get in her face. Or anything else. "Only for my toys."

Maybe she could have cuter khaki shorts. "{Uh-huh,}" Irene says, only looking all the more skeptical for that smirk Vega flashes her. She can't even imagine what would go on those shirts. It will have to be a surprise. A great and terrible surprise. While they walk the smoke finally clears up, leaving only some pockets of hazy mist in the skies and streets, diffusing the lights from buildings and lamps. It makes it seem like they are stepping from one world to another. "{It makes us who we are.}" She slants a look over at Vega. "Relax, cupcake," she dryly asides, but there is a warmth to her smile that's genuine. Thanks, pal. "You're an ex-officer with years of skills--you're exactly who they want to hire." It's not about toys.

In some small way they are; they leave behind the lights and smoke of Chinatown on New Year's for the glow of the Manhattan streets. That magic, the smoke, and the color of the festivities are left behind until the week's later events. The shocking pink of Vega's hair seems brighter as they escape the smoke, neon against her skin as she lifts her dark brows to look at Irene. The tense fist of her hands softens at that look, but an edge lingers in her gaze even as she smiles back at her friend. "Fine," she says with a huff of a laugh. Anytime, friend. "I suppose… There are more than a few decisions to be made for both of us."

With the bright colors and sounds of New Year's left behind, the realities to be faced in the world seem heavier. Nothing need be settled this evening, though. This day is at it's end, hopefully bringing good fortune to the following ones. Irene looks sideways at her ex-partner and friend, a small smile shared between them. "There are always are." Decisions to be made. Choices for the future.

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