Like Moths


colette2_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif

Scene Title Like Moths
Synopsis Metting again at a chinese restaurant in the Rookery, Colette and Tavisha find that they aren't as different as they once thought.
Date March 3, 2009

Sheung Wan Kitchen

It's not just the large selection that makes Sheung Wan Kitchen special - it's the quality, the sights, the atmosphere, and the friendly service. This is a very small restaurant with only a handful of seats in front of a large, flat counter where meals are prepared in full-view by some of the Rookery's more knowledgeable chefs. Stacked high against the far wall are wicker baskets full of dried sea creatures, mystery animal parts, deer antlers, wine with whole king cobras, heaps of herbs and twigs and tree barks. Although these are meant to go into the dishes that are served here, it is not impossible to haggle for them.

A large chalkboard behind the counter advertises the kitchen's special menu, though some items are more difficult to read than others. Most popular is the Tree Lizard Soup - cooked with yams, Chinese dates, ginseng, medlar, and something called tragacanth, which is reported to be good for asthma, colds, lungs and the heart.

You could almost believe that this wasn't crimetown, during daylight hours - even if night is starting to lean heavily on the dwindling day. Outside, the sounds of business starting to wrap up is a pleasant backdrop to the clatter and clamour of the kitchen beyond the counter in the little restaurant. Goods, both stolen and not, are being packed up or last minutely haggled over, and as if to drive people indoors all the faster, fresh rain begins to patter down, make the streets shine with glowing neon from above, and create streaks and rivulets down the glass windows of the Kitchen.

Tavisha has his elbows on the table, a cup of white tea clasped between his hands and despite that, mostly ignored. Considering he lives inland, unlike the person he's meeting, he's here early, and seemingly occupied despite simply looking out the window, lost in thought as isn't so unusual for him. A watch on his wrist, an old school 70s thing with the insides exposed, cogs ticking and shifting the time forward, is checked after a moment, sleeve of his black coat pushed back to observe it.

The door to the restaurant opens and closes a few times between intermittant checking of his watch. The rain beating down outside keeps the broken and cracked streets outside clear, with the temperature just too cold to be enjoying this weather. When the door opens a third time, it's hasty footsteps and clomping shoes against the floor that draws attention to the drowned rat coming in from outside.

Bereft of an umbrella, the small, rail-thin girl holding a rainsoaked newspaper over her heat gives a shiver, hissing out a curse under her breath before throwing the makeshift umbrella down on a table beside her with a wet slap. "Son of a bitch," she spits out, reaching up to rake her fingers through wet hair that she had tried so hard to pin back with clips and make herself look more presentable.

What stands soaked from head to toe isn't the grubbily dressed girl who could pass for a boy, but someone who looks more like a young woman her age should. Though the white button-down shirt she wears is soaked thorugh and thorugh by the cold rain, as is the black sweatervest worn over it. "Of all the fucking days," she sure swears like a sailor though, appearances aside.

And then, she'll feel it - the rather odd sensation of the water droplets that had clung to her suddenly moving down her body, as if pulled with some kind of magnetic energy, forming thin lines and collecting in a puddle at her feet. It shifts from her clothing, her skin, her hair— not all of it, she's still damp, but gradually, no longer sopping wet. The puddle itself starts to move, creating a thin river towards the door, underneath it, and draining out in defiance of gravity and physics, leaving only a slightly slick sheen to the floor behind it.

With a quiet click, Tavisha sets down his wide-lipped teacup into its saucer, opens a hand to her in a still wave. Hi. Quiet amusement, but not impolite. Distantly sympathetic to her swearing, which goes mainly unnoticed by the busy kitchen. "I see you got caught out there," he says, nudging the opposite chair out - with his foot against one of the wooden legs rather than any ability. Try not to draw too much attention to yourself, Tavisha.

That entire awkward sensation is rewarded with a surprised gasp and a shiver as Colette struggles to wrap her mind around what just happened. her mismatched eyes follow the trail of water out the door, then look to Tavisha with furrowed brows, followed by a broad, almost goofy smile, "T-that was— " One hand rubs at her cheek, then looks down to her clothing with a crooked smile, "damn."

Wiping her hands on the sides of her black skirt, Colette walks over quietly, glancing around the restaurant as she walks, fleeting glances spared to the few patrons gathered out of the storm. She pulls up a chair, letting the legs scuff along the floor. With the reputation Tavisha has been gaining in the Pancratium, seeing a skinny little thing of a girl — that doesn't work for Logan — just pull up a chair with him seems out of the ordinary.

"Hey I — uh, yeah the weather's…" She wrinkles her nose, "So you like— did you really do that water thing?" One brow raises slowly as her hands move up, beginning to unfasten the surgical steel clips that were holding her bangs back, one by one settling them down on the table with small clinking sounds. "That's— like, I mean— that's really cool, you know, being able to do whatever you want." Her lips crook up into a smile, "S'how it works right? Just— imagination?"

As she sits down, Tavisha plucks out two menus from where they're fastened in a plastic fixture on the table, two laminated strips of cardboard, one slid over to her and the other dropped in front of him. Which is unnecessary, he knows the thing word-for-word since the first time he read it.

So he just returns to his tea, fingers curling around the lukewarm porcelain and shrugging broad shoulders, studying the patterns on the table rather than the girl across from him, although she gets a couple of fleeting glances. "No… not exactly," he says, hesitation in his voice, as if unsure how to explain it - or unwilling. "I think I kind of mimic abilities I've encountered, or know well. I'm not sure exactly."

And it's true, he isn't sure. But he knows the price of it, to a degree. How he's able to speak to birds from Eileen is beyond him, but there's enough he doesn't know already. "But you're right," he allows, with a half-smile. "It's kind of cool."

"Oh— " Her mismatched eyes grow wide, then narrow slightly, "So, can you already do what I can? I— that— that's a little unfair," she notes with a wry smile, eyeing the menu with her lips pursed to the side. "I uh," her eyes wander down towards her lap, then back up to the manu as she lays it aside, "I'm— " brow tensing, she smiles awkwardly, "not too hungry." Or too pennyless to afford a meal here, at least.

"So…" Chewing at her lower lip, Colette glances out the window to the rainy street, watching her own muted reflection in the glass. "The last time we were here, I— I really didn't think you'd be here when I got in the door." Her eyes wander back to Tavisha, finally deciding to shake out her hair with one hand, leaving wet and messy, ink-black locks to fall wild around her brow. "I'm… glad you did. I— it's kidn've selfish, but…" she tugs down one lock of hair, eyes crossing as she stares up at it, a vibrant red hue unlike the rest of her hair. "It meant a lot, given— you know, I'm not really anybody special."

His mouth opens. His mouth closes. He'll correct her sometime— maybe after he confirms he didn't accidentally copy her ability, in actuality, or perhaps when he's figured it out for himself. He just lets his uncertain twist of a smile deepen in agreement, as to the unfairness, and then tries to sort through what social tools he has to parse as to whether she wants him to pay for her, or truly doesn't wish to eat. In the end, the menu lies forgotten, and Tavisha pours a splash of tea from the pot into a second cup - still warm, just not boiling. It's slid across the table as she talks, watching her cross her eyes with a hint of amusement visible in his own.

"We have a friend in common," Tavisha says, knowing full well that the word friend attributed to Teo is stretching the truth mightily, but in Tavisha's world, it's close enough. "And you found him, or else we— I guess we wouldn't, anymore. That's special enough."

He picks up his tea, takes a long sip, shrugs a little and shakes his head minutely. "And if you want to know the truth, I don't know many people, and I don't think you do either. Not over on this side of the city, anyway."

Smiling at the offered tea, Colette uses it much as Tavisha has, warming her hands. She cradles the porcelain cup between her palms, staring down into the faintly steaming liquid within. "I— really… don't know many people in general," she admits with a tilt of her head. "Teo's… a weird one, he— kind've, I don't even know why but he's always trying to help me." There's a ghost of a smile, eyes upturning to Tavisha. "He set me up with a trainer, this guy named Conrad who…" Died. Well, that's depressing. "…who helped me learn how to control my, um, you know, the glowy thing."

Smirking slightly, Colette brings the glass up to her lips, sipping quietly before lowering it just enough to talk. "He… died. I guess, I— I'm not really sure why, nobody would be straight with me. I— I guess he was trying to protect a bunch of people." Growing silent again, the young woman stares down into her teacup, rolling it from side to side to swirl the liquid around.

"A bunch of people they— want to help me figure out how to use it better. Conrad… he— he insisted that I did, because of how dangerous it is." Her dark brows crease together, "I just… I don't know," her sigh blows some of the steam away from her glass.

"No…" She says after a moment, "I do know, I— " Looking a bit guilty, Colette shifts her focus back up to Tavisha, "I… don't know how to control what I do and— if I keep getting scared and freaking out and just— just losing control of what I do I— it's going to hurt somebody. You— you bent light around yourself, in the clinic. Do— Do you think you could teach me how to— " She tenses, "I— know this is kind've stupid to ask, given— I hardly…"

He sits, and he listens, and it occurs to him how often he doesn't do exactly that. From the kitchen, the sound of soft meats and vegetables hitting sizzling hot metal hisses and spits audibly, a clamour of rapidfire Mandarin sounding out as an order is shot back towards the depths, a flicker of fire here and there as something gets seared. Tavisha keeps his brown eyes trained on Colette's mismatching ones, more watching her vibrantly green eye than the one rendered milky white, before his own eyes hood a little.

"Teo… he helped me too," Tavisha says, brow furrowing a little, bringing up his tea to sip again before he continues, letting it rest in its saucer and hands disappearing beneath the table to clasp together, almost in a nervous posture, or a shy one. "For no real reason other than, I guess, he thought it was the right thing to do. I couldn't tell you why either."

A quirk of a smile, but it fades as soon as it starts, head tilting a little. "You want me to help you?" A pause, almost a guilty one, like he's about to say no. Incidentally, he doesn't, but apology is in his voice all the same. "I'll admit, I'm not much better. You saw what happened, too, before I— with the light." An eyebrow raises, and he reluctantly reminds her, "You felt it."

"Felt?" For a moment Colette seems confused, but it slowly begins to dawn on her that she was blinded in the dark of her invisibility,"I— I did," her brows furrow together, "Hey that— makes a lot of sense I guess." There's a bit of a smile, an honest one, "I've… never really, I mean, it was always light where Conrad and I practiced, or, he'd bring a light. I'm kind've useless without, um, stuff to work with?" One dark brow arches slowly, her head tilting to the side.

"So… you don't really know how you did it either?" Her eyes divert down to her cup, having forgotten it was even there. "I— guess with so many things you can do it— " When she looks up again, there's a puzzled look in her eyes, like she wants to ask just how much he can do, but decides against it, managing to smile away her curiosity. "Conrad has me, um, read a lot of books on light, and stuff like that. He— he wanted me to understand how light works, so— maybe that's what you're missing? For me, I have to have like, light to work with. The brighter it is, the more stuff I can do with it, or I can just like," she holds out her hands, lifting them from the glass and moves them in a circle. Keeping her shoulders hunched, it's as though she's trying to be conspiratorial, even while she smooths the color blue out of the air, shaping it into a ball of matte aquamarine color between her hands.

It's quick to fade, a very brief demonstration. "It's— I guess like you said, I can feel it. It's like, the difference between taste and smell? But— I can't describe it. Maybe you just need to… think about how light works, to do it right? I— I might be able to give you a couple of pointers on that." She seems embarassed by the notion of even offering help. "Any friend of Teo's, I mean, you know— " she's so remarkably awkward.

The little display of power has Tavisha's complete attention, watching the circular haze of blue as the other colours are, presumably, bled out, and he shakes his head a little once it's gone. "For me… they seem to happen instinctively. Or intuitively. I didn't even know I was bending light, or whatever it is you called it. I can only sort of… here."

His hand moves, spreads out on the table. It starts with his fingertips, seeming to inkily disappear, right up to the second set of knuckles— but if you squint, the outline of his fingers are still visible. He moves that hand, over one of the neglected menus - and his fingers are still the colour of the table until they lazily change to that of the menu, cream coloured with blurry mimicry of words across skin. "I'm better at others," he says, letting his normal colour leak back into the ends of his fingers, looking back up at her. "Like with the water. And— I can make light too, actually. Differently than you can. This really isn't a good place for it, but— "

Colette is remarkably awkward, but whatever part of Tavisha that involves trying to relate to people, to communicate on a simple plane of amicability, fellowship, it's almost as awkward - more shy than stammery, his sentence dying into thought as he puts his hand back around his teacup. "Maybe we could help each other," he finally suggests.

Eyes focused solely on Tavisha's hands, she watches in wide-eyed wonder when his fingertips disappear, but seem to bend and flex in distortions of heat-mirage. Smirking, Colette looks up to him, clearly impressed, but the notion that he can make light is one she's more than thrilled with the implications of. Sitting up straight, she scoots her chair in closer, lips parted and crooked into an ever-present grin now, mismatched eyes hungry with curiosity as she clutches her teacup near her chest.

"Could— we go somewhere?" The words come out of her mouth before she even really thinks about them. Is she serious? All the time ago that Colette was horrified, terrified of people with power like this, now she finds herself fascinated by the prospect of being able to learn more about herself. Having been working to shed herself of the young girl who needs care and protection, latching on to the ideals Conrad instilled in her — for a time — seems like the best possible solution. "I'll— do whatever, I want to see you make light."

He can relate. Being both terrified of the possibilities of what he can do, what every other Evolved could do, while being drawn to it too. Very much like a moth to— well. Light. Tavisha gives her an almost wolfish smile, unstoppable, when her blatant curiousity shows its colours, letting out a deep-sounding chuckle. "It's still raining," he reminds her, but mostly wryly, but he's setting his teacup down, hand up to scratch the back of his neck, a shrug. "I know a place, it isn't too far."

And likely they're both too naive or disinterested to really catch the double entendre of this conversation, Tavisha just taking out his wallet and pulling out a couple of notes for the tea, plus a reasonably generous tip.

Colette eyes the money, looking from it to Tavisha rather clearly, filing that away for later. She pushes up from her chair, tea all but forgotten as she gives it a cursory look, then runs her fingers through her rainslicked hair, raking her finger s back through it before just giving her head a shake, slinging a few beads of water around. She looks down, at Tavisha's jacket, then over to the corner of the table, and back again, "You… don't have an umbrella." It's a salient point, but one she'll soon discover is largely moot.

If the question of her going out in the cold rain, or even being willing to even travel into some out of the way location with Tavisha had entered her mind, it was never fully considered. She's on her feet, eyes wide, forefingers and thumb rolling together as she generates tiny sparks of light with the friction.

It's a familiar, exhilarating feeling; being where she shouldn't be, running off to learn who knows what in the dark of evening.

It's like Conrad is alive again.

March 3rd: 9mm Binky
March 3rd: Trying Science
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