To Turn Water Into Wine


ff_nadira_icon.gif richard5_icon.gif

Scene Title To Turn Water into Wine
Synopsis Richard and Nadira chat about alternate selves, abilities, and the future over drinks.
Date June 23, 2021


If there's one thing that's consistent, it's that the people of the Pelago always need two things: water and booze. For some it's one more than the other, but seafarers have had an intrinsic link to alcohol since ancient times. For Nadira, the link had grown on a personal level. Her experience controlling water meant her skills were in demand for purification (a process also very much needed for the creation of alcohol) as well as her own personal experiences tending bar.

While she doesn't do much actual tending of bars these days, the link is there and she's found near one more often than not. Late afternoon brings a bit of tiredness to the day–it's a rough one, but no rougher than normal, and it finds Nadira taking a break. The movement of water and purification of it, especially vast quantities all at once leaves her a bit parched. Having absconded with a bottle of dark liquid, she sits at a table alone, half of a short glass of the liquid resting in front of her as she lets out a sigh.

“You know,” Richard observes casually as he drops down to sit across from her without warning, “The first time I met you, you were in a bar too. I mean, it wasn’t you exactly, but…”

A slight smile crooks to the dimensional traveler’s lips, one arm resting on the table as he leans against it, the leather of his jacket’s arm resting on the wooden surface, “Didn’t know them very well, though. We traveled in similar circles but didn’t cross very often.”

Although not startled by the sudden presence, Nadira raises an eyebrow at both the appearance and just exactly who it was joining her. She looks between him and the bottle, then nudges it carefully in his direction with the tips of her fingers. "This is something I can believe," she agrees, the slightest bit of a smile crossing her lips. "I suppose that is a good thing that you did not know her well, I would hope to not have someone's potential bad habits reflected upon me. Unless, of course, she was delightful, in which case I believe it is a shame you did not spend more time together."

“I suppose I’ll never know,” admits Richard, reaching out at the offering to curl his fingers around the bottle, “It was a place called the Tartarus, down on the lower east side. No idea if it even existed in this New York.”

No glass of his own, he brings the bottle up to his lips to take a quick swig of it - eyes closed as it burns its way down - and then exhales a sigh, shaking his head with a chuckle, “Anyway. Hope things worked out with Robyn, n’all.”

"Tartarus?" Nadira seems to think for a moment. "I cannot say I properly know. The only significance of the name being a name for the underworld. It does, however, have the sound of a place I would have hung out at, should such a place have existed. Dark and edgy names like that have a particular feel. I would be willing to bet it was not the kind of place you went to for conversation."

At the mention of Robyn, Nadira takes a long swallow from her glass. "Some things can only be hoped for."

“That good, huh?” Richard sets the bottle down, shaking his head, “I met her- your Robyn, ah, what’d she decide she wanted to be called? Zee. She seemed nice, at least. And while they weren’t exactly getting along like gangbusters– ”

He lifts a hand helplessly, then lets it fall, “— they at least weren’t trying to kill each other.”

"At least this means Kendall will not have to go galavanting about like some knight to protect her from… herself," Nadira swirls the alcohol in her glass with a small chuckle. "I am quite glad, the more I think on it, that I have not met someone other than her who I am already familiar with. It is a little hard to wrap your head around, as strange as things might be. Floods can be eventually gotten used to, life can return to its own state of affairs, but I do not think I will ever not be puzzled at the idea of more than one of me."

“It’s a hard idea to get used to,” admits Richard, looking down at his hand on the wood; black marks marring the skin, as if mirroring another hand grasping his, shifting like tattoos as his fingers shift a bit. “They’re not you, though. People can argue about genetics or situation all they like, but…”

A bark of laughter, and he looks up with a wry smile through his dark glasses, “The ‘same’ person from different worlds can be very different, I assure you.”

“Sounds a bit like you speak from personal experience,” Nadira takes a moment to sip her drink, letting it burn its way down before she continues. “I believe people can actively choose who they are. Perhaps we might be predisposed to something we like, but we choose how to respond to the world around us. We are active participants. I imagine another ‘you’ would be more like a twin or a sibling than you.”

“That’s the best way to look at it,” Richard agrees with a tip of his head, “A twin, maybe, raised far away from you without any knowledge you ever existed. It’s a little more complicated depending on where the deviance is, but– that’s basically it.”

He shakes his head, “Never meet yourself if you can help it, though. Life’s full of enough existential quandaries.”

"It certainly is," Nadira muses, "and I doubt I will ever get that sort of opportunity. It is a curious thing to think about what you would be like should you have taken a different path in life. I have always been satisfied with the choices I have made, given what the world has given me. It is very interesting to me that Robyn feels the need to meet herself. It is… not the choice I would have made."

“You never know. Life tends to take strange turns…” Richard chuckles softly, “…especially around us. So if you tag along to Anchor, who knows what’ll happen? Things will probably get more interesting than any of us expected.”

A shrug, then, “We’re going to see her father’s alternate. She’s never met the man. Didn’t even know he was her father. Makes sense to ask herself about him.”

"When I tag along, not if. Do you have a plan for managing finding clean water along the way? Because if you do not… it is very convenient you know someone who can both find and filter water." Nadira cracks a smile, then takes a sip from her glass before continuing. "Family gets complicated. I am not sure I would want to be the one seeking out such a thing, but she must have a plan for how to handle it. That is going to be a lot of personal drama to handle most likely."

“Family’s always complicated,” mutters Richard in agreement with a shake of his head, “I don’t envy her. Already dealt with enough weird family matters, to be honest…” One hand comes up, fingers scratching under his chin, “And I’m certainly not saying no, quite the opposite. Your ability’ll come in handy.”

He flashes a quick smile of his own, “And once we get up there, well, lotta ice and snow around.”

“I tend to prefer the family I make to blood,” Nadira takes a long sip. “I like having a choice in the matter. The freedom to choose is always something I value. I will say I will have to practice a bit if it comes to ice and snow. I am used to filtering salt water or moving it from place to place, but I have barely gotten the chance to try it under other circumstances.”

There’s a small glint in her eye that almost screams of the desire for something different for once.

“The last time I was up that way, in Alaska…” Richard cants his head back a bit, recalling, “We had a hydrokinetic with us. A strong one. He turned the snow and ice into weapons against the people we were fighting, it was–” A smile, “Impressive.”

“Water’s in a lot of things. Most common element on the planet.”

“The flood is not something I could have ever anticipated. Even before it, it was a strong ability that could be used for many things but now it feels as if it has given me purpose. I can help many people in many ways and I consider it a gift.”

Nadira’s smile as she reaches for her glass is genuine, almost someone at peace amidst the chaos. “It does not define me as a person, but it gives me something to give back to the world. I am grateful for that. I do wonder if another of me would feel the same.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Richard replies with a chuckle, shaking his head, “They’re someone else. The only you is you.”

He turns a bit, head moving in an instinctive sweep to make sure nobody’s paying too much attention to him - them - at the bar before he turns back to Nadira, “And that’s all that matters there, in the end.”

"Perhaps," Nadira agrees, a bit of an amused smile on her face. "Not everyone faces the same challenges in life nor overcomes them the same way. That is the beauty of people, is it not? It is impossible to create the same thing exactly the same way. It is interesting to think of what things shape us as people." She raises her glass. "But it sounds as if you've had to deal with a little too much of that in your life."

She half-glances over her shoulder, perhaps to double check with Richard's actions to make sure there's nothing she notices that he does not.

“I’ve given that question… way too much thought, you’re not wrong,” admits Richard with a shake of his head, “Way too much thought.”

He reaches for the bottle, “You ever meet Griffin Mihangle, on this side of things? Beanpole of a guy, bad hair.”

“Perhaps you need to direct your thoughts to something more productive. Sometimes hypotheticals can lead to overthinking.” She holds out her glass in case he’d pour her more. “Griffin Mihangle? I cannot say that I have. I would remember a unique name.”

She shrugs. “Is this person important or something?”


The bottle’s tipped to fill Nadira’s glass, and Richard smiles wryly, “Someone you’re better off never having met, in the long run, and we’ll leave it at that.”

He raises the bottle in a salute, then, and brings it up to tip back to his lips.

Nadira offers a smile to him in reply, then raises her glass as well. "I shall trust you on that, then. You do clearly have more information that I do anyway. I do not turn my nose up at a situation where someone might help me have a leg up." She brings the glass to her lips, but then pauses for a moment.

"You know, I have a feeling that being around you makes things interesting and I have not found something this sort of interesting in a very long time."

“Information’s always been my stock in trade, really,” Richard admits, lowering the bottle and tilting it towards her, “And interesting times, too, although it tends to be more the chinese curse sort of situation.”

“But interesting? Always.”

Nadira takes a long sip from her glass. "Information is a good trade. I have certainly done some trading to make sure I am kept up to date as to things in the area. Probably not as much as I would like, but I have been busy." She doesn't hide the chuckle at the mention of chinese curses. "Interesting can certainly be bad or good, as can trouble, but interesting can also mean purpose."

She taps her fingers lightly on the table. "I have done a lot of good here, I think. It felt like the right thing to do when all of this happened and I had an ability that could make an impact. But I have always felt like there is a purpose to it, more than the obvious. You do not get given a gift like this and not have a purpose for it. You have found an interesting path, and I get the feeling that my gift will make a difference in it as well."

She pauses with a sudden grin. "That and it does sound fun as well."

“Well, then, I hope not to disappoint you,” Richard replies with a wry smile, an eyebrow lifting, “I can’t deny that it can be fun sometimes, but… well, you’ve got to make those moments for yourself in the middle of all the rest of it. As far as purpose…”

He looks down at the bottle, musing, “You just might be more right there than you know, Nadira.”

"Believe me when I say I know what you mean about making moments," Nadira agrees, glancing over towards him as she seems to reflect. "Moments of calm between the storms are sometimes all we have. Sometimes what we have is sitting in a bar, drinking, knowing there is a long journey ahead." She does, however, raise an eyebrow at his thought on purpose. "Perhaps I am. I feel as if I have been waiting to see what my next step was."

“Ah, if we get into a conversation about free will we’ll be here all night, though,” Richard chuckles, shaking his head, “Predestination becomes a little more weighty when you know people capable of causing it are out there in the world.”

An eyebrow lifts, “Just remember, one person in the right or wrong place can make all the difference.”

Nadira grins. "Free will is a conversation that should only be had with much, much more alcohol first. I will not dare to approach the subject currently. I suppose that, in the simplest terms, I was in the right place at the right time to save some people when the waters rose. I was in the right place when it came to needing purified water to survive for many people here. I have a good record of right places, and I would very much like to go where something I can do is needed. I have helped here, but I would be of better use somewhere that I am more than just a water purifier. The prospect of working with snow, seeing how my ability can interact with water in a different form… I hate to admit but you have sparked my desire to stretch my limits and see what it is I am capable of. That is not something I have done in a very long time."

“Hear, hear,” agrees Richard with the mention of more alcohol, bringing the bottle up in a salute, “Definitely not enough alcohol for that sort of philosophy tonight. Whatever it is, though– purpose, fate, coincidence– you’ll definitely be one of the most useful members of the expedition for your ability alone, not even counting your charming personality.” He grins, “Maybe start experimenting with ice cubes.”

"I appreciate the thought that I could be 'one of the most useful', though the charming personality is really what you are selling me on," Nadira grins in his direction before the glass is at her lips again to take a long drink. "Compliments always sweeten a pot." She pauses, her train of thought switching gears for the moment. "I believe the problem I have run across is that I am unsure that I can change the state of the water. That is, to control it in another state. I have been able to pull liquid water from things, a great many things, but it almost seems as if I have only been able to use it as a liquid. Still very powerful, I imagine a great deal of energy would be created by pulling the water from ice, perhaps enough to melt or condense into a liquid state."

Her grin widens. "I have thought a lot about this and its potential uses. Provided there is a way to harness the energy created in the changing of forms, it could be an easy and ample power source. Water is, after all, all around us."

“You’re already changing the state of it when you control and move it,” Richard observes with a tilt of his hand her way, eyebrows lifting a little, “Chances are you’re running into a mental block you created for yourself because of how you’re thinking about it. Most of the limitations that we run into with our abilities are like that.”

“Once you free your mind, the world’s your oyster, as someone said once. Probably.”

"You may be right. I have not fully considered the idea of the limitations simply being a mental block rather than a physical constraint, a semblance of capacity as to what I can do. Would have been nice to have you a few years ago for encouragement. The company would not have been bad either," Nadira grins, then lets out a laugh at the idiom. "'The world is your oyster' is a strange phrase and I am not sure if it loses something in translation or if the context has been lost to time. It would seem strange to compare the world to something you, for lack of a better word, slurp down and throw away the shell. No offense to you or your use of it, just a… thought."

“It never made a lot of sense to me either,” Richard laughs, shaking his head, “I guess it means something being served up to you like a treat, or something– I don’t know, I don’t even eat oysters. Well. I guess if I lived here for long I’d probably start, I imagine clams and stuff is pretty popular around these parts…”

"I think popular is the wrong word you are looking for. Perhaps 'tiresome' or 'everyday' would work better. It is more of what there is plenty of. There is plenty of water, and plenty of things that somehow survive in the water. You would be amazed to find out just how many types of seaweed are edible and have other uses," Nadira scratches the back of her head, then smiles sheepishly. "It is a very stark contrast. I only came to the New York area not long before things changed. I lived in Egypt before that. I will say that the climate is something everyone had to get used to, but for me it was the difference between night and day."

She takes a sip before she laughs. "I suppose it is a little ironic, to be coming from somewhere with little water to somewhere with too much."

“Man,” Richard’s head cants a bit to one side, looking thoughtful, “I wonder what Egypt’s like now… I imagine the rising waters must have spilled right down the delta, right? Things must be so much different these days, I hadn’t even thought beyond– “ A vague motion of his hand, “The US, really, silly of me.”

He looks back over, an eyebrow lifting, “So what brought you to New York, originally?”

"I can't possibly imagine what it would be like now, but certainly everything I knew will have changed. It is no longer the place I grew up in and when I left it, I knew I would not come back," Nadira gestures around. "New York seemed like a great place to start a new life. I ran into some trouble with some people who had a bit more control over the local area than I had anticipated. It was safer to go as far as possible and I had always wanted to visit."

“Ah, say no more,” Richard shakes his head, “Once upon a time, I– well, let’s just say I understand how that sort of thing can be. I’ve led a very interesting life, and not one that went in the straight lines that most do…”

He chuckles, “Who knows? Might have saved your life. Or mine!”

"I believe the move to New York saved me, then surviving the Flood was a bit more of me saving myself," Nadira swirls the alcohol in her glass before she decides to pour another. "I like to think that my path ebbed and flowed. It was certainly on target as to where anyone thought it would be, especially myself."

She smiles. "Interesting lives can be difficult ones, but they tend to shape great people."

Richard lets out a sudden, amused snort of humor at that. “Now you’re laying it on too think, if you’re trying to call me a great person.” He waves the bottle at her playfully, “Keep that up and I’m going to think you’re hitting on me. I’m just someone who has a talent of being in the wrong place at the right time, is all.”

"Ah, I said they shape great people. Everyone is at different points along that path and you clearly are not done with yours," Nadira replies, "I did not say you are great yet. That is something I have yet to entirely determine." She raises her glass up as if to toast him. "If you are confused about the potential of flirting, I could lay it on thicker so you can be more aware, it is no problem." A smile accompanies her laugh before she takes a sip of her drink. "The wrong place at the right time simply means that you have to adapt and make it the right place. You already have half of the problem solved and timing is a much more difficult thing to pin down."

“I mean, it never hurts to be clear about things,” Richard replies with a laugh of his own, raising the bottle up and tilting it towards her glass in a return toast before taking a swig from it directly. Wiping his lips on the sleeve of his coat, he admits, “I’ve never really felt like a great person to be honest. Those kind of people end up in the history books. I’ve a footnotes-and-conspiracy-theories kind of legacy, I think, for the most part.”

He shifts himself to sit up a bit straighter, one hand lifting to push back through his hair, “Timing is everything, though, you’ve got that right better than you know. Don’t bother with time travel, though. Causes more trouble than it’s worth.”

“I thought I was the interesting one for controlling water amidst a great flood,” Nadira does sound amused, there’s at least some playfulness to her half-serious and half-joking banter. “History books are not always the most accurate. They tend to leave important things out and entirely erase the existence of others. You do not need to measure greatness by the amount of times someone writes your name on a piece of paper and shows it to others.”

The wry grin she gives next is telling. “Were that how one became great, I promise I will write your name repeatedly on a scrap piece of paper in your honor. Great people are not perfect people, they are people who find a calling and believe in it.”

Richard can’t help but laugh at that, shaking his head, “A literal message in a bottle, eh? Actually… that’s not a bad idea.” A fleeting thought passes through his head, it seems, before he dissolves in chuckles again and sets down the bottle, “I appreciate the thought, regardless.”

“At the moment,” he flashes her a grin, “You are probably the greater one, for having all that hydro-power in the midst of the deluge.”

“It does make others think of me as someone of importance, but I like to think that it is merely a help on the way there and it is whatever I make of it. Anyone could have been the one to have this gift, but it turns out to be me. Would you have walked the same path I did if the roles were reversed?”

Nadira grins in his direction. “I wanted to escape a situation I got in over my head with and become a bartender. Instead, the world floods and I find myself trying to take care of people the world still cannot find enough value in and those who need to find a place. Most of that is not born from me filtering water. It certainly put me in a stronger position and made people respect what I could do. I am no person of power, I am someone who tries to rescue people who are drowning and give them a cup of fresh water to drink.”

“No, no, but that says a lot more about you than anything, really,” Richard says, waving a hand a bit dismissively, “Think about it. Given your power, given the state of the world…” He looks around generally at the room, then back to her with a lopsided smile that’s only a little influenced by the alcohol.

“You could be a conqueror, a tyrant, a power to be reckoned with– but you aren’t. Because that’s not who you are.”

“That just means I did not take the easy route,” Nadira’s grin is broad. “How much easier it must be to flood a garden than to add just enough water to get something good from the soil. I like the challenge of doing things the way I do.” She gestures at him as she goes back to drinking before continuing. “I think if I was just here without my ability, I would still be in here, I would just be tending the bar and not enjoying drinks with you. Things would have been different, but not perhaps different enough.”

“If you want to see who someone really is,” Richard shrugs, “You give them power, and put them in a situation to abuse it. You passed that test with flying colors.”

“And that, more than anything else, is why I want you with us. I know you can be trusted– to a point, at least.” A grin, “More than that, we’ll have to see.”

“Should you need it, the most important skill I have is that I can tell you if someone is watering down your alcohol to make it last longer,” Nadira states, flashing him a grin before nodding to the bottle. “That is the best bottle in here, most likely. One of the perks of what I can do is that I can occasionally get a nice favor thrown my way. Such as the good alcohol,” she lifts her glass in another faux cheer.

“It will be good to be somewhere else for a while. I never understood the concept of ‘wanderlust’ until after the flood waters came. It is not exactly as if I could set off alone to explore or travel to places outside of this small bubble.”

“Well, then let’s hope for a journey that’s interesting in good ways,” Richard raises a hand, “Good company, beautiful vistas, and a welcome in Anchor that’s nothing like the last time I visited Alaska.”

“I feel as if I should not inquire as to your last visit to Alaska, as I fear you would likely need an entire new bottle simply from the way you say the word ‘Alaska’,” Nadira makes a small chuckling sound. “I will do my best to make your Alaska boring.”

“I don’t have a great history going to places with a lot of snow,” Richard says a bit deadpan, giving his head a wry shake, “Let’s leave it at that. Although like I said, the giant ice man thing– pret-ty cool.”

He picks the bottle up again, considering it, then glances over with a twitch of a smile, “Not too boring, I hope.”

“I will have you know, things with me around are never entirely boring. I will simply hope the trek to Alaska will not be troublesome. Boring is not always very fun, especially when you are stuck with the same people for long periods of time,” Nadira smiles wryly back in his direction.

“I can certainly think of worse lovely women to be stuck with for a long trip,” Richard replies without missing a beat, setting the bottle down then with a chuckle, shaking his head, “I’m sure it’ll go fine. No horrible disasters at all.”

“I shall take that as the compliment it is and simply hope that you are not stuck with any of these ‘worse women’, I warn you that I can be very blunt about certain things and fond of speaking my mind, so I am not entirely sure you know what you are getting into,” Nadira raises an eyebrow at him, leaning an arm on the table and resting with her chin on her hand.”

She frowns only slightly. “You sound as if you really do expect a horrible disaster ahead.”

“I…” Richard looks at the bottle for a silent moment, his smile fading at that before he forces it back, straightening up and dismissing his own words, “Ha, listen to me. Definitely had too much to drink already– I’m sure everything’s going to go fine, honestly.”

He shifts to push himself up to his feet abruptly, “I should probably get back to the boat, though. Thanks for drinking with me…”

Nadira doesn't move from her position leaning on the table, but her eyes follow him as he gets up. "It is okay to worry about the future," she notes, glancing at the bottle, her glass, then Richard again. "I am also prepared for there to be things that go wrong. Should there be something you know that will help make any of your group react better or more safely, I suggest you make sure you let them know ahead of time."

She glances back at him again. "The good thing about alcohol is that sometimes it allows people to be more honest than they feel they could be otherwise. Just be careful and keep me informed, alright?"

“Ah, I’m just a pessimist about these things sometimes,” Richard shakes his head, “I don’t know anything, but it’s a long trip and we don’t really know what’s between us and there, so– but we’ve got a solid group going, and enough power to handle whatever’s thrown out way. It’ll work out fine.”

Knuckles rap on the wooden bar - the old superstition - and he offers her a slight smile before turning to step away, “G’night, Nadira.”

“You play the pessimist and I will play the optimist so we will cover both sides,” Nadira says, a wink in his direction before he turns to leave. “Goodnight, Richard.”

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