It's Friday afternoon just a couple days before Christmas. So, every shopping plaza in the city is a zoo of some form. Kade is out in it, picking up a few last-minute items. For company, he's brought along Micaela. Nothing is on fire, as they stroll through the sliding doors into the hyper-neon interior of the mall. But the night is young.
"Ugh," Micaela says, observing the crowd by pushing her totally unnecessary sunglasses down her nose to look over them at the bustling crowd. They are typically ostentatious, with gold ornamentation around the frames and even a few iridescent gems. "No sale can be worth this," she notes, sashaying along beside Kade in pants tight enough they might as well just be called leggings and an irresponsible crop top.
"This is not about the sales, Rocketeer, it's about the ambiance. Last-minute mall voyages are part of the season," Kade says. Though, he adds, "Not that I mind the sale, strictly speaking. I got most of my stuff but I wanted to pick up another couple things for Nina. She has had a year." And Micaela knows what The Kids Today like, certainly. Maybe. The sunglasses are side-eyed. "I have got to ask. Just. Why?"
"Maybe your season," Micaela asides, arching her brows at Kade as she looks at him now over the top of her sunglasses, "Not mine." She makes a vague motion with her hand, wiggling at him. She doesn't disagree that Nina has a A Year, though. As to his question, she merely grins over at him. "Completes the ensemble, Ember." She pushes the sunglasses back up, hoop earrings swaying as she walks. The part of them get a few looks, but no one seems interested in getting in the way of that strut. "What've you got already?"
"Got her some glass blowing kit stuff. I figure she might be into that. And a new backpack. For when she starts at the public school in the city next quarter. I couldn't send her back to Xavier's after what happened. If those assholes who opened that portal could do it before, who the hell knows if they'll try again." Kade does not strut along with as much crowd-cutting intensity as Micaela, but his stroll through the mall is comfortable in her path.
"I guess that's one use for fire powers," Micaela says blithely. "I don't know...it's not like they were /that/ dangerous." What's overconfidence? "I mean, they gave up and fucked off. That does not strike me as people that dedicated to whatever." She waves dismissively. "You really think public school is going to be better, though?"
"Won't be worse, the way that place has gone since the professor died." There's always been a note of bitter sadness in Kade's voice when he's spoken of Xavier's in the past year, but he allows it to come to the forefront now. "At least she'll be close. With her mom and me full-time. That feels important now. And she might have an easier time after she graduates if she's not carrying around an Xavier's diploma on her resume." At her confidence, he shrugs. He does not share it.
"I wouldn't really know the difference," Micaela admits, having never attended Xavier's or really had a firm foot in that world. "It always sounded like a bit of a trouble magnet, though, the way people talked about it." People in D.C. Politicians. She slows for a moment to eye a storefront window display. "Hope the way the districts fall the public school serves like...some rich neighborhood too and not just Mutant Town." School districts are not something she's super familiar with for some reason.
"Maybe it was, in some ways. But it was a good place to be a mutant kid for a long spell." There's an admission behind Kade's tone that this 'spell' is over. He raises a pair of crossed fingers at Micaela, though it is unlikely he or his ex-wife lives within the boundaries of anything particularly chic. "She's got good power control and decent grades. And just a little more than a year left. We'll get her through all right." He pauses to browse the store front, perking some highly impractical Eye gadget. "How's Diego doing?"
"Sucks," Micaela says quickly, though there is some real feeling hidden beneath the single word. World sucks for people like them. And she weathers things better than a lot of people can. "Just tell her if she's going to set any fires, make sure it isn't /obvious/ she did it the way you do it. Gotta have that deniability it was just a lighter or something." This is super practical advice. You are welcome. "Eh." Her mouth purses, lip not quite curling. "He's Diego. I think he'd bounce back from just about anything. Even so...He's better around familiar faces."
Kade arches his brows at Micaela. And her sunglasses. But the skeptical look collapses into a chuckle, and a fond smile. "You will prepare her for the world. Tell her yourself next time you see her. If she's going to stay in the city full-time, she'll need someone to work on fire power stuff with her. She tends to listen to people who aren't me better than...me." About Diego, he nods. There's obvious worry in his eyes. He's not terribly good at hiding such things around people he knows. "I'll stop by. We can kick it. Talk old times. Sometimes these things just take awhile to sort themselves out. He's a strong dude."
"Hey, I didn't get expelled from school," Micaela defends, looking altogether too smug about that. It's not an expression that changes much as Kade talks about Nina. "Kay, I'll teach her everything I know," she promises. The wink she throws his way is mostly lost with the sunglasses, but the smirk sure isn't. What have you done? Her smile does fade a bit talking about Diego, which is unusual in and of itself. "Please do. He'd be happy to see you..." She trails off for a moment and it isn't to stare at store offerings. "...if you talk about old times, be sure to remind him they /are/ old times," she murmurs, just audible over the people and the blare of Christmas music.
Kade shakes his head. He might've intuited the wink. It ever seem implied. But he's more grateful than anything else, when she agrees to teach his daughter. "Cool. Thanks." He drifts toward one of the store selling jewelry. Eyeing the earrings and necklaces on display. And the rings. The concern in his eyes deepens at Micaela's addition. "How much did he lose? Of what's //not// old, I mean."
"No problem, bossman." Micaela flicks a lazy and totally improper salute that would make any real military person just sigh. But she gets that reaction a lot, so it's not like she'd notice. She is perfectly happy to ogle jewelry as Kade drifts that way. "I don't think he /lost/ anything. He just gets...confused, sometimes." A beat. "He was for a moment surprised to find out he is married." She turns and fixes Kade with a challenging look. "Pleasantly surprised." Go ahead, make a joke. "If I ever see the fucker that did this I will turn him into a /meteor/."
Kade lets out a low "Heh" and shakes his head. "I am nobody's boss anymore. Never was, really. And if the feds call us up again, I'm not sure what I'd say." There's no humor in his expression when Micaela makes that admission about Diego. Only sympathy, and he tries not to let it show too much. He reaches out to give her a quick clap on the shoulder. Expression hardening. "If you find him, I would be happy to provide some jet fuel to speed the asshole on their way."
"I dunno, you bossed me around plenty." Micaela flashes Kade a quick grin that's still a bit unrepentant about how that went sometimes. "They did call again," she reminds quietly. "Sort of," she muses louder, with a crooked, dissatisfied expression. Oh well. "If I find him, I suspect we're going to have bigger problems again." Universe colliding problems, again. "But thanks."
"Did I? I don't remember succeeding too often." As for the feds calling, Kade snorts. "They paid a visit to Mutant Town, but didn't pay us much mind. Of course, who the hell knows how much one hand knows what the other's doing. Sterling's operations seem pretty damn secret squirrel. The one's here looking for Echo were all about 'mutant on mutant crime' and just looking for the quickest fix they could get." Anger and frustration boils under his tone again. But he tries to dismiss it, clearing his throat. "Either way. It's done now." Out of nowhere he comments, "I'm sorry I missed you all's wedding. What was it like?"
"Don't feel bad, you did better than most," Micaela says, peering at a necklace that /looks/ like it costs a month's rent. "In government? No one knows what the fuck other departments are doing half the time, from what I gather. Some of it it's intentional, other times...it's just big. The higher up you go on the food chain, the more condensed the information gets." She cants her head over at Kade, lips pursed. "I could try crawling up Sterling's cute ass, but I doubt I'd get anything for it." She shrugs a shoulder, not outwardly sharing as much of Kade's anger, though it's there. "Hm? Oh, ha, /complicated/. That's probably not the best way to remember it, but...an overseas celebrity wedding with a mix of traditions? I think we talked about eloping a few times instead of figuring it out."
"Sierra and I eloped. Did a Vegas wedding. I have only spotty memories of that weekend. It was a mess. A fun mess, sometimes. Which is pretty much my first marriage, in a nut shell. My mom was //pissed// when I told her we'd gotten married without my family being there." Even years removed, the memory makes Kade wince. "If I ever do it again, it'll be different. Not that I can imagine Ciel being the type to go for eloping. I think she likes traditional stuff more than she'd admit."
"I don't even know that the equivalent of doing that in Europe would be. Greek wedding? Blackpool wedding?" Micaela shakes her head and does not spare that any more thought. "You know, even I never did that to my mom." Just in case you wanted to feel more shame about eloping, Kade. "Although we did get space married, I think, I was on a lot of drugs...and she wasn't there for that." Obviously. She leans on a counter with a smirk. "Oh? She does seem to have gotten less wild these days..." Alas. "She still a Catholic, or am I remembering that wrong? That's pretty traditional."
Kade looks appropriately shamed. "I was read the riot act about it, I assure you." He moves on from the jewelry store, drifing to one of the holo-kiosks. An automated sales person enthusiastically (if in a very auto-tuned manner) tries to tell him a manicurist kit. He does not seem interested. "She was raised Catholic. Still believes, but I think she goes in and out of the actual church. Think she still wants to be a part of it, though." A pause and he admits, quietly, "She prayed with me. The night I found on Nina was taken. I've never been able to sort out exactly what I believed. About God, and everything. But it did make me feel a little less...lost, I guess."
"Good." Micaela does not seem interested in following that up with more shaming. She moves on as he moves on, though she seems more interested in the crowd than the kiosk. For whatever it's worth, she is apparently listening, because she says, "That shit gets complicated when you've been to other universes and lived with aliens and..." She waves a hand. You know. Stuff. "But yeah...I get that." There's no mockery, anyway. Not about that. "Diego is dragging me to mass tomorrow." She makes a 'hang me' gesture, like the mature adult she is. "But he sits through my family stuff, so it's only fair."
"Ciel's taking me up North before the holiday break is out. To see her uncle, Jean-Paul." Does Kade sound nervous? Maybe. "I mean, I ran with the guy some, back in our days in government work. We got on pretty well. This is just a...different context than I've seen him in before." He grins at the 'hang-me' gesture. "Fair enough. You guys seem to put up with each other pretty well all around, from what I can see."
Micaela helps Kade's nerves by immediately bursting into laughter. Uhm. "Good luck," she bids him through her arms around his shoulders in a quick hug as the giggling tapers off. "The 'I'm fucking your niece', context. Yeah." Just a little different. "I brought Diego home once just before everything went to shit and we stayed the night and /that/ was a whole thing." And he still married into that family. 'Put up with' indeed. "Hey-'put up with' implies we're resigned to shit. We're awesome. He's perfect. ...aside from the fact I had to write 'you are married' on his hand." Life is hard.
Kade gives Micaela a long, steady look. "You are ever a comfort to me, Rocketeer. Never change." Long-suffering eyeing aside, there is fondness behind the words. He snorts, and hugs her back in a back-patting, bro-y fashion. "Thanks." The 'perfect' makes his smile twist, but he doesn't contradict it. "He'll get it sorted out with some more time. His brain just needs a little longer to settle." Kade hopes. "You want to hit the food court before we leave? I am not seeing anything appealing in these bargains, but maybe something will strike my fancy on the way out. And I am in the mood for something greasy."
"I never will," Micaela promises (threatens?) with a big grin. She gives his shoulder a pinch as she lets go of the hug, but at least it's just his shoulder. That's behaving. "You'll survive. Just don't bother to try to run." You'll never escape. Speedsters. "Yeah, he will," she says on a sigh about Diego, but while there is worry, she does believe that. "You're going to have to run some extra laps later then, Ember," she teases, making her way towards the food court. No doubt Kade will get pulled along in her wake at least once before they leave the mall and be forced to watch her peruse some items that cost enough to make him clutch his wallet in terror. But she'll probably have some more helpful suggestions about Nina before they go, too.