2045-09-07 Blood in the Laundromat

From X-Factor

Blood in the Laundromat
Date Posted 2015/09/12
Location Avenue B Apartments - Laundry Room
Participants Carole, Orianne
Summary Orianne has been engaging in unsafe walking!
Orianne's starting to run low on clean clothing, having not packed every single thing she owns before traveling. After all, while many things in the States are different than back home, laundry is a universal constant. Clothing gets dirty, and needs to be washed. Once her finances are moved over, she'll buy more clothes, of course, but in the meantime... it's laundry day.

Unfortunately, Anne is left somewhat stymied by the need for quarters in the machines, given that her spare cash was all taken in the mugging last night. She's having to wait for one of the electronic machines to be available, which apparently means 'lurking near the machines with her laundry basket, waiting for someone to unload one.'

Carole hauls through the door backward, her posture all about balancing an overladen basket against her chest. She's in a sweatsuit, her hair bound back in a scrunchie. She's at no real vantage for noticing where she's going, but she does chance a glance over shoulder once-enough to see Orianne before she can collide with her. "Oh, hey! Anne!" she brights. "Here you are. How're you enjoying New York?"

"It's different," Orianne replies, putting her basket aside to offer her sister a hand if needed. She's momentarily oblivious to the red bloodstain revealed across the blouse atop her basket. "I mean, not quite what I expected. But there's been lots of artistic inspiration!" Any change in scenery, right?

"Hah. It's great for that. As long as you don't care too much about /positive/ inspiration." Carole sets her basket heavily next to Orianne's; it's not so much that she's ignoring her sister's move to help as she thinks right past it. Laundry-settling by rote. She almost misses Orianne's bloodstained shirt in all that rote, but only almost. Her doubletake is slight, somehow both twitched and subdued, like a little startlement in a dream. "Oh," she says. She shakes her head and squints at Orianne's shirt, just to make sure. Then she's lifting it up by the sleeve. "Anne . . . what happened?"

"Oh." Anne glances over at her shirt, frowning. "Nothing." That's not really an answer, and Orianne seems to know it, because she glances away rather than meeting her sister's gaze. For all that coming to New York was a big adventure for her, perhaps she's managed to already get in above her head.

"Anne. Come on." Carole shakes the bloody shirt in Anne's direction, her forehead lightly furrowed even as she tries to smile. "You might as well tell me. I'm psychic and everything." Anne, of course, knows this isn't exactly true.

Anne gives Carole a 'really?' look, one eyebrow quirked upwards. She knows perfectly well that's not how her sister's power works. "It's nothing. I just got mugged last night, that's all. Three kids... one ice-controller, one teleporter with a knife, and one who turned invisible. They took my phone and my cash."

"Nothing!" Carole tosses the bloody shirt on the basket and grabs (gently) at Anne's arm. "They went after you with a knife and every--" She stares down Anne's collarbone. "Where did they hurt you? I need to get you to a doctor is what."

"They didn't get /me/. I was feeling outnumbered, so I... made some backup. They got a puppet, stabbed her in the chest while they were struggling." Which means Orianne inflicted the damage on herself, reflexively, as is her wont. "It's just a little gash; I put some gauze on it. I'm /fine/, Carole."

"Stabbing your puppet's like stabbing you. That's how Dad'd feel about it, anyway." Carole does loosen her grip on Orianne's arm, though. Grows a few fractions less intent. "Ugh. Anne. I don't want to set a curfew or anything, but--"

"I was just getting a drink at the coffee shop!" Anne protests, gathering up her own laundry. She can at least get it all clean while she's lectured, right? "Don't tell dad, okay? Next time I'll be better prepared if something like that happens."

Carole lets Anne's arm go at last. "I won't tell Dad. He'd fly out tomorrow if I told him." She pinches the middle of her forehead with two fingers. "This makes me nervous, though. What do you mean by better prepared?"

"I'll... carry a knife or something," Orianne replies, with a dismissive gesture. Because that works against a teleporter and someone who's invisible. She seems to realize this is perhaps not sufficient, because she adds, "And I'll practice my fighting a little more. Besides, how often am I going to get mugged going outside? That kind of stuff can't happen every day, right?"

"It shouldn't," Carole says at almost a bark, half-roughness to her voice. "I'll help you with defending yourself. No knives, though. Those just escalate everything." She starts pulling out her laundry as well. Three steps behind. "Lot of it's confidence. Shouting's better self-defense than throwing a punch."

"I tried talking back at them, but they didn't take it too well," Anne admits, a little ruefully. "Maybe I should've just given them my money to start with."

"Not talking, shouting. Like you'll bring the whole world down on them. Like--" Carole shakes her head. Piles more laundry. "Never mind. You're right. Giving them the money's the safest thing to do."

Orianne finishes loading the machine and pulls out her card with a slight wince. The international transaction fees are killer; no doubt it's the reason she was only carrying cash, not her cards, when she was mugged the other day. But she doesn't really have any other cash to use. "Did that ever happen to you?" Apparently, this is time for a topic shift. Learning from big sister's stories, and all that.

"Getting mugged? All the time. But I'm--" Carole hesitates, and leans over to grab at Orianne's card. "I can cover you until you get an American bank account." This offer is only a brief delay to storytelling, however. "Orianne," she redirects. "I do dangerous things. But I'm trained for it. They can't hurt me too much, most of them."

"But you didn't always know," Orianne points out, stubbornly, though she accepts the payment for the laundry without protest. Some things are worth accepting. "You /learned/, right? I'll learn, too."

"And I'll teach you," Carole says, earnest almost to the point of fierceness. She swipes her card, and steps back to load her own machine. "I promise. You won't learn in a day, though. And getting mugged right away feels like bad luck. Makes me superstitious. Um." She clears her throat. "Makes me worried. That's all."

"It's not like I couldn't get mugged back home, too," Orianne points out. "There are muggers and bullies back there, too. I think they just picked on me because I was the out-of-towner, so they figured I wouldn't have anyone to back me up." Still, she doesn't meet her sister's gaze as she says this. Maybe she, too, can't help but think it was a bit of an omen.

"There's lots of out-of-towners in New York City." Carole finishes stuffing clothes in the washer, her expression frownish. "I don't want to be crazy about this. I don't want to escort you everywhere. It would . . . make me feel better, though. At least until I have some self-defense in you."

"I'm not /completely/ helpless," Orianne protests, perhaps a little stung by the idea that she needs a babysitter. "Just because I didn't get sent off to be trained in fighting doesn't mean I haven't done /anything/ back home, Carole!"

Carole looks skeptical. Then (obviously) immediately tries to not look skeptical. "Okay. Um. What did you do back home?" She swipes her card, starts her wash.

"I was one of the best traceurs back home," Orianne answers with a hint of pride, ignoring hints of skepticism. After a moment, she asks a little more hesitantly, "/Is/ there a parkour scene around here? There has to be, right? New York's got so many things to climb on or over..."

Carole brightens. Oh, that involuntary flicker of interest. "We could trade. I teach you to punch and hide, you teach me to run up the side of buildings. There /is/ a parkour scene, I'm sure. I see people on top of stuff all the time."

This seems to sit better with Anne; being taught self-defense and combat out of /pity/ is a bit of a blow to her pride, but if it's an exchange of skills... she nods firmly, offering her older sister a smile. "Deal! Besides, I bet it could be really useful in a fight, right?"

Carole turns around to hop up backward on the washer, butt planted squarely mid-door. "Certainly. Or for getting away. Don't think I don't do plenty of getting away."

Orianne watches her sister on the washer or a moment, then turns, takes three running strides towards the wall, puts a foot up a short distance, kicks off the floor, turns around, and perches on a different washer. "Maybe I should've just run," she admits. "But I didn't want to get chased off right after I got here. Is that stupid?"

Carole claps in impulsive appreciation. Her smile awakes wide, but sobers quickly. "No," she says. "I would've done the same. I like standing my ground. I can't always, though."

Anne can't help but smile back at Carole's admission. "Guess we really are more alike than dad would want," she replies. More quietly, she adds, "I'm not really going to have to worry /every/ time I go outside, right?"

Carole coughs a scoff. "Neither Dad or Mom have any room to talk. Not really." She thrums her fingertips on the side of the washer. "And no, you shouldn't have to. It's hard not to worry forever when it happens, but you can't think of Mutant Town as some horrible place where every step's a risk taken. Like you said. Bad stuff happens everywhere."

This seems to reassure the younger Dembele sister somewhat. "Good." The remark about their parents having no grounds to talk makes her shake her head, bemused. "I know, right? I bet dad would say it's /because/ he lived this life that he worries, though."

"Parents always want their kids to be safe, I think." Carole grumbles this a bit. "Some of the kids I grew up with in Xavier's had mutant parents with rough lives, too. A lot of them had stupid protective homes."

"What was it like?" Anne asks, head tilted to one side. "Xavier's, I mean. I always imagined it had to be really excited, like... instead of doing math homework, it was 'learn to save the world' and 'write an essay on proper battle quips'."

"Still a lot of homework," Carole lightly wrys. "I did learn combat there, but algebra, too. It's a normal school with some extracurriculars. The extracurriculars are what got it in trouble, of course. No more of those."

Anne makes a face. "I bet combat was more fun than algebra." A mathematician, she is not.

Carole rubs her arm, gone frownish again. "It can be . . . less fun than you'd think."

For a moment, Anne seems about to say something more, but then she shakes her head and changes the subject. "Hey. When laundry's done, you want to go out somewhere? I could use some fresh air, and maybe we can find a good running course nearby."

"Sure." Carole's smile's all quick to return. "Do you like routes with more architecture or more trees?"

"Architecture's easier," Anne answers, then shrugs. "Trees are cool and all, and you can get some great movement off them, but it's harder to practice a passe muraille or demi-tour without some walls or something similar."

"So by running, you mean doing wall-based acrobatics. I'm all right with that." Carole hops off the washer. "I'll try to do it with you. Badly."

Anne grins in answer. "No you won't," she replies. "When you're teaching me self-defense, we're not going to just run right out and start with me getting into a fight, right? There's basics you have to work on. Same thing with parkour: a new traceur needs to learn rolls and falls /before/ they try to run on a wall."

"I'm /terrific/ at rolls and falls," Carole protests. "But, okay, maybe in different contexts."

"Hm." Anne looks thoughtful. "I wonder, maybe they /aren't/ that different. I mean, a lot of parkour's 'saves' -- the ways to keep yourself from getting hurt -- came from martial arts."

Carole lifts her hands, palms up. "And judo's kind of my thing. I imagine it will be a little different. I'll try not to cheat." Ah, the eternal temptation of a probability power.

"Parkour with powers can be interesting," Anne points out. "So maybe you /should/. I've used puppets before in my running. Not /often/, but sometimes I need a piece that isn't there, and not /all/ my puppets have to be alive." Conjuring a ramp out of thin air to give yourself that extra little bit of distance can be useful, after all.

"I'd be tempted to do more dangerous runs, just because I might be able to give myself a second chance," Carole says. "It's the probability equivalent of you giving yourself a new beam to walk on."

"Sure, but that can be worth practicing, too," Anne points out. "If I have to run -- and if I run, I /will/ do it like a traceur, because I'm harder to follow that way -- better if I can improve my chances. Using your power while you're also trying to stay focused on the flow, keep moving, it can be tricky."

"I use my powers all the time to improve some chances." Carole flaps a hand at her face. "In a fight, getting a second of warning of how a person's going to strike gives me an edge I'd be stupid to drop, even if I could. Probability's chancier than what you do, though." She clears her throat. "I can improve my chances or make them worse, although precognition may help me before I step on something collapsible. Your way of running, and helping yourself run, is a bit more controllable. That's all I mean."

"There's probably a way I could use my puppets in a fight, if I had to," Anne admits. "But sometimes it just gives them another 'me' to hit."

"Yeah." Carole touches her own chest in sympathy. "You could focus on avoiding, evading, situational awareness. All of that?"

"Splitting my attention between bodies is rough, though," Anne admits. "Imagine if you were looking through two sets of eyes and controlling two bodies at the same time. It gets distracting if I'm trying to do anything complicated."

"Huh." Carole folds her arms. "When are your puppets most useful?"

"I don't really know." Anne's tone is a little dejected at this admission. "I mean, I've been able to make my own 'stop motion' videos, and I've been able to send a puppet that doesn't look like me out to do things, but... I've never really found a way to /use/ it." Maybe that's partly why she came to New York, in the end.

"We'll figure something out," Carole tries, overbrightening. "If nothing else, better to send a puppet to look into things that might, um, get you arrested. Right?"

"Yeah." Anne pauses for a moment, and another young woman -- a nondescript 'New Yorker', a fusion of many faces she saw while people-watching the other night -- coalesces into existence across the laundry room.

"Harder to recognize," the 'not-Anne' admits, offering Carole a smile. "And getaways are..." She vanishes again, puffing away without a trace.

"...a lot easier," the real Anne finishes.

Carole spreads her hands, both delighted and used-enough to Anne-style puppets. "That's much better than Dad's power. Dad's old power? You can go wherever you want. No consequences as long as you're careful. See. Lots of uses."

"But dad's old power didn't keep him distracted while he was doing it, right?" Anne points out, even if she can't hide her pleasure in her sister's compliment. "I mean, he could just make dozens of duplicates, and each of them could fight just as well as he could."

"No, it didn't distract him. But each of his duplicates was also a whole person. I mean," Carole rubs the back of her hand. "Dad /started/ as a duplicate, even if he's just our dad now. Can you imagine if each of your puppets could go off and have a family?" She winces, slightly. "Or if making them vanish or getting them killed meant-- I don't know. I don't like thinking about it." She smiles again. "I like your power how it is."

"Yeah, I guess." Anne sounds a little more torn than she used to about her power. Then again, her puppet getting stabbed the other night meant /she/ was bleeding, not another entire Orianne, so perhaps her hesitance is understandable. "Your power's cooler, though. I mean, you can kind of change the world /around/ you."

"Eh." Carole shrugs. "It sounds better than it is. It's way too easy to make a mistake and change it the wrong way. I like to keep things small. When I can."

Orianne mulls this one over for a few, then hops off her own washer perch. "Okay, I've got an easier question to think about, then. What's a good place around here to eat?" After all, college-age kids need their caloric intake to begin with, and probably she burned a few calories just creating her little puppet-show.

Carole's enthusiasm flares back up as she describes a /number/ of awesome greasy spoons and hole-in-the-walls within walking distance. If Orianne doesn't stop her, it might-- take a while.

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