|What Was Lost In The Fire|
|Location||Mutiny - Mutant Town, NYC|
|Summary||Over two months after they were dismissed from the NYPD, Irene and Kaylee finally have it out.|
| 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's early yet in the evening, which means that most of the bar patrons are those trying to take advantage of the last of the happy hour pricing--and of course the regulars, who have already been here for awhile. Irene is definitely not a regular, at the bar--at least not a regular drinker. She has spent most of her time in the building on the job, either looking for a specific person or looking for information on something. Maybe that's why there's a lot of open seating near her at the bar. She leans against the slightly sticky surface of the bar, nursing a beer she's halfway through, dressed casually in slightly dirty looking jeans and a black t-shirt. A few stray hairs have escaped her pony tail by this point in the day.
Kaylee isn't exactly a regular either. When she does have a need to drink, she's more likely to be found at the Pony than Mutiny -- or in a nerd bar, when one can be located. (It's not like the Pony is going to run a Doctor Who trivia night, after all.) Whatever brings her in here today, she moves to the bar and places her elbows down, offering the bartender a bright smile that suggests she's willing to trade tips for information. But before she can say a damn thing, she realizes who it is she's settled in next to. "Oh. Hey, Atwell."
Having arrested the owner of the Sloppy Pony at least once, and not arrested her in exchange of information other times, Irene has a complicated relationship with the bar to say the least, so she's even less likely to be drinking there than here. Her glance is slow, staring at Kaylee in the dim lights for a moment before she says simply, "Thompson." It's not exactly bright and /welcoming/, but she doesn't leave her seat or glass Kaylee with her beer bottle or anything.
"I didn't realize this was your local bar," Kaylee notes, thus proving decisively that it's not hers. Just in case there was any doubt. As if realizing this topic isn't likely to go too much further, and shying away from 'sorry I sort of indirectly got you fired from our last job' discussion, she adds, "Glad the job the other night proved to be a relatively quiet one."
"I'm not really local," Irene replies, picking up her beer and taking a lazy sort of sip from the bottle. This isn't her local bar either, although it's maybe the closest thing she's got in the area. "Mhm," she murmurs and doesn't seem like she's going to add anything to that for a long moment before she sighs and says, "Probably safe enough, now." It's not as much of a story to destroy art when there isn't a crowd to see.
"Yeah." Kaylee considers this for a moment. "And honestly, even if someone does decide to do something minus the crowd, it's not our problem any longer. We were just paid to protect it for the one night." Her tone is a mixture of pragmatism and resignation.
"Nope," Irene agrees, drinking some more. It's not their problem. She is more pragmatic than resigned, not seeming particularly bothered by the idea of the art being attacked some other time. It's really not her business. Even if she was still on the force it wouldn't be her problem.
Kaylee lets the conversation lapse for a spell, gesturing to the bartender. She makes an order, and receives her boring old beer. (No frou-frou cocktails with nerdy names on the menu here.) She toys with the neck of the bottle for a moment, then finally continues, "How are you finding Boomer's crew?"
It's probably not a surprise, but Irene doesn't attempt to fill the silence when conversation lapses for a moment. She seems content with a boring old beer, at least. "Your friends are an eclectic bunch," she replies...diplomatically?
"Hey, I only knew /some/ of them before all this," Kaylee notes, as if this might somehow make those who she did know any less eclectic. "I'm still getting to know the rest myself."
"Pretty sure that doesn't negate what I just said," Irene points out, a touch dryly. "Haven't met...probably a lot of them. Seems like a lot of faces I've seen, so far."
"Yeah, there are quite a few," Kaylee admits, taking a sip of her beer. "Only a few from Xavier's, really, it seems like. A fair number from some mercenary outfit in India, and then... I don't really know where we're picking up all the others from."
"The police, it seems like." That is...a dry and slightly bitter sort of joke from Irene. She doesn't even have the excuse of being drunk. "Job's the only reason I recognize any of them, so far." And that's probably not going to change. She doesn't have ties to any mutant organizations, after all. Well, with known mutants in them...before now.
"Mm." Kaylee pauses, staring down at the bar surface for a long moment. "It was always a little tricky, back at the NYPD. Trying to make sure anyone who'd recognize Natalija Markovic from back at Xavier's didn't run into Kaylee Thompson."
Irene stares at Kaylee a long moment after that, her eyes especially dark in the dim light of the bar. "Figures," she finally sayson a heavy sigh, not sounding surprised, but maybe a little disappointed. "Anything about you actually true?"
"Hey, now. I don't think I'm exactly the only person in Mutant Affairs who was concealing their genetics, Atwell." Kaylee's tone turns slightly sour, a touch defensive. "Sure, I changed my name so I didn't show up as a Xavier's graduate. I mean, having the Professor's signature on your diploma sort of implies a few things."
"Yeah, that's gone real well lately," Irene says, tone mildly bitter with an edge of warning to the words. You really want to talk about that? Her grip on her beer bottle is a little hard for a moment before she forces herself to relax it. "My name's my name." Aside from one slight legal change. "Pretty reckless coming back here, where people know you."
"Yeah, well. I decided I was tired of running." Kaylee looks down at the beer for a long moment. "When my parents died at Staten Island, I just went 'fuck it'. I left. I turned my back on everything. But that wasn't what the Professor taught anyone at the school to do, was it?" She closes her eyes. "We were supposed to make the world better for everyone like us, try to make the hate and fear a little less. When he passed away, I realized I had to stop running. Even if all I could do was try to keep Mutant Affairs from being overrun by shitheads like my ex-partner, I could at least do /that/."
Irene does not look the least bit sympathetic to Kaylee's need to stop running, her expression flat. There is a slight twitch, though, like a wince at the mention of Staten Island. "I'm sorry," she says, low and quiet. There's real empathy there, even if it's a short-lived thing. She shrugs at the mention of Xavier and his teachings. Not like she'd know much about it. "Yeah, well, you fucked that up." This is a little unfair of an accusation, but O'Donnelly is still with the force and they are not.
"Atwell, if you want to say something, just fucking /say/ it." Kaylee actually swears properly, for once. "But there's not a damn thing I could do about it with the amplifier there, and you know it as well as I do. I'm sorry you got caught up in it too, but it's not like I chose to go nova."
"Pretty sure I just did." Annoyingly, Irene sips at her beer like she's the picture of calm. Judgemental calm, but... "You could've stayed in Seattle," she suggests. "Or maybe, you could've just not thrown plasma around in the fucking streets." She swears a lot, this is not more than normal. She snorts, dismissive of the apology. "Really sincere sounding, there."
"No, you know what?" Kaylee downs the rest of her beer, and turns to glare at Irene. "I get the sense you don't even really think of yourself as one of 'us', Atwell. And maybe you get the luxury of that. Your mutation's a passive one; you never need to worry about losing control if an amplifier turns you into a fucking supernova. You probably never had the awkward moments, growing up, when your telekinesis kicked in and you found yourself throwing things around the room unintentionally. But some of us /do/ give a shit about what happens to the other mutants." She gestures around the room, and -- by extension -- the rest of Mutant Town. "I am absolutely sorry that you got kicked off the force along with me when that Russian jackass blackmailed us. I regret my part in that, unintentional as it was. But I'm absolutely not going to fucking apologize for coming back here to New York to try to make a difference."
Irene lifts her brows at Kaylee, which is all the response she gets for a bit. She drinks her beer while the other ex-cop snaps about her tough time growing up mutant. "No," she says, looking away for a moment, "I just get to watch everyone around me die." That's probably as much fun as throwing things around your room accidentally, right? "Fuck off, Thompson. You don't get to pull that 'You don't care about mutants' bullshit on me. I was in that department for a decade before you came along and set it on fire and it wasn't to kick mutant teeth in," she retorts, staring hard at the other ex-cop. "You," she corrects, "They used /you/ to set the department on fire. And my name to get you there." She takes a drink of her beer and finds it quickly empty. Damnit. "And you're welcome, by the way." For what?
"Well, then, stop fucking trying to hold it over my head like you /blame/ me for being a mutant in Mutant Affairs," Kaylee retorts, though with more weariness than actual anger, as she glares back. "They used /your/ name, Atwell. It was because I trusted a message from /you/ while I was on medical leave that I was there in the first place. But I know that wasn't your doing, your intention, so I haven't blamed you for it. I am genuinely sorry that when I got amped up, you got fired. But you seem to think it was /intended/." The 'you're welcome' earns a puzzled look, but instead she pushes her empty beer away.
"I blame you for being /reckless/, about it," Irene snaps, hand curling into a fist on the bar. "You talk a lot about 'helping people', but how many have you hurt instead?" She shakes her head, taking a deep breath and breathing it out in low frustration. "I was at the street and then the hospital when you got shot. They were watching." And listening. "But don't worry, I'll be sure to not visit you the next time." Not that Kaylee would likely be happy to see her if she did. So maybe it's for the best. Irene stares at her for a long moment, jaw set, eyes dark in a mixture of anger and hauntedness. "If you'd hit anyone else like you hit me, someone would be dead."
"You think I don't /know/ that?" Kaylee's tone turns quieter. "Atwell, I hadn't lost control over my power -- telekinesis or plasma -- since I was a kid. But when that amplifier hit me, it was like I was the center of a sun. It took every ounce of my willpower to keep from /exploding/." She scowls, her voice rising. "But reckless? That's the thing that's pissing me off. You keep saying that I was being /reckless/ by 'letting' the amplifier amp me up. But the only thing I did was /exist/. Be a mutant. Be /present/. So all I could've done differently was be somewhere else. Or be /dead/." She gets to her feet, clearly deciding she needs to head somewhere else. Wearily, she adds, "So I'm sorry I didn't do either of those things, Atwell." Oddly enough, this time it sounds genuine. And then she heads towards the door."I think you could use the reminder of how lucky you actually are, despite all the shit," Irene says mildly, considering the conversation around death. Kaylee certainly wouldn't be sitting in a bar drinking a beer if anyone had died, though. "No," she begins, letting that word sit along for a moment in emphasis, "I'm saying you're reckless for throwing plasma around in the /streets/ as a /cop/ and then acting like there weren't going to be consequences to that. If it hadn't been the amplifier, it would've been something else. So either you knew you'd get caught one way or another and didn't care, or you just didn't think about it, and I'm not sure which is worse." She leans back on her stool as Kaylee gets up, but the other woman appears to just be leaving. And Irene isn't going to stop her.