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2046-02-20 Back In Town, Such As It Is

From X-Factor

Back In Town, Such As It Is
Date Posted 2016/02/20
Location The Sloppy Pony - Mutant Town
Participants Ciel, Donny, Kade
Summary Saturday night at the Sloppy Pony. Donny gets his bearings in a new place. Kade and Ciel welcome him, to varying degrees.
 
There used to be glass in the heavy old frame of the door, but now several boards serve to keep the vermin out -- or, do they? You made it in.

An old hitching post greets patrons along the wall by the door, right next to a broken old jukebox that's just for show. The room itself is narrow and long, with mismatched chairs crowded around a couple (literally, two) small tables and a few crates dispersed elsewhere to sit on, but mostly it's all dancefloor, baby. The bar itself must be original, because despite it's dilapidated condition it's actually fairly well-kitted. There's a couple beers on tap, even. A sink, with shoddy plumbing, but it's a sink, coupled with a fridge whose light is always flickering, but keeps bottles icy cold. Thanks to the kid behind the bar, the collection of poisons to pick from is growing, too.

There's a dartboard at the back, with darts available from the bar staff upon request, and tacks to pin up your choice of photograph to toss at. Right next to it is the door leading upstairs to the proprietor's office/living quarters, pockmarcked by stray dart-holes. The peeling paint and mold seeping through the ceiling are barely even noticeable in the dim light from the hanging, singular string bulbs around the place. Less so after a drink or three, so bottoms up!


It is a winter evening. The weather is cold and flurrying.


On a Saturday night, even a Mutant Town dive like the Sloppy Pony is hopping. This particular dive has dancing, which makes it just slightly more popular than some other locales, and is probably the reason that Ciel has dragged Kade to the bar his ex-wife owns instead of the safer Mutiny. She tugs her scarf loose as she steps inside, skimming the crowd, and she leans in to sort of shout toward Kade's ear, "Busy place! Guess that Russian fuck-up didn't hurt business too bad." Her tone is a little dry.

As much as Kade bitches about his ex-wife - and her dive bar - he seems to hang out here an awful lot. So, though he puts up mild protest, he's ammenable to being dragged it to by Ciel tonight. "I happen to know the owner will be out this evening," he says as he strolls in with her. "The kid's here for the weekend, and she and Sierra are hanging." He makes the prospect of his ex and daughter 'hanging' sound ominous. But it's not currently his problem. The bit about the Russians draws a laugh. "She managed to fix the hole, at least. Feels like those gangster fucks didn't leave too many permanent scars on the town, thank God."

Donny wanders into the bar, looking like he's just gotten back in from a trip. He's got a backpack strapped over his shoulders, and a small duffel bag hanging from one hand. "Huh," he vocalizes, looking around the room, before he offers, "Well, it's better than the cold," to nobody in particular. He meanders around, not looking anywhere in particular, and he, of course, manages to bump into Kade, "Oh, God; I'm sorry." He waves a hand at the surroundings, continuing, "Guess I got...sucked in by it all." He chuckles softly and clears his throat, trying to slip past the two of them.

Ciel twists around at Donny's bump, instantly wary, but a quick up-down assessment coupled with his apology has her relaxing a touch. She strips her coat off, answering the stranger, dry, "You know Mutant Town. So much 'all' to get sucked in by."

There is a notch of tension in Kade's shoulders when he's bumped though, if he feels any of that wariness Ciel displays, it's masked with aplomb. After the apology, Donny gets a wave of his hand and a chuckle. "Yeah, this place kind of overwhelms the senses. I think it's various health code violations. No worries, man."

Donny is engaged! Oh no! He turns around as he's addressed and says, "Oh, yeah. Well...not so much. The place is kinda...different than when I left it, y'know?" A pause. "Less streetlights, I mean. Almost fell a manhole, I swear." Another pause. "Bad way to go, there."

"What, Mutant Town?" Ciel says, her brows sweeping up as she studies the other man, slinging her coat over the crook of her arm. She glances up at Kade, then back to Donny. "When'd you leave it?"

"Why don't you sit down, dude?" Kade says, motioning to the bar. Where there are empty stools. It's early yet. "The tequila here is good, if you've got the stomach for it. Beer's not awful, if you don't."

"Eight years ago," Donny responds to Ciel, before adding, "I actually just got back in. Thought I might find a place for a drink. Water, maybe. But then again, I'm feeling a little rich tonight, so I might splurge for a lemon. Who knows, right?" He cracks a little bit of a grin and reaches up to tuck some of his long hair behind his ears. A look to Kade and he says, "Not so much 'lack of stomach'. Moreso 'lack of wallet'." He chuckles softly, but nods in agreement, "A seat does sound good, though." And so he wanders that way.

"Damn," Ciel says. "Mutant Town barely /existed/ eight years ago." She gives Donny a closer study, then tilts into Kade's side a bit, looping her arm around his middle as they edge toward aforementioned bar.

Kade gives Ciel a little look as she loops around his midsection. It's a look he still gives her sometimes, like he's surprised how well she fits there. He doesn't let himself get caught up in that too long, though, heading toward the bar. He picks out a stool for himself. There are free ones on either side of him, and Donny is motioned to one of them. "Well, the water here probably won't kill you. If you want a beer, though, I'll treat. As, like, a 'welcome to New York' kind of thing. Only been in the city just shy of six months myself."

"You're telling me," Donny responds to Ciel, moving to take his seat at the bar next to Kade, setting his bags down under the stool and offering a smile to the bartender. He looks over to the man and holds up a hand, shaking his head, "I couldn't accept that, but thanks." His hands move to tap softly on the bar as his dark eyes move around, continuing to take stuff in. His attention does return to light on Kade and Ciel, "So...what do you guys do?" Donny hasn't done small-talk in a while.

"Oh no," Ciel says, holding back a laugh that makes her eyes gleam bright. "You should /definitely/ accept any time someone's paying for your alcohol, man." She tilts a quick smile up to Kade, then looses him just enough to slide herself up to a stool. "I'm a PI, mostly," she answers. "Ciel Kane. ABC Investigations, if you're ever looking."

"Fair enough, fair enough," Kade says, not pressing any more offers of alcohol on Donny. He orders a couple of beers - one for himself and another for Ciel - when the bartender has a moment. They're delivered shortly. He waits to get his drink before answering Donny's question for himself. "I do whatever I can." It's said wry. "I got a security gig during the week at the mall in Queens. And I bartend sometimes at the Potato Club." He sounds less unenthusiastic about the latter than the former. "We also do spot work at the X-Factor shop around these parts."

"A bartender and a PI? A match made in heaven," Donny responds with a smirk, before ordering his own glass of water. His head tilts at the mention of X-Factor and says, "X-Factor? Now, what is that?" He sits up straight on his stool, hands continuing to tap out the same sort of rhythm on the bar's surface. "Not to pry, of course."

Ciel's eyes narrow a little for that response and that smirk, and her demeanor gets just the slightest bit chillier as she asks, "What do /you/ do?" It seems likely that Kade is the friendly one of the pair.

That comment earns a chuckle from Kade, albeit a wry one. "It's very film noir, when you put it like that." The chill from Ciel is probably noted, but his own demeanor stays relaxed and chatty on the surface. "I don't think it's prying, really. From what I can tell, Wallace wants to get the word out about ti pretty much everywhere. It's, like..." But he struggles to properly explain it. "Mutants-helping-mutans kind of thing. Or whoever will pay. We use our powers to do whatever odd jobs come into the firm."

Donny recoils a little bit at Ciel's response and looks around for who turned down the thermostat, before he answers, "Uh, not really much of anything right now. As I said, I just got back into town today." He gestures towards his bags. "So, as of right now, I work nowhere and have nowhere to live. That'll all iron out in time, though." He offers a smile and a quick thanks to the bartender as his glass of water is delivered. He plucks it up and takes a sip, regarding Kade over the rim of it as he speaks. "Oh. Huh. That actually sounds like a pretty nice set-up. You get a lot of work through them?"

Ciel glances at Kade, then busies herself for a moment with her bottle as the beer arrives. She tilts it upward, tucking it against her lips for a long swallow as she studies Donny. "Some," she says. "Not enough to live on. Enough to make the rent easier."

Kade tries to catch Ciel's look, and hold it with his own blue eyes for a moment, brows coming up slightly. Though he soon looks back at Donny, shrugging. "The money's not exactly regular. Hence the other two jobs. But, like she says, it's the difference between being able to pay my rent without raiding my savings and not. The guy who started it used to run with the X-Men. It's nowhere near /that/, but there aren't many other places recruiting mutants these days."

Donny nods at the description that they give and he says, "I might just have to check that out. Better than nothing." He shrugs a bit and turns to regard his glass of water, his thumb dragging along the rim of it. "It's not exactly the best of times to be one of us, is it?"

"Plus there's something to be said for not hiding in a fucking closet," Ciel says, answering Kade's look with a quick smile and a lift of her bottle in mock toast. She snorts, leaning forward into the bar, and answers Donny, "No," she says, dry. "Sure as hell isn't."

"Better than nothing is kind of the unofficial slogan over there, I think," Kade says, with another of those rueful grins. He downs some more beer. "What do you do?" The question's to Donny. "Or, what'd you do before seeing what New York City had to offer, I mean."

"I told the lady what I do; absolutely nothing, right now," Donny says with a grin, before asking, "Or did you mean like...what do I /do/?" He shrugs and says, "Well, I've been in India for the past eight years. Just kinda...soul searching, I guess you'd call it."

Ciel jerks her gaze upward abruptly, her eyes going narrow on Donny again. Her fingers tighten just a bit around her beer bottle. "Soul searching in India?" she asks, quietly skeptical. Or wary. Or both. It's probably not hard to guess why, with India's reputation for its mutant mercenary bands.

Kade reaches one arm over, to idly rest his hand against Ciel's lower back, when India is mentioned. His response to Donny is light enough. "I've never been. Haven't even done yoga in years." He moves on from that lame joke quickly. "I meant what'd you do before nothing, though it sounds like that was a long time. But I am curious what you /do/. I'm a fire-starter, myself." He holds up his free hand, concentrating, until his index finger glows. Another beat, and he's sparked the air around his fingertip into a tiny, match-sized flame.

"Mmmhmm," Don responds to Ciel with a smile, apparently not picking up on whatever trepedation she might have, continuing, "Studied under a guru there for a while, y'know? Kinda managed to achieve a little bit of inner peace. But then I missed my home, so...here I am." He smiles warmly, thinking back on his experiences. His eyes shift to Kade and he cracks a smile at the joke, saying, "I was in food service for about ten years. Just kinda spinnin' my wheels a lot, y'know? Got fed up with that, so I quit and hopped on a plane." To the other statement, he looks a little bit wary, offering, "It's uh..." He quirks his lips to the side and looks around before setting the glass down. "It's not really the easiest thing to show off, but...I'm kinda...plasma."

Ciel leans back into the touch of Kade's hand, and she shoots him a brief look, quick but clearly grateful as she exhales. It takes her a moment to echo, "You're kinda plasma?"

Kade folds his match-finger into his palm, to douse the flame. He takes a moment to let his hand cool before he picks up his beer again. "Inner peace, huh? That sounds nice. I've tried meditation, but I've never really been able to get into it. My mind always wanders off to like a dozen other things. Kind of plasma?" The question echoes Ciel's. "Like...the super-hot stuff?"

"Yeah..." Donny says, looking back over to Ciel and Kade. "Like, I can transform into super-heated plasma. Not something I really like to do, though. Kinda takes a lot of concentration to not...go dissipating all over the place and dying." He shrugs a bit and continues, waving his hand over his face, "Takes a lot of concentration to even look like this..."

"Huh," Ciel says, twisting her beer bottle against the bar by its neck. She tilts her head, considering Donny. "Bit like Thompson. Except she doesn't-- uh. Transform. Or dissipate."

"Damn." Kade's tone is not without sympathy. "It was hard enough for me to not just, like, light up everything when I first came into my powers. And I just made the stuff around me hotter. Didn't flat-out turn into fire."

Donny nods a bit slowly, taking a glass of water. He swallows it and looks to the two of them, saying, "Thus, the trip to India. Had to get all of the distractions out of here, y'know?" He taps the side of his head. "And I've never really dissipated entirely, but I assume that whatever happens afterward is bad."

"Yeah, not something I'd want to take for a test drive," Ciel allows. She drags her beer up to her lips, swallowing as her eyes flick to Kade, and the corners of her mouth quirk upward in a sly smile. "You sure do," she murmurs in his direction, in answer to the general 'hotter'. Shut up. She's not above puns.

Kade's smile crooks at Ciel. For better or worse, he appreciates a good fire pun. Or bad fire pun. He chuckles. "My control's gotten better over the years. The folks at Xavier's brought got me up to speed pretty well, so I at least wasn't going to hurt anybody. Did it help? The meditation and inner light stuff, I mean?"

Donny chuckles softly and nods a bit to Ciel, taking another sip of his water, setting the glass down. His brows raise and he looks to Kase, nodding, "Yeah, it helped a lot. Haven't had a transformation in...well, about four years, now. Can't say I really miss it, either." He offers a playful shrug and continues, saying, "You'd be surprised how much getting control of this." He taps his head again, "Can help you get in control of all that power stuff."

"Makes sense," Ciel says, learning forward into the bar with her hands loose around her beer bottle. "I mean, not everyone functions like that at the base level, but anything advanced requires a sharp mind. Creativity." She glances at Kade with a tip of her chin. "Quick thinking, tactics."

"Keeping my power /in/ always made it harder for me," Kade says, after more sipping on his beer. "It wasn't until I could find little ways to let it out that I actually got a handle on it. I remember, one of the first things they did with me at Xavier's was find me a place where I could burn stuff without taking down the rest of the school. I don't know how you'd really practice...being plasma safely, though." A short nod to Ciel. "Pretty much anything that builds up your focus always really helped me."

"Self-control," Donny adds to the end of Ciel's list. A look to Kade and he says, "I manifested a little late. Went to Xavier's for a year, though, in 29. It helped a little, but then I graduated and kinda had to...figure a lot of it out on my own, y'know?"

"You were a Xavier's alum?" Ciel says, and her demeanor warms just a touch for the news. Her gaze cuts across to Kade again, a smile playing at her lips, and she adds (spurred by the beer, surely), "They /do/ have a thing for hot guys." You know. Plasma. Fire. Har har. She nudges at Kade's leg with her foot, then lifts her beer to finish it off before waving for another. "Almost sad I missed it."

Kade makes an "Ah" sound when Donny mentions his year at Xavier's. "I came into my pyro-mania at fifteen, so I did like three years there. Sounds like we just missed each other. I graduated in Twenty-Five." Ciel's comment gets a warm laugh. "They do they do. It was a good place to come up, back in the day." There's a note of wistful sadness in his tone as he says that. It requires more beer, and he also orders a second.

Donny finishes off his glass of water and sets it back on the bar, sliding it away from himself. A look to the two of them and he says, "Well, thanks for making the new guy feel welcome, but I should probably get started on that whole 'finding a place to live' thing." He offers them a warm smile and holds out a hand for both of them to shake, should they choose to do so, "I'm Donny, by the way. Donny Donahue."

"Ciel Kane," Ciel offers up again. "Good luck with the apartment."

Kade takes Donny's hand when it's offered, shaking it firm. "Kade Caruthers. Pleasure and all that. Come by X-Factor if you're interested in picking up some spot work." He gives directions to its office, which isn't far from the Pony. "A little money is better than no money."

"Nice to meet you guys," Donny says, warmly. He smiles at the two of them and moves to pick up his bags, draping them over himself, "You know any nice bridges a guy could crash under?" He grins widely and sets down some money on the bar, offering a wave to them as he turns to head towards the door.

"Keeps you in beer, if nothing else," Ciel agrees, grinning as their second round appears at her elbow. Her grin sobers a little at Donny's question, and she says, "Be careful. Mutant Town's not always safe after dark."

"A bridge?" Kade is concerned. "There are some cheap hotels on the Lower East Side, by Chinatown. Weekly rates and stuff. The bed bugs aren't too bad."

Ciel lifts her beer to her mouth as Donny heads out, watching his exit with a worried furrow of her brow. "Shit," she breathes. "Sometimes I hate this city."

"I think he was kidding about the bridge thing," Kade says. Though without as much conviction as he'd like to. "Hopefully the guy'll look Wallace up. Seems like he could use a fresh start kind of place, and it provides that, if nothing else." He half-turns on his stool, so he can look at Ciel proper. "Anything in particular you're hating about it just now?"

"Just--" Ciel waggles her beer bottle at the exit in indication of Donny. "He's probably /not/ kidding about the bridge. You know Rohan slept on park benches for like weeks?" Talking about the ex with the current is not always an excellent plan, but Ciel's a beer in, and apparently worked up. "And fuck, Kade. /You're/ working as a bartender. You! As smart and skilled and-- but no, you can light shit on fire, so why would you be employable? You know?" She takes a quick swallow, then adds, "Pretty much the only way to not starve in this city is to work yourself to the bone or work for yourself, if you can manage it."

"Hey." Kade's hand moves up, from the small of her back to her shoulder, squeezing it gently. The bit about Rohan earns a frown, but it's taken with the rest of it. Which is also worth frowning over. "I'm getting along OK." It's said a touch defensively. "Bartending's not that bad, and the mall thing...it's just until I can find a better day job. I'm applying to stuff." He tries to sound optimistic. He's good at faking such things, when he wants to. "At least there are a decent number of other mutants here. Other places, you're kind of on your own, and they still don't want to make things easy on you."

Ciel twists on her stool, turning into him with a hand dropped to his waist, tugging him toward her. "Shit," she says, and, "no, I know, I mean. It's not--" She stumbles a bit as she tries to figure out how to express this /without/ insulting her boyfriend. "It just sucks when I know how fucking good you are," she finally finishes.

Kade is pricklier about this topic than he'd likely ever admit, try as he might to seem like he's not. His tone doesn't get marketedly less defensive as he answers, "I am getting by just fine. So, you need to worry about that, save it for somebody else. There's a whole city out there a hell of a lot worse off than me."

Rohan has left you a compliment! Type +comps to see it.

Ciel is not nearly drunk enough to miss that prickly tone, and though for a moment it looks like she might try to recover the topic, she instead takes another long swallow and then stands, tugging him closer with hands framing his hips. "That's what pisses me off," she finally says, edging the topic sideways instead. "The whole city."

Kade doesn't look at Ciel right away, though he does respond to her touch. Drawing himself up to stand against her. His blue eyes focus past her, as he tries to school his features back into general mellow cool. Mostly he just ends up people-watching the bar around them. "Yeah." Finally, all he can really do is add that undertone of agreement. "Yeah. Gets to me sometimes, too." Far, far more than he'd like to admit.

Ciel's head tips back, and she watches Kade watch everyone but her with a flicker of brief, panicked worry before she swallows it back. After a beat, she steps into him more intentionally, closing the last gap between them. She stretches up enough to set her lips at his ear, where she doesn't have to notice what he is or isn't looking at. "Dance with me," she requests.

"Damn right I will," Kade says. His hand, still on her back, nudges her toward the Pony's little dance floor. The music is throbbing and heavy and the sort that encourages working up a sweat and losing yourself in the bass. Which he's very much into right now.

Ciel spends several long, fast songs losing herself to the music and Kade's touch and the alcohol buzzing warmly through her veins. When the music slows slightly, she slides closer, winding her arms around his neck. Her hair is loose and wild around her shoulders, her skin warm with exertion and a sheen of sweat.

Kade is a pretty good dancer when he's into it. In a technical sense he knows the steps and has decent rhythm, and he's /very/ into moving against Ciel into time to the pulsating music. When the beat slows he eases his arms back around her. His heartbeat is quicker after the exertion of the faster songs. Once they're dancing slower his eyes finally tick over to meet hers. Almost like he's trying to see how his reflection looks in her eyes.

When she meets his gaze, Ciel smiles, slow and happy as her fingers curl into a slow stroke along the line of his spine at his neck. "Hey," she says, her voice barely audible over the music. "You remember the last time we were on this dance floor?"

Kade's expression is almost unsure of himself. For a split second, as he looks down at Ciel. But her smile seems to relax tension out of his shoulders he wasn't even aware he was holding, and his own lips curve into a grin. "Yeah, I do." He eases into her little turn with her, in time with the music. "Christmas. At the X-Factor party."

Tonight, Ciel has no issues with following rather than trying to lead. She moves into the turn, then draws closer again, pressing against Kade with a blatant possessiveness at sharp odds with the general distance of that previous dance. "At the Christmas party," she agrees. "I wanted you to kiss me so bad."

"Yeah. That's kind of the first time I ever really thought about it," Kade says. Kissing her. His dancing slows some as she presses against him. It seems to suit him just fine. With a teasing little smile he asks, "You want to kiss me now?"

"It was the five millionth time I'd thought about it," Ciel tells Kade, her smile flashing fast and bright and full of anticipation before she answers his question with a stretch upward to catch his mouth with hers, her fingers hot and insistent at the nape of his neck.

Kade is never a particularly tentative kisser, but there's extra forceful earnestness in the way he pulls Ciel into him. Almost like he has something to prove. Perhaps more to himself than her. When they break, just a little, for breath, he says against her ear, "You want to get out of here?"

"Mmm," Ciel answers, grinning into the curve of his neck before she straightens, pulling back just a touch to say, "Come on, Ember. Dance with me. We've got all night." There's a glint in her eyes almost like challenge.

The glint in her eyes makes Kade's brows go up. Challenge, eh? Well, he can't resist those. He tightens his arms around her waist to try and give her a spin that actually lifts her off the ground. Not too far. He is not possessed of super-strength. But you want to dance? OH HE WILL DANCE.

Ciel answers with a laugh, tilting her head back through the spin before she leans into him for another kiss, hard and thorough before she breaks away, grinning. She lasts through several songs and a quick visit to the bar for a glass of water, but when it's all said and done, the truth is that Ciel absolutely wants to get out of here. Eventually she drags Kade out the front door and cheats them all the way home.

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