|Year of the Tiger|
|Location||Chinatown - Lower East Side|
|Participants||Moody, Roddy, Mikhail, Tiffany, Orianne|
|Summary||The crew gets involved in some Chinese New Year festivities! Dumplings are born and die!|
| 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.|
| It is a winter evening. The weather is cold and flurrying.|
Many areas around the city are celebrating the Chinese New Year, including a small park on the edge of Chinatown. Strings of red lanterns crowd the sky, their faint glow visible as the sky begins to darken. Banners of crimson and gold are everywhere, clustering with notably unseasonable flowers, peonies and plum blossoms, bright against the lingering snow. Tents have been set up around the edge of the park, where people serve various kinds of Chinese food, or sell various trinkets. In one corner, a pair of costumed Chinese lions dance to the beat of drums. Sparklers are clearly evidence, as are some waiting firecrackers, both real and fake, and red envelopes--containing candy in this case, not money--are casually handed to passers-by. Pictures of tigers are everywhere as people welcome in the year of the tiger, and the whole park bustles with life and colour and smell, fighting back the winter.
"I'm gonna eat you little dumpling," Moody sings to the blob of dough at the end of her chopsticks, crooning the love song of her people (starving artists). She's got a takeaway box of New Year's dumplings in her lap as she perches on a cement planter in the park, a jaunty red scarf wrapped around her neck in honor of the holiday. "Who's the most delicious? You are, yes you are," and she pops it into her mouth, mmmming when her assertions are proven correct. DELICIOUS.
Mikhail is currently checking out a small stand selling dumplings, to the surprise of no one who knows him. Not that anyone who knows him is near. Mikhail appears to be risking the wide, wild world on his own these days, with no Russian mafia to hang over his head, and although he occasionally finds himself shuffling to the edge of overwhelmingly large crowds, he does so with less trepidation. He's gained a black leather jacket somewhere, and a scarf, bright red, is looped around his neck as he experiments with bickering in a language not his own.
Roddy applauds very loudly for the dancing lions. "Bravo!" he yells. "Bravo!" Never mind that might be a little out of place in a Chinese New Year celebration. Or that a tall Englishman in an exquisitely tailored wool coat might be a little out of place in a Chinese New Year celebration. He pauses as the lions and drummers move off, listening, and then leans back to bring himself within general range of Moody. "Ah," he says. "But which one is the /most/ delicious? Or is every dumpling in the box more delicious than the one before?"
Tiffany recoils instinctively from being handed things by strangers. Years of being tricked into taking religious pamphlets will do that to a girl. The brunette actually goes as far as to throw up an arm at first when a cute little old lady approaches her. Assessing the situation, Tiff lowers her defenses and with an apologetic BLINK of her eyes, gently plucks the glittery red envelope of candy that had been offered to her. “Thanks,” she mumbles after she’s well out of earshot of the old woman, slowing to scan over the dumpling stand’s menu. Whatever she might be wearing is hidden beneath a puffy mustard-colored parka.
"Excuse me. Pardon me. Sorry! Coming through. Could I just..." Orianne attempts to wiggle her way towards the food stands through the worst of the crowd -- a somewhat difficult task when you're not, say, Maxim, and thus an organic bulldozer. She finally escapes the crowd near the dumpling stand where her roommate is. Her cheerful wave tossed towards familiar faces comes to a surprise halt when she recognizes someone else: namely, the odd Englishman who tried to pretend to have an 'American' accent -- badly -- before. "Oh, hi! I guess you didn't find the thing you were looking for yet, then?"
"Their deliciousness ends when I eat them, so technically, they're each the most delicious from initial chopstick contact to mouth," Moody explains easily, grinning at Roddy, "If it's not Lord Geronimo. Have any new adventures?" She scoots over and pats the planter next to her for Orianne to join her if she likes. She scans the crowd, noting faces, and squints a bit at Tiffany as if trying to place her.
Mikhail is apparently triumphant (he's just lucky like that), because he turns with twice the dumplings he originally ordered, grinning. The crowd shifts as he does, and he steps sideways, nearly bumping into Tiffany. He recovers just short of her, but two dumplings are unfortunate casualties to the interaction, and Mikhail makes a noise of such sadness as they tumble to the dirt. No!
"Very clever of you," notes Roddy with a sunny nod. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees an incipient dumpling disaster. He turns, dives--falls short. The dumplings tumble to the dirt a few centimetres from his heroically outstretched hand. So does Roddy.
Tiffany’s gaze shifts to Moody as well, growing more severe as she thinks. She narrows her eyes and focuses in on the other young woman before-- Mikhail! Tiff jolts and prance-steps backward, stopping short of having her only pair of shoes, plain Mary Jane flats, defiled with dumpling ...juice. And Roddy, apparently. “Agh, that sucks,” she makes a breathy sound of disappointment out of respect for the loss as her large eyes widen just a little bit further at the two men. She pops a piece of candy into her mouth.
Roddy's sudden dive past Orianne causes her to leap aside rather precipitously, turning to look at his target. "Oof." And then she sees whose dumplings just took a spill, and she winces in sympathy. "Mikhail! Hi." And maybe his luck is still holding in some form or another, because she adds, "You want some of my order? Moody's looked so good I was just about to get some myself."
Moody clutches her box more tightly, "I'm not sharing. But they are really good." She squints again at Tiffany and then points sharply, "You!" J'accuse! YOU ARE RECOGNIZED!
Mikhail might spend more time mourning his dumplings if it weren't for Roddy's dramatic dive. He shuffles a few steps back, eyes wide and wary, and for a few moments, nearly everyone seems to just sort of-- forget about him. Probably just much easier to focus on Roddy. His eyes whip up to Orianne, and the sight of her seems to ease something of his wariness, and he says, "Orianne, hello!"
"Alas," breathes Roddy as the reality of his dumpling failure sinks in. "Poor dumplings. I knew you well." He straightens up, and brushes snow from his trousers.
Pretending to partially shield her face with a hand, Tiffany makes to look down and away to avoid being recognized by Moody -- even though, it’s been made clear that the ship has sailed. “Oh, hey,” she lowers the hand to reveal a little smirk, “What’s up.” She shifts her eyes, “You look really successful, now. Can I have a dumpling.” Pressing her lips inward, she tiptoe side-steps around Roddy, Mikhail, and Orianne to skitter just a bit closer to her former classmate.
Moody hugs the box to her chest and purses her lips, looking at Tiffany, "I am the opposite of successful. But yes. You can have one." She uses the back of her chopsticks to fish one out and offer it to Tiffany, "I didn't know you were in the city -- Anne, this is Tiffany. We went to school together. Orianne is Carole's younger sister," she explains, naming her former roommate at Xavier's. (The one typically half-hiding in a corner during parties.)
Orianne offers Tiffany a cheerful nod in greeting as she sidles through the sudden knot of people to get a little closer to Mikhail -- and, of course, the dumpling stand. She offers the Russian mutant a bright smile in greeting as she settles into the line for procurement of the delicious dumplings. "Are you enjoying the celebration? I've never been to one of these before. It's really colorful... and pretty crowded." (The last part is said with, perhaps, a little less enthusiasm.)
"I just got here," Mikhail answers, warming as he apparently ascertains that Roddy is not actually a threat of any sort. He shoves a dumpling into his mouth and adds around it, "'s vewwy cwowded."
"I like it crowded," declares Roddy, giving his trousers another swipe. "It makes it very interesting. I've never been to Chinese New Year in New York before," he continues. "It's positively thrilling."
“Oh, good,” Tiffany phews at Moody’s lack of success, “Yeahhh. I just moved into my sister’s sewing room.” She nods back to Orianne and the introduction, “Oh, cool.” Her eyes drift over the little crew, lingering on the Mikhail before she turns her attention back to Moody. She uses foil-paper from the candy envelope to take the dumpling. “Thanks,” she crinkles up her nose in an attempt to be cute. Because she can’t afford dumplings.
"That sounds luxurious. Anne and I share an apartment in Mutant Town -- top floor, but that's no problem for me," Moody answers easily, being a teleporter. "The rooms are the size of phone booths." Nobody knows what those are, Moody. Not everyone is a stupid time traveler. "Anyway, we both do work for Jeremy -- you know, the drama teacher? He set up like, this freelance mutant agency or whatever, and we get gigs and get paid for them. If you want work, you should come by, see what's up. It's not salaried but it can put a little extra cash in your pocket." She flicks her fingers to send the information over to Tiffany via Eye, an address in Mutant Town and X-Factor Solutions as the logo. "If you haven't already heard about it, I mean."
Orianne finishes obtaining a few more dumplings for herself, several of which are split off to share with Mikhail. "It /really/ is," she agrees, as she scoots aside from the stand. She seems to keep half an ear on Tiffany and Moody -- someone who knew her sister back at school is worth noting, after all -- but mostly focuses on Mikhail and Roddy. She's used to dividing her attention, after all. "And you run into interesting people. Like odd Englishmen from the park." Hello, Roddy!
Mikhail takes the extra dumplings with a smile that dimples wide in thanks. His eyes sweep up to Moody, and he looks between the unfamiliar man and Orianne for a long moment before asking, "You know him?"
Roddy pauses for a moment, and quirks an eyebrow toward Orianne. "Central Park is inhabited by odd Englishmen?" he wonders. He sounds mildly disappointed by that. Perhaps it is not exotic enough. He glances to Mikhail, then to Moody and Orianne, and says, brightly, "Oh, I have been making friends all over."
"Not very well yet. We met once before." Orianne looks at Roddy with a slightly quizzical expression, as if she still can't quite figure out what makes the oddball Englishman tick. "He was pretending to be an American." Beat. "Very badly."
"Phone boo-? Ugh, I would kill for my own place. Jacque is so lame with her boring husband, now," Tiffany laments to Moody. She extends the complaint to roll her eyes jealously for Orianne's benefit, biting carefully into the dumpling. "Actually, I just sortof filled out some stuff there the other day. So, I guess we work together. Sortof." Blink. Anyone reading her forms might note that she wrote 'vagina dentata' in as her power. "We should do a job, together. That doesn't involve removing rancid meat from places, though. ...I think ...I saw that ...listed."
"He ran into me with a sled," confirms Moody in a manner that is a bit sunny for the topic. "But nicely." To Tiffany she actually laughs, "God, I know, right? That is the /worst/. Sometimes we get fun stuff, though. I like the courier gigs, but sometimes we get bounties or just like, weird whatever tasks people are into."
"Ah," Mikhail says, frowning at Roddy for a long moment as he studies him. Then he glances back to Orianne and says, "I hear there are fireworks. Somewhere. Have you seen them?"
"No! But I was hoping I could find them. That's why I came down here." A pause, and then Orianne takes one of the remaining dumplings, adding as she pops it into her mouth, "Dat un d'fud."
"I have a _splendid_ American accent, I'll have you know," insists Roddy, bristling just a little. "Perfectly splendid. It's just that, apparently, everyone else's is worse. Also, I was tobogganing." he looks proud of himself.
"I think the uh, fireworks are going to be in that direction," Tiffany interjects, gesturing vaguely, "Or I saw people setting up to face that way. Anyway." She presses her mouth into a thin, awkward smile, "Maybe."
"I though they would be nice to watch," Mikhail says, following Tiffany's gesture with interest before he looks back to Orianne. "It is more crowded than I expected, though."
"I don't think you can call it tobogganing if you did it on a garbage can lid -- you need a proper long thing with those metal rails to toboggan. Fact. And I saw Citizen Kane in the theater so I would know," Moody says to Roddy, quite serious.
"No, you have about /eight/ different American accents," Orianne points out to Roddy, bemused. Then she turns to follow Tiffany's gesture, before glancing back at Mikhail. "It's pretty packed," she agrees. "I wish I could fly. Get up above the crowd, look at the fireworks that way."
"Ah," says Roddy sagely to Moody. "Is that what it takes to be an expert on tobogganing? I will have to apply myself then." He looks to the darkening sky. "I can fly," he says, a little wry, "but usually I require a plane. Not that I usually advise flying around fireworks in any case." He glances back to the others, thoughtful. "What is it that you all do?" he asks, having overheard a little of the earlier conversation.
In solidarity with Moody's Citizen Kane reference, Tiffany pops out her hip and raises her eyebrows daringly at Roddy ...y'know, girl-squad backup-style. She couldn't be all that serious though, as her smile continues to fractionally grow along with the group's amusing conversation.
"Freelance badassery. Also, I'm a DJ. If you're having a bar mitzvah or a wedding or a killer party, look me up, I'm very cheap and basically will do anything for money." Moody says cheerily, tossing her 'business card' over to Roddy's Eye. "Orianne jumps off buildings and Mikhail's a competitive eater."
Orianne opens her mouth to make a reply to Roddy, but then her roommate summarizes everything. She closes it again, glancing back at Mikhail with a sort of shrug. 'Jumps off buildings' is maybe a severe way of describing parkour, but perhaps it's not really all that inaccurate. Besides, maybe she's feeling just a little bewildered by Roddy's mental gymnastics.
"Freelance badassery," echoes Roddy. He sounds positively enchanted by that phrase. "I will have to remember that. That is sort of--what I do, only I don't charge," he says with the casualness of someone who doesn't have to. "And, well. If I require anyone to leap off tall buildings, Miss Orianne will be the first I call." Moody rolls Presence+conning: Good Success.
Mikhail lingers likewise silent, and the edges of his expression are starting to read 'overwhelmed'. More and more, those participating in the conversation find themselves likely to leave him out, letting him slink to the edges unnoticed.
"Are you really a competitive eater?" Tiffany talks past Roddy to Mikhail. Perhaps in an attempt to avoid answering the question herself, she attempts to deflect some of the spotlight onto to someone who ...possibly maybe wants it even less than her. She pops another piece of candy into her mouth.
"Oh!" Orianne notes, with a slightly distracted tone. "I see where the fireworks audience area is, Mikhail. If you want to see the show, we should go get seats." Moody and Mikhail, at least, might recognize the signs of someone scouting via a pigeon puppet; the others probably are left wondering what she's talking about.
"Well, if he isn't, he could be. He's still young," Moody covers for Mikhail, agreeably, so that it's easy to dodge away. She wiggles her fingers at Orianne in farewell, "Text me if you want a lift home, yo. I'm planning a total vegetation night. Assuming I don't get lonely and go hunting big game." She eyes Roddy and adds, friendly-like, "Well, if you ever want to go pro with the badassery, you should call. We're always looking for people nuts enough to do what we do."
When Orianne turns to make her invitation, she finds Mikhail entirely absent. At some point he's slipped away through a gap in the crowd.
"Does going pro with badassery disqualify me from the badassery Olympics?" wonders Roddy. "Or have they bent the amateur rules in recent years?"
Chewing on her candy in the side of her mouth like a mock-valley girl, Tiffany shifts her dead, expressionless eyes to Moody. "Mousey guy's cute," she states in an equally lackluster tone after Mikhail has evidently disappeared.
Orianne can't help but look a little downcast when Mikhail vanishes.
"The committee on badass affairs is neutral on the subject. I think you could still medal," Moody grins at Roddy before saying aside in a lower voice to Tiffany, "Anne kinda likes him, but he's a little flakey. I mean, not in a bad way, just in a 'I was kind of raised in a box of sadness' way. The mutant life, y'know?"
"I almost fenced for Britain once," Roddy tells Moody cheerfully. His brow furrows a little. "As it turned out, there were enough people sufficiently better than me that I didn't."
“Yeah,” Tiffany nods her chin, shifting a sympathetic furrowed brow towards Orianne. Tucking the envelope of candy into one of her parka’s pockets, she scrubs her palms off on the coat’s swishy fabric, “I should go. I totally didn’t even mean to walk into this ...thing.” Her eyes lazily shift to the festival going on around them, “But I’ll seeya around.” She turns to stare down Roddy for a second, continuing to chew her candy, “Fencing is cool.” Blink. The young woman stalks off.
"I think I'm going to go see the fireworks," Orianne notes, almost managing 'perky' again, even if she's trying a little harder for it. Never mind that she could watch them through a pigeon if she wanted.
"My fence isn't nearly that good," Moody says to Roddy, admiringly, then waves again to Orianne.
"It was a very pretty fence," says Roddy sagely, and blinks at Tiffany's stare down. He just gives her a wave.
Moody retorts, "I thought you guys only used artistically arranged hedges?"
"There is much you have to learn about the art of English fencing, grasshopper," Roddy tells her, somewhere between wryness and smug superiority. He blinks. "I don't know why I called you 'grasshopper.' It seemed fitting.
"Well, I'm not much of a kung fu practitioner. I prefer Brazilian jiu jitsu and krav maga." Moody tosses her empty dumpling box into the trash by expediently teleporting over next to the can and then back again, blip blip, accurate enough that she only falls about a centimeter back onto the planter where she was sitting. "But you, Lord Geronimo, are not my sensei."
"Cricket?" suggests Roddy.Moody laughs, winks, and disappears. Poof!