jaiden_icon.gif monica_icon.gif

Scene Title Domesticity
Synopsis Friends reconnect after years apart, a war, a marriage, and two-ish kids.
Date February 21, 2018

NY Safe Zone

After a morning of taking photos around the safe zone and Coney Island, and afternoon taking more photos and interviews with street people, getting their stories for the Archive, Jaiden wanted nothing more than to go back to his room, take a quick shower, and then get in bed. Except, thing is, Jaiden made plans.

Whether it was luck, chance, or fate, on his first day through the city he managed to run into Monica. It seems that happens a lot, in fact, as almost all of his meetings have been blind chance. Monica, however, Jaiden had a history with. Numbers were exchanged and plans were made to sit down and catch up. Wars and reconstructions are no good for keeping in touch, and not seeing her since the helicopter ride out of Alaska seven years ago, give or take, Jaiden wanted to get a conversation. Off the record, of course.

Restaurants really aren't a thing around the Safe Zone, since food is something that still is kind of hard to find. Instead, the big australian comandeered a kitchen with a table and two chairs, an electric stove, and some pots and pans he was allowed to use as long as he cleaned up. He's cooking dinner, it seems, with the canned and boxed food he brought with him.

Monica's experience in the Safe Zone is a little different than most people's. But then, that's probably why she agreed to this location instead of inviting him her way. It's a little ostentatious, where she happens to live. And she doesn't want to make anyone uncomfortable.

She appears in the doorway to the kitchen, knocking on the frame to get his attention. She's dressed differently these days. No more hoodie. No more urban ninja. Just slacks, a blazer, and a blouse. Nice shoes. "I heard this place was just impossible to get a table at," she says, greeting him in a way. Her way. But there is a smile and she nods her hello.

"It helps if you know the owner." Jaiden replies, looking over at the knock, the lantern in the kitchen giving the whole room a nice glow of light in addition to the light bulb hanging from the ceiling. Just in case of brownouts, of course. He wipes his hands on a dishtowel and walks over to take her hands, giving her a light hug if she'll allow it before stepping back into the kitchen proper. Remi's manners are rubbing off on him, it seems.

Nothing special is being cooked - rice-a-roni, freeze-dried broccoli, some hard cheese grated over it all. No meat, because it's impossible to find here and, after all, it is Jaiden's second evening here. Give him time and he'll be able to make a turkey dinner with all the fixings.

"How're you doing, Monica?" Jaiden's voice is warm, welcoming. "It's been a long time. Little more than seven years?"

Returning the handshake is easy, although Monica keeps her replacement arm at her side for the moment. Sometimes it can be a shock for people the first time they see it. Or touch it, as the case may be. When he comes in for a hug, she's a moment behind in realizing what's happening, but she returns it after a beat. Her arm whirrs and clicks as it moves, and probably feels a little strange. But she steps away after a moment, to stride over and take hold of one of the chairs.

"Since Alaska," she says. And she's able to say it without flinching now, which is progress. "I'm doing good, actually. Steady work, lots of travel. It's not a bad life." She seems to mean it, too, there's a smile on her face that's genuine and everything. "I haven't seen anyone from the old days in a long time," she says, even though he knows that. Seeing as he had to run into her by accident. "How've you been?"

Blame Remi for that. Every time he came home, he was greeted by a hug. Every time he walked into a room, hug. And every time he left? Hugs that lasted for minutes on top of minutes and words about coming home safely. So it's only natural to him that it happens. "Sorry." comes the hasty apology as he steps back to the stove, wiping his hands on the borrowed apron that declares him to be the 'World's Best Grandma.' "Forgot myself there."

"Lost contact after that." He agrees, turning to fetch drinks. "Is cold tea okay? If not, I think I may have a bottle of coca-cola in my bag, but that'll take me a moment to get." It's odd, seeing Jaiden this way, puttering around like a homebody. "I think we all needed to go a little mad just before the world did. Pick up the pieces before the world needed our help picking them up for it." He settles into the chair next to the stove slowly, keeping his right leg straight as he lowers himself. "Sit…sit sit sit." There's a gesture to the chair opposite him, the big man nodding as she gives broad strokes of her life. "Good. I'm glad to see some of us made it out of the life and into a better one." Her smile is disarming, and he finds himself smiling too. "What're you doing now, anyway? Working for Yamagato? Off the record, of course - this is purely for my information and knowing about the people I used to pal around with.

"It's alright," Monica says with a chuckle. "Just more used to firm handshakes these days." There is an amused look for the apron before she looks back up to his face. "Tea's fine," she says, leaning on her Southern accent a little there. She lingers there, a hand on the chair, watching him in full domestic mode. But when he tells her to sit, she pulls the chair out and slips her jacket off to hang it on the back. Her arm is exposed then, as her blouse is sleeveless, gears moving and lights blinking here and there.

She sits, though, and rests an elbow on the table and her chin in her hand. "Oh, it's… dull. International Relations. I go to a lot of meetings," she says with a sigh. This is something of a break from her routine. "I read a lot of contracts. I'm gonna need glasses in a minute here." Nothing newsworthy, certainly. "But what about you? What did you get up to after… um. The tribunals."

Jaiden is in Domestic mode, but he is listening. Quite attentively, in fact, taking the lid off the pan, giving it a sniff, adding a little pepper and covering it back up to steam some more. "Got some sugar too, if y'all take it sweet." Jaiden actually uses y'all in the proper form. He HAS been practicing! And as she talks, he does pay attention to the arm with its gears and lights and the like, watching how it works together so minutely as she does something as simple as rest her chin in her hand. He slides the glass of tea over, the sugar bowl - an actual bowl with sugar in it - pushed nearby for her to sweeten to her liking.

"I can understand the boredom. I used to do lots of contracts with my photography and writing. The trick is to figure out what they're not saying and then force them to say it, I've found." He gives a small grin at that. "After testifying…I put out a book. A pair of them. Did interviews and the like in Europe, about an Evolved's view of the Civil War from the front lines. It might be up for an award. I don't know." He takes his pan off the stove, setting it on the hot pad in the middle of the table to cool as he continues talking, pulling a loaf of actual bread out of the oven. (no butter. Sorry) "With Remi working with her dad's corporation, she spends a lot of time overseas which makes me pretty much a homebody, taking care of the girls. Have been since the tribunal. Since New York opened back up, though…." Jaiden stirs the pot - literally, not figuratively - "I got that old itch again. To go and see the world. To find the good where there seems to be only bad. To come back here." He pats the table. "Home. More or less."

Perking up at the appearance of sugar, Monica straightens and spoons some into her glass. Not a lot, since sugar is one of those things that can be difficult to find around here. "This okay," she says with a nod toward her arm when she notices him looking, "it's unsettling for some." There's no judgment in that, just fact.

"Sounds like you've been busy, too. That's good. Maybe I'll see if I can't find your books around here." Maybe not to actually read them, as those are not times she wants to relive anytime soon. But to support him, more likely. "New York has a weird pull, doesn't it? Always seems to reel us all back in." It has for her, since her Saint Joan days. But her head tilts and she looks over at him with a gentler smile. "Remi and the girls?"

That simple question opens the flood gates. He leans over to pluck a small portfolio - a small photo album, of all things - from a bag on the counter and rests it on the table in front of Monica. "Remi and the girls, yes." He opens the book to the first page and there, on the shores of a lake is Jaiden and Remi exchanging vows beneath an arch. It's fall,, judging from the jackets and long sleeve shirts. "Remi and I were married at the end of 2015. She and Graeme had a daughter. Yes, with apparently not so gay Graeme." Jaiden isn't malicious with that at all, chuckling a little as turns the page to the next one, a little girl looking sternly at the camera. "This is Victoria Jessamyn Cormac-Davignon." He lingers on that photo for a moment before turning to the next page. "Things happened and…well…Remi and I had another little girl. Lisette Ophelie Mortlock-Davignon. She's just turning three in May." A picture of a toddler, sitting with bright red hair, wild around her head, laughing at something while pounding a plastic shovel against a rock. "When she gets a little more photogenic, she looks like this." Teh page is turned and it's a family shot. Graeme and Jaiden on either side of a seated Remi, Victoria standing to her mother's right in front of Graeme, and Lisette cradled in her mother's arms, looking the picture of perfection." Amazing this happened…her during the war, and her after." He taps the faces of the little girls, sitting back a little in his seat, taking a sip of his tea.

"Don't worry about purchasing the books. I'm fine. It was for an international audience more than the people who lived through it." He takes another sip of his tea. "It's good to see you, Monica."

Pictures get produced in front of her and for a moment, Monica doesn't quite seem to get what's happening. But the first picture clears it up for her. Marriage. Kids. These are things that happen. Her disconnect from the world might have gone a little deeper than she let on. But then, she didn't let on much at all.

She leans forward to look at the album, a smile for the family pictured there. "They're beautiful," she says as she looks up to him. "You look happy," she says with a nod to the pictures. But she also means him here, too. "Did they all come with you? The whole… clan," she says, but follows it up with a chuckle. "And congratulations. To you and Remi. Wedding, kid, all that."

"No…not yet." Jaiden, proud papa moment over, puts the book away in his bag and starts to dish out the rice and broccoli mixture on to two plates. "New York is….not somewhere we want to bring them for more than a visit, now and again. Not yet, at least. Mabye during the summer, when the wind is off the sea and not coming from New York. I don't want them breathing asbestos, radioactive dust, and whatever else it is that comes off the ruins."

Placing the spoon lightly in the dish used for cooking, Jaiden nods. "Thank you. I am happy. I'm actually surprised I'm so happy. A lot of survivors guilt, getting through the war as well as I did, but I'm working through that, fairly well." He slices the bread in half, one chunk going in Monica's range, the other in his for munching. "Consider this visit a part of my therapy, I guess." He shrugs and lifts his glass. "How about you? My records don't have much of your movements during the war…you kind of vanished but I have a pretty good guess why." He nods towards her arm. "It looks amazing, if that means anything. The contrast of it against your skin is striking in a good way, and I like the way the designer, whoever it is, incorporated those colored sections and lights to give it a sense of movement, even when it's not moving." He taps his knee. "You guys doing legs yet?"

"That's probably smart," Monica says with a chuckle, "this town is nothing but trouble." Too much for young girls. "If they come out, bring them by the park. It's really something to see in the summer."

She reaches for the bread, tearing off a piece to toss in her mouth. "I can't say I've ever been someone's therapy before," she says, after the bread, of course. "I worked the medical units. Triage. Security. Learned how to make bombs, that was fun." She didn't blow any of her remaining limbs off, so it must have gone well. She looks down at her arm, then back over at him. "It wasn't easy to adjust to. Losing the arm, I mean. Actually, and regaining it, but… I just couldn't face anybody. After everything." She looks down at her tea, as if considering it for a moment before she decides to stop thinking about old times and looks back up at him with a smile. "It means a lot, actually. My engineer is pretty excited about the look of it. 'Don't wear so many jackets, Monica,'" she says, in a mimic of the engineer, one might assume. "Oh yeah. All the limbs. Fingers and toes, too. My engineer is really excited about eyes lately. So I assume that's in the works."

"This isn't the therapy. The whole coming to New York is the therapy. Having dinner with an old friend is an added bonus." Jaiden chuckles softly to himself, sitting back and watching Monica eat. And as she speaks, he's hanging on every word, cringing at bomb construction, sober at triage and security. "Security must have bored you to tears."

"I know. Trust me. We all lost something in the time before and during war. Some wounds are just more visible than others." Hesitantly, he reaches across the table to pat whatever hand is closest, a soothing gesture, before leaning back into his seat. "That's the last resort, of course, getting a replacement limb. I've got to try the joint replacement, first, or just find an evolved healer that doesn't mind working on a broken australian for a little while." He takes a bite of his rice and vegatable mix, blowing out a breath at the heat of it all.

"It was only boring when it wasn't terrifying," Monica says before she takes a drink from her tea. "I wasn't really in good shape to do much else. Couldn't fire anything that needs two hands. Pistols don't get you far in a war zone." Neither does kung fu, probably.

"Yeah well, I got this sweet robot arm. And you got a beautiful family. I guess it turned out okay." Monica tilts her head at the mention of his injury, considering for a moment. "If you've got the cash, there's a healer who works— well, he offers his services, let's say that. Expensive, though. Not that replacement limbs are cheap," she's quick to toss in. "But, you know, things are different now, you could ask around, see if there's anyone licensed for healing work."

"I only remember working security from my time in the forces, so many years ago." Jaiden explains with a nod. "Never in a combat zone. Lots of counting the stars and listening to things howl in the darkness."

As the night passes, Monica and Jaiden sit and eat, enjoying the bounty brought from his lakeside home. Their conversation stretches well into the night ending on the promise of trying to do this again with Jaiden's chicken sausage gumbo.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License