The War of Art
Roleplaying Log: The War of Art
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Kate Kane and Emma Frost get together after the incident in Metropolis at Frost International's branch opening party.

Other Characters Referenced: Bruce Wayne, Akari Takahashi, Lois Lane
IC Date: October 13, 2019
IC Location: Hellfire Club, NYC, NY
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 16 Feb 2020 06:21
Rating & Warnings: G
Scene Soundtrack: Art of War by Vanessa Mae
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The evening of Frost International’s first public event in Metropolis had been chaotic to say the least.

But that’s not to say that Kate Kane’s appearance and support had gone amiss that night. It’s just that there was so much that needed Emma Frost’s attention in the weeks that followed. There was an interview with Lois Lane, and seemingly endless meetings as the blonde known for her cutthroat business tactics put her fingerprints over every single business relationship that previously belonged to Takahashi Industries.

And she shamelessly dragged her new VP in Metropolis, her war captive Akari Takahashi, as needed. She was tasteful about it, at least, in that she didn’t make Takahashi’s daughter and scion appear in actual manacles.

Let it never be said that Emma Frost does not know how to display mercy and restraint.

But eventually, she finds herself with a very rare thing:

A free evening on the schedule. She has Tasha Beaumont, trusted assistant, begin juggling the calendar to give her time enough to go home for a couple of days.

And so, several days in advance, Kate Kane will find that—through her Hellfire channels—there is an invitation to meet, drink, and smoke at the townhouse on 5th Avenue, if she’s amenable.


How Katherine Rebecca Kane Spent Her Days Following the Event:

Katherine Rebecca Kane is collapsed on her back on her favorite sofa, half-undressed, pants three-fourths of the way kicked off her legs for at least -one- pantsleg, one arm sprawled so insistently against the accent table behind her it has knocked off three different, expensive things, including the lamp, that she got from… she doesn't actually remember, Catherine was explaining why it was important and she sort of zoned out.

Her phone is resting (mashing) against her face in such a way that when the ring goes off for that advanced notice to meet with a familiar face —

"SHOLY FHIT WHAT IS FUCKING MY HEAD"

that happens.

CRASH

To her credit, when Katherine Rebecca Kane answers after she has rolled right off the bed in sheer, stupified shock, she is the epitome of cool charm.

She's amenable, she says, as long as the world isn't going to end this time. She doesn't even sound groggy about it.

And so it is that Kate is the epitome of calm ease and comfortable confidence as her motorcycle rounds the corner on a townhouse. Losing her jacket, the today the redheaded Kane heiress is dressed in a sleeveless white button-up, rainbow-suspenders and a splash of red affecting a stylish and expensive way to brandish the punk brand; red pants of a white and black plaid are a pencil affair; it goes well with the polished shoes, the dark red of her lips, and how that short red hair is styled in such a dramatically upswept way in the front it'd put even the most 80s-retro of artists to shame.

It's probably the way that she makes it all feel like the most natural thing in the world as she plucks up a bottle of wine she's brought with her on the trip over and strides her way to knock exactly once that sells it, though.

One'd never know she was the person who couldn't even get her pants off before she passed out and ruined her step-mom's favorite lamp to look at her now.


Look, it's not as though Emma herself had tried to end the world. Quite the latter, really, as there are no shortage of things that the blonde has come to appreciate. The Club… Well, it's a mixed bag, really. But there are ever the advantages to membership, aren't there?

One of the big ones, however, is that Kate is absolutely greeted by all of the amenities and security that make a Hellfire Club property. She'll be shown in, expected, and escorted into the private room that Frost is making herself available in.It's not a large room, but rather it has all of the feelings of an Englishman's study. Of special note is the fire that's already been lit to keep out the early autumn chill, the pair of ox-blood leather wing chairs in front of it, and the blonde presently sitting in one of the chairs with her legs crossed and her eyes closed until just a beat after Kate's being announced.

She turns her attention towards the door and even lifts herself to her feet, betraying the curve-clinging snow-white bustier and fitted slacks that comprise today's outfit. "Miss Kane," she greets, her voice possessed of that polite musicality perfected for the initial strains of conversation. "How lovely you could make it! Thank you so much for coming out. Do join me?"

There's a few other things laid out nearby. A few botles of fine spirits. A box of cigars. A tin of cigarettes. There's a small scent upon the air - above the luxury of the wood-burning fire - that Frost has likely already been into the last of them.


Sometimes parties end in apocalypses. That's just the hallmark of a successful party; bonus points if it's averted.

It is known.

Kate Kane is all easy smiles and casual greetings for the help as she makes her way through the familiar luxuries that the Hellfire Club provides. She might not be the most steadfast member - in fact, it'd be easy to call her a fair weather one only in it for said luxuries, and that's how she'd prefer it - but she's old hat at these sorts of things.

Maybe that, or that unassailable swagger, are why she can greet Emma Frost with a lopsided smile that does not look the least bit anxious by how comparatively out of place her choice of outfit is today; also, likely why she can lean herself against the doorframe and hold up a bottle of wine and dangle it between her fore and middle fingers with a decisively upturned eyebrow like she were offering manna from heaven in -spite- of the obvious sight of those fine spirits just within her field of vision.

"Ms. Frost," she greets back, voice a light contrast to the melodic strains of Emma's own. "Hope you don't mind, but I was taught you always bring favors for a host when you're invited to a get together." Dangle dangle.

"And I thought, 'what's more favorable than a bottle of Screaming Eagle'?"

Pearly white teeth flashing in a grin, she pushes off the door frame and makes her way in, bottle lifted in offering. "You kinda struck me as the full-bodied type," she notes, jokingly. "It's good to see you. Honestly, I thought you would have been buried under a mountain of paperwork for the next 75 years. Isn't that what happened to Captain America?"


The turn in phrase about the wine is appreciated, and it pulls Emma's mouth unevenly upwards into an amused smirk. "Guilty as charged," she replies, shrugging with all due acceptance. Her manicured hands reach to take the bottle, the hired help dismissed with little more than a wordless glance.

She's an institution here. They know what comes if her subtleties are ignored.

And it's only once she's got the thing in hand so that she can open and pour for them both that the mind witch will continue on. "It's good to see you, too, when the sky isn't looking to make Chicken Littles of us all. Although, it was very kind of you to be there that night, too. Honestly, I probably would have been buried if I didn't have a local arm of legal in the building out there who is… motivated after some recent shuffling. It's most decidedly in their best interest to ensure I am assuredly not next in line to become a living fossil."

She pours one measure, and then two. She turns and holds one of them out to the redhead, glass dangling from the pads of her fingertips. "You'll join me, of course, won't you?"


"You know, I always thought the moral of that story was not to give in to unreasonable fear," Kate notes mildly as the help shuffle out behind her; she has the good grace to offer them all a friendly, two-fingered salute before she leans herself into the back of a nearby chair, thumbs hooked into her plaid pants pockets as she watches Emma open her offering of expensive red vintage.

"Now I'm starting to think it's 'never stop staring at the sky because there's a 50-50 chance an evil asteroid is going to try to hammer a crater into you.'"

And here, of course, Kate huffs a sigh, and shakes her head, with an understated, and utterly false, gloomy smile.

"Guess things you read as a kid really -do- look different when you go back to them as an adult, huh?"

There's that telltale sparkle in those green eyes in the aftermath of the professional layabout's amateur guitarist's piece as they follow the turn of her blonde companion. Her head cocks, and the corner of her red lips quirk up.

"I don't know. Drinking? I don't want to get in over my head." She says this, but Kate's deft fingers are already securing the neck of that offered glass in a fluid motion, watching the dark red swirl in its crystal-clear trappings as she speaks. "Well — as long as we exercise restraint, it should be fine, right?" She holds up that glass, just enough so that her smile is clear past the warping turn of bending glass and strong wine.

"But you know, if nothing else, you'd make a pretty fossil," she remarks in her cheers, before bringing her glass to her lips. "And maybe in seventy five years the world would be a little bit less of a headache." A second passes.

"And maybe tonight we can drink enough that I'll actually believe that."


There’s a subtle toast offered, and the mind witch meets both it and the compliment contained within it with a subtle lift to her own glass and a bow of her head to offer her wordless appreciation. Of course, she honors the ancient superstition by not drinking to her own self. She drinks to the world and the fanciful notion that it could ever know how to not be a burden upon those who live in it.

“I don’t know…” Emma replies with a clearly wicked note that matches well with the renewed impishness to her smile and gaze. “I have this suspicion that would require a great deal of drinking, and we all know that this is an establishment that reveres restraint in its membership.”

Moving to fluidly settle once more in front of the fire and its hypnotic flames, she crosses her long legs and leans a little against one of her seat’s wings.

“I do hope you’ll forgive me for dragging you all the way over here. I thought about skipping over to Gotham, but I just have so little business over there.” She chuckles. “Aside from seeing the strange land that birthed the infamous Kite Man, I suppose.” She shrugs helplessly, and then continues. “I saw your cousin not that long ago. An art show. I was surprised to see Bruce so far from home for a smaller gallery’s opening night.”

It’s a subtle press for gossip. Polite enough.

Less polite is the way that Frost watches the unseen world of thoughts. She doesn’t dive deeply, but she’s certainly keeping her awareness wrapped around Kane’s surface thoughts.


Kate doesn't sit. Not quite yet, at least. She makes a comfortable perch out of that chair back, somehow looking slouched and yet full of her own impeccable sense of assurance. It's an odd fit that should be contradictory.

Billions of dollars in eccentricity means Kate makes it work with aplomb.

"Don't even mention it. I like taking a little detour sometimes, when I have reason to," she assures Emma with sublime nonchalance seconds before she tips back that wine to savor another sip. "I mean, I have a pretty busy schedule. A lot of demands to my time…"

<FOOTAGE NOT FOUND>

"… but you know what they say: when it's important, make time."

And what's more important than drinking wine and gossiping?

"Besides, Kite Man is all tied up at the moment, so you're not missing much anyway. Hear that's a problem with kites."

She waits, of course, for the invisible drum sting, before she casts a glance over her shoulder at Emma, one brow lifted.

"You know Bruce," she says, after a moment. "Always looking for all the wrong ways to have fun."

A subtle press for gossip. An answer that reads:

<god, bruce is such a buzzkill>

More or less. Maybe minus the 'god.' Kate still keeps the faith alive.

It's a corner stone to any number of other thoughts arranged in a neat, tidy row about her cousin. He works too hard. Puts on a polite face too much. He needs to let his hair down. Something about when she should next strategically deploy calling him 'Brucie' in a public setting. He's too single. /She's/ too single, why is she even harassing him about that? God, now she's thinking about that, she needs a drink.

Katherine Rebecca Kane takes a long, slow sip of her drink.

"Maybe he was here with some new beau. I hear he likes to take them to art galleries. Makes him look very cultured." A second passes. "Do people even use that word beau anymore?"


The terrible pun only gets the outward effect of a wry smirk, and a lift of Emma's flaxen eyebrows. It's in her job description, she's entirely certain in the tiny print somewhere along with 'other duties as assigned', to be the ever vigilant highbrow. Still, some measure of genuine amusement lurks behind glacial pale eyes.

But do people even use the word 'beau' anymore? "Only the people worth knowing," is Emma's swift judgment. "But, alas, he was on my arm for a good part of the evening, so the mystery Manhattan maid must lurk elsewhere, if she exists." And she might.

She also might not, which makes Bruce's traveling a little more suspect.

The telepath gleans shamelessly from Kate's far greater experience with the man, tucking away the notes for whatever their worth. "That is to say, I can think of worse ways to spend an evening than an art show. But I can appreciate that they might not be everyone's glass of sherry."


Only the people worth knowing.

"See, that's why I like you." Kate Kane pointedly lifts her glass.

"You enable me."

And with that, Kate fluidly pushes off the back of that seat and into a straight(ish) position. She turns, circling her seat, free hand sifting through her upswept mass of short red hair as she considers Emma with those keen green eyes. "Nothing wrong with art," she says, offering a smile suffused with lopsided charm. "I'm sure you know how to make event the most failed attempts at avant-garde seem interesting at an expo. I dated someone like that once. She was so passionate about it, it was kind of infectious. I never felt so small as when she started talking about post-impressionism's influence on symbolism in art."

She settles comfortably into her seat. Thoughts drift from Bruce as she rests her left ankle over her right knee, glass in hand dangling off the side of an armrest. "Point is, I guess, you can learn a lot about a thing you know nothing about in a really short amount of time when you're trying to impress someone. I now know an empty, uprooted toilet is dadaist. That's never gonna leave me."

She leans into her other armrest; her chin props on her fist, brows lifted. Her thoughts rubber band towards Bruce. Interest. In—?

"So, are -you- trying to make an impression on Brucie?"

There.

Nailed it.

almost as satisfying as if he were here


Emma does seek to enable, but that's supposed to be part of the charm of their particular mutual association. Do as you will, and the rest be damned. She accepts the accusation proudly, her hands spreading to her side as she sits to bask in its dark light as though preparing to bow.

And as Kate dances over the familiar beats of the alien territory that is contemporary art — holding aloft the work of its father, Duchamps, for inspection — the blonde wordlessly concedes the redhead's points. But then?

Then Brucie.

The soft laugh that escapes Emma's painted lips strikes a particularly genuine note of mirth, not often heard. That amusement stays in her eyes long after the sound of it dies. "'Trying' allows some margin for failure. If I was seeking such a thing, I'd have done it already." Emma Frost is as confident of that fact as she is of her own name. And Kate would be hard pressed to find anyone who'd argue counter to it. She shrugs. "I have a reputation to uphold and all."


Laughter. She might even remember it next time she sees Bruce. A well-planted weapon in familial warfare.

Kate counts this as a personal win.

Draining the rest of her glass with nothing to show for it but a satisfied sigh, the redheaded Kane heiress sets it aside with a crystal clink so that she might better spread her hands, palms up in concession. She is the utter face of defeat.

Save that twinkle in her eyes.

"Okay, touché," she announces with all due solemnity. "Forgive me for questioning your sterling reputation, Ms. Frost. I see now I was a grand fool. If I can say but one word in my defense — I haven't had nearly enough to drink yet to be as charming as I usually am."

It's a friendly grin that takes over then as Kate leans back anew. One hand rests at the back of her pale neck, rubbing at it mildly as she looks forward.

"Bruce might spend an unhealthy amount of time in Gotham," she asides, after a moment. "But he still travels, sometimes. Usually it's for business. He has a hard time leaving, after…"

She doesn't finish that thought out loud. Emma can probably complete it for her, with those surface scans.

A gunshot in an alley. Kate's brows furrow.

"… I can't blame him. I just have the opposite problem."


Emma can, and Emma does.

She might not even need it, if she cared to work enough to fill in the gap for herself with some rarely dredged up remembrances. After all, for everything that Emma's less savory circle in particular cherishes - the backstabbing, the scheming, the striving - there are some things that don't sit well. The deaths in the upper echelon by those not their own.

Granted, Frost is a little young to have some deep, personal memory associated with the historical fact, but the point is that she - like so many others - are very well acquainted with the fact all the same.

All of that to say, Emma drinks. Deeply. And she pushes herself back up to her feet with her glass in tow. She comes and wordlessly collects Kate's, too, all for the sole purpose of pouring fresh measures for them both.

It's easier than talking right away, because Kate's effectively thrown potential landmines all over their nice conversation space.

"Well," she says, once the glasses are poured and she's walked back over to return Kate's to her, then I'm glad he came." She's not entirely certain she believes, but she says it anyway and sounds like she does. She waits a beat, granting herself a moment to settle back into chair before looking in Kate's direction and grinning impishly. "If for no other reason than Chelsea is clearly the superior place to be if one is going to take in the arts."

No, you weren't mistaken. That was absolutely a dig at the Gotham art scene.


If nothing else, Kate has a gift for conversation.

And derailing them.

Being a charming disaster (not her words) (many other peoples' words) (the charming part might be hers) has its advantages.

For example, that long pause of silence that stretches in stillness somehow despite the fact that Kate's generous host is currently pouring them fresh drinks. It diverts the conversation with all the subtle nuance and expertise of running a train off the rails and into a ravine, but it's far from a picnic for Kate. Setting up a minefield like this invites potentially tripping up one yourself in the process.

Kate Kane's thoughts are not pleasant things to be dwelling in right now, that much is certain.

It's maybe remarkable, then, how much of it doesn't quite reach those pale features. Or how her red lips quirk into that same kind of magnetic smile she manages so effortlessly when she hears Emma speak again. Maybe it's in the subtle things, like how she takes her refilled glass a bit more quickly than normal, or how she drains the contents with slightly bigger sips than before.

But she bounces back with the aplomb of an ace in anguish as she quirks her brow at Emma in the most teasingly of challenging ways.

"Oh, no. I know you didn't go there, Emma Frost," she begins gravely, her voice full of deathly seriousness.

"I may be Gotham's most disastrous daughter but even I have my pride, and it is firmly affixed to the city's tasteful" over"abundance of the subtle mastercraft of art deco."

She raises her glass. Points it at Emma accusingly. Her eyes are sharp as knives, and glint with the same dazzling polish. It complements the upward twitch of the right corner of her lips well.

"You may be my dear friend, Emma, but you just earned yourself a tiresome art debate."

This means war.


Emma smiles sweetly and raises her glass towards Kate to answer the challenge, tilting her head in such a way that her face becomes briefly shadowed by the flaxen curls that fall to either side of it. "If you consider art debates tiresome, then you might consider conceding to me the victory now. Manhattan is a leader in the arts, and I make good money for my art foundation debating that very fact."

She drops her head low, and a downright wicked smile takes her own mouth. "And I can do it all. Night. Long."

She leans back in her chair, settling her head against the comfortable cushion of it and stretching her feet just an inch more towards the fire because landmines are most easily avoided when both parties are of a mind to vacate the dangerous territory altogether.

"So, Kate. Let's absolutely start by talking about Gotham's greatest and most distinctive claim to culture… that it stole from France."

Okay. Maybe it's more of a trading of ground. But the company is good. The alcohol is good. The numbness that can be found in combining the two in generous measure will be divine.

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