2046-02-25 Paperwork

From X-Factor

Date Posted 2016/02/25
Location Oddball Coffee - Mutant Town, NYC
Participants Ciel, Irene
Summary Irene and Ciel chat about paperwork and mutations.
Oddball Coffee sits on the edge of Mutant Town, near the northern 14th Street border, which may be why it's managed to keep its windows intact and its varied clientele happy. An eclectic, open-minded place, Oddball regularly showcases mutant artists and performers on its walls and on the tiny stage near the back. Framed photographs covering every spare inch of one brick wall show off wild feats that are only possible with mutation, and a few of their baristas make a show of using mutant powers in the making of their drinks.

It's made Oddball one of the few businesses which manages to appeal to both tourists and locals. The shop is nearly always busy, and it's not unusual for a stranger to request the empty chair at a full table.

It is a winter night. The weather is cold and overcast.

Once you've found /your/ coffee shop, it's almost impossible not to drop by it, even if doing so may take you a bit out of your way to do so--especially if it isn't one of those 'on every corner chains'. Though she frequents it less than she used to, which was to the tune of at least once a day once upon a time, Irene still drops by Oddball whenever she is in the area. Or near enough to the area. Or possibly even just lower Manhattan. She orders something decadent with caramel in it off the menu, pays, drops a tip in the jar and then slides down the counter to wait for it, half paying attention to the baristas and half eyeing the room at large.

Ciel is not nearly the fixture some locals are, but she knows good coffee when she sees it, and Oddball's is good coffee. She's hitched herself up to a table with a half-empty peppermint mocha and is currently leaning over a tablet, tapping absently at the table next to her with a stylus while she squints down at it.

It takes a couple minutes of waiting and looking around the shop, but when Irene collects her coffee she doesn't wait for it to cool off at all before taking a sip. Mmm, caramel. Despite the fact that her coffee is in a paper To Go cup, she strolls quietly towards a table inside as opposed to out the door. "You look like you could use a break," she tells Ciel suddenly, offering unasked for advice. Should've probably started with 'hi'.

What's the point of 'hi', really, anyway? Ciel doesn't seem to miss its absence as she jerks her gaze upward, squinting at Irene for a moment. When recognition sets in, it comes with a faint smile and a wave of her hand, all sort-of invitational. "I'm not working nearly as hard as I look like I am," she assures her. "It's just /boring/."

Irene sips her steaming drink as Ciel squints at her, like she's waiting for that moment of recognition. She nods, but before maybe taking a seat, she leans a little to eye the PI's tablet. It's...kind of rude. She doesn't seem think about that, though. Or maybe care. "Too bad. A break isn't really going to help with that. It will still be boring when you get back to it."

"Trust me," Ciel says, very dry as she taps her stylis rapidly against the table, one and and then the other. "I know. Why do you think I ended up in a coffee shop? I couldn't handle the work /and/ the apartment."

"Generally people end up here for coffee, but..." Irene shrugs the shrug of someone who has never really had to escape to a coffee shop to get work done. She looks at Ciel for a moment without much expression, vaguely thoughtful. "Not sure what's wrong with your apartment."

"Sometimes quiet makes it worse, you know?" Ciel says. She waves a hand more firmly at the chair opposite her as Irene hovers, and leans back in her own. "Kind of depends on the work. This is just-- routine and mundane. Paperwork. It's the shit that gets me the money, though, so--" She tips a hand, all, what can you do?

"Sometimes," Irene says, though without much emphasis. Sometimes. Sort of. She blows out a breath, but at least she stops hovering, pulling out the chair with a foot and then sitting down in it with a soft thump. "You just need to find the zen in the paperwork." It's...difficult to tell if she's serious or pulling Ciel's leg. She certainly says it with a straight face.

"Dear lord," Ciel says, and stares at Irene, clearly aghast.

Irene holds that straight face just long enough, then a corner of her mouth cracks in a smile. "No?"

Ciel watches that crack of a smile carefully, and then accuses, "You're joking." She pauses, frowns, and checks, "You're joking. Right?"

"Maybe," Irene answers, deliberately being a little obtuse. "That's more of a Buddhist thing, so I can't help you anyway."

Ciel leans forward again, thumping her elbows onto the table as she reaches for her mocha. "Are you Buddhist?" she asks, her head tilting slightly as she regards Irene with frank curiosity. "Or just, you know. Making really bad jokes about paperwork?"

"No, I'm not," Irene answers directly and without dancing around the subject, for once. "Hm, you're the one having difficulties finishing paperwork. I'm sure someone would think that was real advice."

"Difficulties /wanting/ to finish it," Ciel corrects, her lips curving in a smile that acknowledges some measure of amusement. "Different things." She taps her fingers light against her mug and says, "Anyway. Hi. I saw you signed on with Wallace?"

"Fair," Irene says to the correction and then suggests, more seriously than earlier comment, "I could bribe you with ice cream to motivate you to finish, but I suspect you're a little old for that." Okay, maybe not /that/ much more serious than earlier comment. "Mhm," she confirms before drinking from her cup.

"I don't know," Ciel answers, surprised into a short laugh. "Who doesn't like ice cream?" She sobers a bit for Irene's non-reply, and her brows edge upward just slightly. "Not liking it?" she wonders.

"I haven't met anyone yet." People with milk allergies, probably, but not being able to eat something isn't always the same as not liking it. "I don't think I've been...signed on there long enough to have an opinion." That's about the same answer, just with more words. "There's less paperwork?" Irene considers.

"That's the truth," Ciel says, lifting her mug for a brief sip before she gives Irene a fuller smile. "More things like moving boxes, though. Hard call when it's cold out."

Leaning an elbow on the table, Irene shrugs a shoulder lightly. "Won't be cold forever." That bit of wisdom dispensed, she continues to say, "I don't mind moving boxes, though."

Ciel's eyes narrow curiously on Irene for this. "Is that part of your--" She waves a hand all up and down in indication. "You know. Package? I mean, not moving boxes, clearly, but strength or something?"

Irene pulls a face like a wince, however brief it is and quickly covered up as she doesn't immediately answer in favor of drinking her coffee. Erm. "Something. Like that." Helpful.

"Sorry," Ciel offers easily, but not particularly sincerely. Oops. Her smile flashes quick in answer to Irene. "Too many years in the closet? I kind of forget, sometimes." All the time.

Irene slants a flat look at Ciel, though if it's for the apology that lacks sincerity or the whole situation is hard to say. "I had a job to do, it's not really something I thought a lot about."

"And now?" Ciel wonders, prying without so much as a flickering indication that she realizes any level of uncomfortable she may be making Irene. She does look a touch sympathetic over the lift of her mug, though.

"Hasn't been important." However uncomfortable the turn of conversation may have gotten for Irene, she's buried most of the outwards signs of it, leaning back a little in her chair and sipping idly at her coffee. She doesn't meet Ciel's eye for long, though.

Sympathy strengthens in the curve of Ciel's smile, and it's enough that she doesn't push the subject just now. Instead she says, "When it's warmer, maybe we'll move boxes together or something. I do excellent short-cuts."

"The prestige of being movers." Which sounds like something that's supposed to be wry, but Irene genuinely doesn't seem to mind. "So I said something about portals in the clinic."

"Mmhm," Ciel says, and her smile flashes to a brief grin as she blinks a portal open between them, closing the two or so feet of the table into no distance at all. The portal glimmers around the edges, announcing its presence with sparkles. "Damn useful," she tells Irene, and lets the portal disappear. "Anyway. I hate to say it, but I actually /do/ have to finish this damned paperwork tonight."

Irene doesn't jump, exactly, though she sits up straight suddenly and stares at the portal. Once the initial surprise is through, she squints at it with a calculating eye. "Huh," is more of a noise than a statement. "I bet." The corners of her eyes crinkle in a small, understanding smile before she pushes herself out of her seat. "Just think about the ice cream at the end of it," she reminds, tipping her coffee cup at Ciel in lieu of a farewell wave.

Ciel grins, quick and bright as she tips her head in a nod. "It'll keep me going," she promises. "I'll see you around."

"That you will," Irene also promises, though she's already turned away when she says it, heaving out of the coffee shop.

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