|Location||Lounge - X-Factor Solutions|
|Summary||Huruma meets the Emberling.|
| The lounge is the one place in X-Factor that shows some signs of personality, and as such, it's far more comfortable than either the sterile neatness of the front entrance or the sleek tech of the conference room.
One wall has been painted kelly green, a color which sets off the less-exciting black of the refrigerator, cabinets, and microwave that make up the tiny kitchenette area. Another wall has already earned some graffiti. It's become common for new employees to leave a signature of sorts, scrawled somewhere on the wall in varied-colored marker. They range from literal signatures to symbols and pictures depicting mutations or call signs or some other mysterious image. They appear to be getting more elaborate as time goes on.One wall has been kept clear for a holoprojector that can be configured for use with any number of technologies, though its most common use is as a television. A pair of couches long-since worn down into narcoleptic comfort flank it, and a single wingchair sits opposite the coffee table set between. Behind the comfortable cluster, a small round table can seat four, and next to it a staircase leads up into the offices.
| It is a winter evening. The weather is cold and snowing.|
It's getting later on this Friday evening, but isn't yet so long into the night that the dinner hour is over. X-Factor is pretty quiet. While it's not uncommon for those who work out of here to hang about at all odd hours, most have found other things to occupy them tonight. Kade is knocking around upstairs in the offices, making some calls and doing some digital note-filing (ie: futuristic paperwork) on a job he's tying up. He's also, apparently, in charge of caring for his spawn tonight, and has let her have the run of the place. She's settled in the lounge and is watching a period costume drama (set in the long-ago 1980s) on one of the UK channels the holo-projector now gets. While doing that, she also has her Eyes on, and occasionally taps at the air on an invisible keyboard, sending texts into the ether. There's a soda and half-eaten pulled pork sandwich on the table that looks like it came from the Meat Shack, along with a basket of onion rings.
The sound of 80s synth, the feel of a stranger, the tart smell of cooked pork-- its adds up to a slight picture as Huruma slips in the front door, layered in snowflakes before she sheds her coat onto the rack in the reception area. Her shimmery black strapless dress cuts high on her legs, delicately belted in the middle; her shoes add at least three inches, simple and black and carrying her with a steady sound into the Lounge. Her lips are deep red, eyes gleaming crimson at the lids and moon-white at the iris as she looks into the scene presented by Nina. Her silence may buy her a few seconds of stalking time, given the distracted nature of a teenager at rest.
"You are new." Huruma's voice comes when there is a volume lull in the movie, smoky and low.
Nina Caruthers is somewhere around 16. A tall, skinny girl, all long arms and legs in the way of one still growing into themselves, with dark eyes and voluminous dark curls. She favors her mother more than her father, so she might not immediately ping as Kade's offspring. Though, at the sound of Huruma's voice, she half-turns to side-eye the woman in a way that makes her look far more like him. Emotionally she reads...well, like a teenage girl, so there's a lot going on. Most of it open and without much under-the-surface attempts to mask her own feelings from herself. She hasn't fully developed the inner shell most people do as they get older, though she probably doesn't have many years left of that left. At Huruma, she blinks. Dark eyes looking the woman up and down. Mostly up. Huruma is very tall. "New?" The statement puzzles her. "Uh. My Dad works here. Kind of. He said I could use the holo." As if wary Huruma will turn off her 80s period piece.
Huruma's head cants just a touch as Nina turns her head, her senses clutching light over the girl's emotional state like an exploring vine. She recognizes the rawness there, and files it away in her mental notes.
"Your father does?" Huruma turns this over in her head, matching skin and age to familiar faces and other gathered notes. After a short pause, the dark woman speaks again. "Caruthers." It sounds more like a decision than a question, in fact. "So I see." Her lips curl at the edges, voice edging amused.
"Uh. Yeah." Nina seems both wary and intrigued that Huruma is able to identify her father so quickly. For all that it probably isn't hard, given the relatively small number of XFS folks who have kids, particularly in her age-range. A particularly soapy scene in a post-disco London club briefly attracts Nina's attention to the screen again. Attractive twenty-something protagonists having an argument about Thatcher-era politics and the place of landed gentry in a changing society. And also how much they want to bang each other, in a restrained British TV way. Nina's briefly caught up in it, before she remembers she's not alone, and tries to reclaim some cool. "Umm, I don't really like this show, but some people at school watch it and talk about it. So. Are you a telepath?" Rapid-fire change of subject, but her curiosity has flitted in that direction. "I mean, is that how you knew my dad was...my dad?"
The typical teenage awkwardness in her presence is something to be studied. It can be rather difficult to predict. Hormones, and all. Huruma's eyes follow Nina's to the screen, and for a few seconds she is tugged into the colors and faces there. It doesn't last terribly long-- it's clearly for someone else's tastes.
"I am not." Huruma prepares for the tickle of disappointment with a smoother smile, tightlipped and eyelids heavy. "I used the power of deduction. Not quite as fascinating as telepathy, hm?"
Nina definitely has some awkwardness, but she's also very curious. And perhaps not as wary as she should be of this unfamiliar woman. But her dad's upstairs, and she's processed this place as 'his office' as much as anyone else's. So she feels comfortable enough to watch soapy foreign TV and gawk at Kade's co-workers. Huruma's answer does disappoint her a little, but it also creates a mini-mystery for her to investigate further. "So, like, what's your thing? Mutant thing, I mean. Everybody here's a mutant, right?" Which enthuses her. She adds, as if being nosy is less impolite if she also shares, "I'm a pyro. Like, I make fire. Like my dad. My mom can turn invisible, but I didn't get that."
Huruma shifts out of the doorway and into the room, her steps slow. She does not remark on having heard about the Caruthers progeny before, instead allowing Nina her shining moment of sharing her own ability. "Mm. Quid pro quo, is it?" Throat giving a small, considering hum, Huruma rests one hand at her hip, fingers splayed back over the dramatic black curve. Her other hand crosses at her middle, palm held loose against her stomach. "Empathy." Something just as intimate-- Nina was close, at least.
"Oh!" Nina's eyes widen with something like recognition. "You're /her/." It's a positive /her/ rather than a negative one. "I heard about you." It takes her a second to realize she probably needs to elaborate on that. "Cami told me about you. And the Asian woman with anime hair. But, I mean, you're obviously the other one."
The brightness that comes with the echo of /her/ has Huruma tilting her head in silent question. There is a light dawn of ease when Nina mentions that it was Cami who told her something. "Obviously." Huruma's mouth parts in a puffed laugh. "The other would be Vega." The elaboration is followed by a pause, where Huruma's voice evens out. "How is she? Cami?"
Nina shrugs. Like she doesn't, quite, know how to answer that. "I mean, alive and not kidnapped by hobos or whatever my dad thought would happen to her." She rolls her eyes. Lame Kade. With his fears about what might befall runaway teenage girls. The dismissiveness is mostly a front, though. "She's OK, I think. She's a year ahead of me and we aren't, like, super-close friends, but she talked to me after she came back to school. She didn't stay too long. She just got her stuff and then her grandma came and picked her up. She's moving to...Cleveland, I think." Another shrug. Ohio gets lots of shrugs. "She's posted some pictures on InstaFace. Her grandma's house looks nice, and she was kind of over Xavier's." Nina sounds sorry for that, though she tries not to show it much.
Despite Huruma's air of untouchable loftiness, her exhale moves out in a long sigh of relief through her nose. Huruma has nothing to say about InstaFace or Ohio, but-- "I am glad that she was able to find what she needed." Anything she had said about this family is a bit irrelevant. The fact is, her grandmother came after all. Love triumphs, maybe? Huruma edges forward to fold down into the wingback chair across from Nina, one leg over the other as she lounges back. "My name is Huruma, if she had not mentioned this."
"She did. But, hi. I'm Nina. Which I think you said before." But it felt like a proper introduction was in order. "Yeah, I mean, she'd been really stressed out before, but she seemed happy. She was talking about getting her G-E-D when she got to Ohio, instead of just going to a high school there. Maybe starting community college in summmer." Nina isn't envious, precisely, but there's a wistful kind of sadness bubbling under her as she talks of her classmate's plans.
Huruma coils into her seat, leaning her chin on one hand when she perches her arm up. "Good for her." It's more than she'd even hoped, too. The girl is moving on. "What year of school are you in?"
"Sophomore," Nina replies, as to herself. "So, two more left. Like, two and a half, counting this year." Sigh. Two years of FOREVER. "I get why she left, but it still kind of sucks. I mean, we weren't close or anything, but Cami was from the old days. Back when the Professor was alive." Sharp longing, for a time gone away. She might seem too young to feel that way for something, but she does.
"Every time that he is mentioned here, I feel a rush of sorrow and yearning, a deep, embedded shard." Huruma's eyes sit on Nina's features, her pale eyes searching out the deep brown pair when she brings up the yearning she finds there. "One that will never remove itself, for better or worse." There is a note of hesitation, yet Huruma keeps herself unnervingly still. "So you must let the flesh grow back, over it. You have too many years ahead of you to do anything but."
Nina looks away from Huruma as the older woman talks. Focusing back on the holo-screen, and the 80s melodrama taking place on it. It's pretty and light despite being overwrought, and easier to deal with than the real things stirred up by all that. "It's not like I really knew him. But he was just...he'd been around forever. Like, even when my dad was in school there." Because her father's teenager-dom was /A THOUSAND YEARS/ ago. "And the place was cool, when he was around." It is decidedly less cool now, but she doesn't talk about that. "I mean, he was /so/ old, but it still seemed like he'd be around forever."
"He was the Professor. There is much to be said about his legacy-- his touch even lights the paths of those who didn't even know him, it seems." Huruma's words are light, certainly less deep. "I know the feeling, of someone immortal dying. It is difficult to wrap the mind around, hm?" She smiles, slow and small.
"Yeah, but he's gone now," is Nina's retort about the light Professor Xavier casts. "And Mister Summers is lame and a bunch of the other old, cool teachers are gone. So." Shrug. There's a trace of bitterness she probably should be too young for. But such is life. Her expression softens as she looks back at Huruma, head tilting, curls falling to one side. "Who? I mean...who died for you." Maybe the question isn't high on tact, but there's a tentative search for commonality in the way she asks it. *re*
"If I had to say so, Cami had the right idea." Huruma murmurs back, gaze moving from Nina to the ceiling, a flicker of attention through floors and walls. "I prefer not to say. But I do understand."
Nina doesn't respond to that for a beat, spinning a curl around her finger. She does not feel like Huruma is wrong. But she /really/ does not want to admit that. "My dad wants me to go to school in Brooklyn next year. Or maybe Mutant Town, where my mom lives." Though Kade would probably prefer the non-ghetto school. "I just...all my friends are at Xavier's. The ones who are left, anyway. And most of the ones who're still there...they /can't/ leave."
"I think that perhaps he has the right idea as well. If your friends are your friends, they will remain just that. The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb." Huruma need not press for the admission; she knows she is right. "It functions as a state home as well, yes?"
Nina makes a face at Huruma. It includes an eyeroll. You have lost cool points for implying her father is right about things she doesn't want to do. To the last, she nods shortly. "My dad says it's, like, a discrimination law thing. Since it's a state school, they can't let /just/ mutants in or it's racist or whatever. Because obviously it's so awesome now everybody wants to go." More eyerolling. "The mundy kids are /all/ foster kids. The way it used to be, you'd get people from all over. And we were all mutants." That commonality is wrapped up in the many things she misses about what the place was.
"Do not roll your eyes at me." Huruma lays down a rule, voice level; it's different from a stranger than a parent. Especially a stranger like Huruma. Even worse is that she goes on as if nothing had happened. "I see. Now it is like any other academy. No leaders, no reason, just state-sanctioned private learning. How... disappointing."
Nina blinks. Sitting up straighter and ceasing to sass Huruma. Who is more intimidating to her than either of her parents. She mutters something inaudible. It's probably not a remorseful comment, so maybe the inaudibility is for the best. The last gets a little not, though. "Yeah. It kind of sucks." More than 'kind of,' given how she feels about it, but there's a resignation there, too. It sucks in a way she feels she has no power to change.
Say that a little louder, she'll yank that tongue right out. Huruma's expression doesn't shift much, but it does err towards a neutral openness. "I am sure that you will figure things out for yourself." Namely, revisiting the fact she just said how much it sucks there.
"Brooklyn's not terrible," Nina allows. Grudgingly. "I think I'd rather go to the high school in this district, though. At least it probably has more mutant kids than other stupid mundy schools." It's a roundabout admission that she is heavily considering how much Xavier's sucks. She seems about to say more, but there's the sound of footsteps on the stairs, and Kade's exuberant, "Yo, Kiddo! You still alive down there?" announcing that he's approaching.
Huruma doesn't add anything more to what Nina says out loud of her own accord. There's nothing more to say. Maybe this will convince her of something either way. At Kade's voice, Huruma flashes a sharp little smile, a laugh in her throat as she waits for him to descend.
Nina almost rolls her eyes again at her dad's shouting. Almost. Huruma's non-eyeroll rule is still in effect, it seems. "Yeah, in here!" she yells back. Hastily, finishing the last of her pulled pork sandwich.
Kade strides into the lounge, a flicker of surprise crossing his face when he sees Huruma talking to his daughter. He is not alarmed, but he's very curious about this. "Sorry that took so long. I hope you weren't giving Ms. Huruma here any trouble." He grins slight at Hu, brows a little arched. /Did/ she trouble you?
Huruma turns her head to regard Kade when he reaches the lounge, lips red around her smile. "No trouble." She looks over to Nina, pointedly not telling Kade about the eyerolling rule that seems to still be valid. Good girl. "You left her all alone down here, and I could not help myself."
Nina side-eyes Huruma, wary of what she'll say. When none of it seems immediately incriminating, she relaxes and hops up from the couch. She disposes of the wrapper her loose meat sandwich was in, but picks up her soda and box of onion rings. "We were just talking. She's the one who found Cami."
Kade's grin softens some at that. "Yeah, I heard that resolved OK. Your friend was really lucky she didn't run into any serious trouble out there by herself." This is clearly a conversation they've had before, so he doesn't launch into a full-blown Thing about it. "Anyway. We've got to catch the train, so we better get moving. Have a good night, Huruma."
"Just a couple of mutants in a truck." No trouble. Huruma lifts her hand in a faint gesture of goodbye. "Have a good night, both of you." The gesture turns into a small gesture at her temple-- eyes-- tipped politely at Nina as they move to go. No rolling, she'll remember.Nina gives Huruma a little finger-waggled wave on her way out. She'll likely remember in front of Huruma, at least. Who knows about the rest of the world.