Fallen Angel
Roleplaying Log: Fallen Angel
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Backscene. Six years ago, after running away from an incident, Roberto da Costa is eventually convinced to return to the place in which he belongs by the most unlikely of persons.

Other Characters Referenced: Vanisher
IC Date: January 01, 2019
IC Location: Beat Street, New York City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 02 Jan 2019 00:18
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

SIX YEARS AGO…

After the three days since he fell in with the Fallen Angels, Roberto da Costa remains somewhat of a mystery to her.

He had come into her life and the lives of the members of the Vanisher's small crew of young and rebellious ne'erdowells in a literal blaze of glory on the verge of getting tragically snuffed out, a young mutant carrying his belongings in one bag and cornered by a hostile group of dangerous criminals determined to carve out a piece of Hell's Kitchen for themselves, and attempting to teach them that he was no ordinary youth trying to make his way in the big city. The scrap that followed had gotten violent, to the point where she and a couple of other Angels have been forced to intervene; turf wars between small groups are hardly uncommon, but in the end she had learned a few things about their new addition that day - namely that things tend to go south for him by the evening hours.

Genetically.

He had sustained minor scrapes and injuries, which the Vanisher had taken care of, and she thought, perhaps, that would be the end of it.

She was wrong.

He was a hothead, and often returning to Beat Street - the three-story music venue which has become the Angels' unofficial headquarters - with more injuries than he came with the day before, burning with a deep-seated kind of anger that she doesn't just recognize, but calls to her own. She was never the kind to interject herself into the life of another human being, having maintained a relatively self-interested existence since leaving home a just a year ago, cursing and blessing herself with the determination to catch up on everything that she has missed and whatever had been denied her for her whole life. But 'Bobby' was different…and the same.

She doesn't profess to be a mindreader, but if there is anyone around who is terribly familiar with the signs, it was her.

Tabitha doesn't bother to knock on the door to the room that the Vanisher had set aside for Bobby's use - a temporary home for him to unleash his temper and find his bearings, should the former ever abate. She is dressed in the style that she often favors in the Fall, a tried and true template that she reverts to whenever she doesn't feel like trying something new - as rare as that is: a plaid skirt, ankle boots and black stockings that come up to the mid-thigh, paired with a button-down, long-sleeved shirt rolled up to just underneath the elbows and a leather jacket. A knit cap holds back some of her hair, though most of the pale-gold tresses have escaped it, tumbled down in a windswept mass.

She carries a tray with first aid accouterments and a small bottle of Jameson with a shotglass.

Eyes the color of frozen lightning fall towards the windows overlooking the street, dark and spangled with nearby and distant lights, heralding the late hour. Inclining her head over towards the Angels' new conscript, she flashes him a grin, razor-sharp and liable to cut like a knife; a hint of the devil, and arguably her true nature underneath her more seraphic trappings.

"Heard you got into it again," she says breezily, toeing the door shut and moving towards him. "Lemme see, yeah?"

—-

It was conflict that brought him.

Not external conflict, no. There was plenty of that to be had at the Institute, even for a member of the 'second class' like Roberto da Costa, but that place had been home to him for a few years now… A home that had welcomed him when his own had cast him out, become untenable. No, the things that had driven him to leave, to run away in the middle of the night - already a chancey proposition on its own - lurked entirely within himself. A letter that had made him think of things he'd long since forgotten. A loss of control, a hurt friend.

Anger, yes, anger. Anger and shame.

This place seemed about right to Bobby currently, the kind of place to lose himself. Maybe it was poetic: His father had crawled out of the favela, made himself a man to be feared, a powerful businessman with international reach and vast wealth and resources. And now he had fled from comfort, from ease, to lose himself in the kind of places that mutants who aren't nearly as lucky as he is live out short, difficult, forgotten lives.

When Tabby lets herself into his room, showing about as much respect for other people's personal space as you might expect, the 'new recruit' is shirtless, stripped to the waist. Even before he'd started training at Xavier's, he'd been a star athlete. A soccer player, a boxer, all lean muscle under dark skin, refined further by the need to train his body to use his power more effectively, and to protect a world that hates and fears him.

A few weeks ago, he would've had a remark to make about the blonde slinking into his room at night, dressed like that. Something playful, in response to that shark's smile Tabitha aims his way.

"Isn't this the place for getting into trouble?" he wonders instead, as though to brush off the girl's concern. A faint bit of light glints on the silvery chain and the cross of the crucifix he wears, stark against the darkness of his skin. He'd never been much of a believer, but he'd grown up surrounded by Catholics, and there were some things you just didn't do. He straightens up to his feet, wearing jeans at least, his feet bare… And over his arms and chest she'd see them, small cuts, the promises of bruises soon to come. A small cut in his left eyebrow that might scar. He was tough, far tougher than a normal person so long as he had energy to use… But he wasn't invulnerable by any means.

"I'm surprised to see you here, chica. I thought you were the 'every man for himself' type of girl."

—-

Isn't this the place for getting into trouble?

Tabitha's smile widens at that, a head tilted slightly at him, expression writ with the appreciation women typically don't show for a barb returned so quickly. She was never one to shy away from the opportunity to verbally fence another; a skill that she will continue to refine in the next few years. "Would think that was obvious. I'm here, aren't I?" she wonders, tone laden with so much innocence, she'd be convicted on the spot, and so much bravado it was liable to get her in the kind of fights most people hear about in bars: the kind that involves broken bottles and seats wielded like weapons.

Ankle boots click on the floor's tortured hardwood, setting down the tray and uncapping the bottle of Jameson, filling the single shotglass resting on the surface. This, she takes a quick swallow, unmindful of a few laws that teenagers like her tend to break whenever possible, merely sixteen and already developing a taste for whiskey of all kinds. A hand gestures for him to sit, an inquiring brow lifted at him, but the smile remains, the shark disappearing to hint at the trickster underneath.

His very last remark earns him a sudden laugh, shattering through the muted notes of synth and bass pounding from the lower floors of the establishment; it's late enough to tilt the venue towards its peak hours, with disc jockeys working the turntables and bodies tripping over one another in the dance floor. "Got me pegged already?" she wonders. "Well, stick around. Either I'll prove you right, or I just might surprise you. Hold still though, let me take a picture."

There's an overt once over, her earlier appreciation for the contents of his tongue bleeding into the way he looks, now that she's giving herself the opportunity to actually look at him. It's a deliberate crawl, from the top of his head, to where his feet touch the ground, and making good on her word.

Lifting her eyes to meet dark ones across, she flashes him a cheeky wink, and turns to uncover the first aid kit she has brought.

"Besides, you can't blame a girl for acting on a hunch. What are you running from?" Having already demonstrated a lack of care in invading his personal space, being so straightforward with her questions probably isn't so surprising either. A long leg extends to the side, without looking, hooking the heel of her boot into the leg of a chair to drag it towards her, to brace her knee against it as she unpacks several items from the kit - antiseptic swabs, Q-tips and band-aids.

"Guess all the money in the world's not enough to keep you in one place, yeah?" She angles a single eye over her shoulder at him, though how she knows that he came from a wealthy background, anyway, she doesn't say. But she has been living as a thief, trained by a professional, for a year and change - she has learned to identify the value of the things she sees every day. The crucifix is white gold, the jeans are designer - so are his shoes and the bag in which he packed his things.

—-

He shouldn't trust her, Roberto knows that much.

She's a thief, after all. A criminal. Who knows what sorts of things she's done in her young life? Ah, but hasn't he chosen to make himself one of them as well, now? Under the circumstances, it was as good a place as any, after all. Still, he has to be mindful of the lack of honour among thieves.

So it's only reluctantly that the Brazilian sits back down on the edge of the bed, watching the blonde as she laughs at his remark about her. Her question, and the followup, do give him pause: Can he be so sure he understands her, already? Isn't it possible that there's more than meets the eye with this brash girl than he could figure out in a measly handful of days?

Though then she starts ogling him. Slowly, deliberately. Followed by a brazen, cheeky wink.

"You'd be surprised at the number of things I can blame people for," he mutters, as she pulls a chair close, sorting through the first aid kit. "But if you wanted a show, you should've waited for me to be in better condition… Unless you're one of those girls who likes a guy all battered and bloodied." It peeks through, a little, the Roberto da Costa from a few weeks before, the one who never would've run off and fallen in with the Fallen Angels.

But, still…

"Seems a little rude to ask what somebody's running from here. Everyone's got something, right? You're, what, sixteen, chica? Menina, more like. Come to the big city to start a new life, I'm guessing. And here you are, running with a gang and hiding out over a club where they play just… The most disappointing music. Can't even dance to half of this stuff."

He sighs, scrubbing a hand through his ink-dark hair, putting his complaints about the quality of the DJ out of his mind. That sort of thing isn't his problem now.

"All the money in the world can't buy the really important stuff. Took me a lot longer to realise that than I'd like to admit."

—-

"I'm a big fan of shows," Tabitha replies easily, and it's as honest of a statement as she can give someone who she's known for only a handful of days. "But yeah, maybe I am." A pale hand and long fingers lift, inspecting the small bottle of isopropyl alcohol the kit had come with. "There's something visceral about it…a man fresh from a fight. The smell of the blood, how the heart pumps so hard that it can shatter bone…the battle high."

She looks over at him with that same, easy smile. "I'd tell you not to worry. But the night's still young." Nevermind that it's almost midnight. "Would hate to get someone as dangerous as you all riled up over a false guarantee." And all said in a tone that suggests that she means the exact and total opposite of the words that she has just uttered.

With the kit unpacked, she toes the chair aside, moving towards him with her supplies. Dropping next to him on the bed, she uses a pair of pliers and an antiseptic swab to start on the gouges on his chest, a criss-crossing mesh of coagulated blood that she cleans away with a deft flick of her wrist. She is meticulous, working the sterile thing on the ragged edges, disinfecting torn flesh and eradicating traces of congealed crimson life.

Seems a little rude to ask what somebody's running from here.

"You call it rude," she continues, lifting her eyes and flashing him yet another implacable grin. "I call it an iota of very polite interest. Besides, I know everybody who hangs around here. I'd be remiss if I didn't get to know you, too, if you're gonna be sticking around as long as you say you are. And didn't your mama tell you not to pry for a lady's age?"

There's a pause. A beat. But the chastising look that follows that statement fades away, mischief returning.

"Lucky for you, I'm not much of one. Sixteen like you said, if you gotta know. And that's not all that unusual, yeah? Unless you were born here, why else would you come to New York? How did Sinatra sing it? If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere? You're gonna have to get used to the music though, sadly, though it's not so bad. Classic rock on Mondays, Jazz on Tuesdays. If you're that enthusiastic a dancer, maybe the two of us can hold the old man over a toilet until he agrees to a Samba Saturday."

As the conversation turns towards more serious matters, she puts away the antiseptic. "Lift," she instructs, swatting fingers lightly on a bicep. She brings out a roll of bandages. Unspooling a strip, she presses a pad against the worst the injuries. "Here, hold this against you."

When he does, she'll proceed with the binding, unhesitating in her breach of his personal space.

"So what's the important stuff to you?" she murmurs, the copper tang of blood and the sting of antiseptic hitting her nose, traces of metal and fire registering in the air around him. "Aside from good music? Might not be something everybody agrees with, but I happen to. I love it, my life wouldn't be the same without it."

—-

As the blonde talks, revealing herself - inadvertently or otherwise - to be an adrenaline junkie, Roberto can't help but think that under other circumstances she'd be the sort of mistake he'd love to make, all smiles and mayhem. He knows what it's like, after all… The fun of it, the sheer joy of simple physicality blown up to enormous scale in proportion to his solar-powered strength. Maybe offer to take her flying. She seems like the sort of girl who'd like flying, and…

He's getting ahead of himself, though. Getting away from himself, letting something ineffable about her nature - and, well some more obvious things about her form - draw him out. That's not why he came here.

Instead, he lets her work, enduring her treatment with the silent stoicism of someone who is in fact a great complainer at small discomforts: The sort of person who'd kvetch endlessly over a splinter, and endure a compound fracture in silence.

"My mama didn't tell me anything about prying for ages, a lady's or otherwise," he replies. "Though she would probably have a few choice things to say about me being alone with a girl your age, chica. Especially one who likes Samba. A little Pagode with you, and she'd show up from wherever she is to teach me a lesson."

He only grumbles a little before lifting his arm as instructed, then holding the bandage cooperatively. She's close, close enough to catch the scent of her through the antiseptic and the coppery tang of his own blood. Close enough to feel the warmth of her. That's dangerous too, in its own way. The siren song of simple human closeness, in a moment where he feels isolated and alone, and wants to feel isolated and alone. He doesn't want to make a connection, or find a kindred spirit, or make an extremely enjoyable series of mistakes.

"Good music is important, sure. But that's one money can buy. Can't buy friends, though. Can't buy trust, or love. My old man, he was all about money and power. About excelling, you know, gotta be the best in everything. But once he figured out I wasn't gonna do everything the way he wanted, he let me go. My mother divorced him. So, I came up here for school, made friends… Got careless, wrecked it all."

—-

There's a small smirk at that. "Yeah, well. I heard it all before, you know. Too young, too stupid to know what's good for me. I'll ask you this, pobrecito." Her very minimal knowledge of Spanish, cobbled together from run-ins with gangs and their fiery women on the streets, and all largely concentrated on its improper usage - but her accent is spot on, complete with the subtle rolling 'r', indicative of the type of personality who plays close attention to the things she learns while pretending to be anything but. "Nobody ever learned anything if they didn't fail or make mistakes ones in a while, did they?"

Looking up at him, the wry twist to her mouth falls away, a subtle tilt of her head; it makes her look inquisitive, surrounding shadows and the single lamplight in the room doing nothing but highlighting the spark within those pale blue irises that hints at something hungrier and more relentless than her pursuit of life, liberty and her own personal happiness. Curiosity is the bane of every cat, if the old addage is to be believed, but it burns something within her, powers the ever-churning engines of her soul even more than the quest for the next great rush. Having no formal education to speak of, could she be blamed, to nurse such a bottomless, unyielding starvation for the things she has never had a chance to learn…?

All of it drawn out by a single unfamiliar term that he uses to address her.

"Pagode?" Tabitha wonders. "What's that?"

This close, he'd catch traces of it - citrus blossoms with a hint of mint, floral notes so subtle and ingrained on fair skin that the fact that it doesn't come from any perfume would be immediately apparent, leavings from whatever she has used in the bath that day, and muted by lingering strains from the outside world. There's smoke and cinnamon, earthier vestiges of New York steeped deeply in the autumnal throes of the season.

She clips his bandages in place, giving them a tug to ensure that the bind she has created is secure, before her fingers fall away. Other than that, she makes no move to touch him, hands pressing on the mattress, a leg curling under her other knee. But she's looking at him directly, unwilling to cease her blatant disregard for his personal boundaries, leaning in until she sees the reflection of her own face within dark eyes, reminded faintly of the way molten earth hardens and darkens to form volcanic glass.

Fitting, really, for his power set.

"That's usually the way, isn't it?" she wonders. "Parents aren't immune to that, thinking their children are only as good as the investment they put into them."

She eases away, at that, to press her back against the wall next to him, her head rolling back to look at the ceiling.

"You think you screwed shit up that badly?" she questions. "I'm not asking because I think you're a poor judge of character, but considering our first few minutes, I think you're pretty fucking quick about it. Quick to decide. So I figured I'd ask, so you could really think about it this time."

Fingers toy absently on the hem of her skirt.

"There's people out there who don't know what it's like to have anybody," she tells him. "Not parents, not friends. Just breathing through life, not knowing what it's like to be wanted. I think maybe, if you're not sure after all, that you fucked things up that completely…you owe it to yourself to go back and make sure. If you're right, then sort it out then, but not before you give yourself a chance to keep what you found that's good."

—-

"Never said you were stupid," Roberto points out, his expression more serious in contrast to Tabitha's smirk. "Got a feeling anybody who's ever figured that about you has wound up regretting it, chica. Ah, but you can't trick me, though. I can see it in those big blue eyes."

She's right, of course, about failure being one of the great teachers. Nobody really learns from getting it right the first time, every time. He learned that long before he ever set foot in Westchester… But he's not really in the mood to admit to it.

"Samba Pagode. It's a dance, Samba with a partner. Not like the stuff you see at Carnival, you know? There's also the Samba de Gafieira, which is like a cross between a waltz and a tango, but the Samba Pagode is more… Intimate. Maybe I'll teach you, if I stick around. But not until you turn eighteen."

There's a shift of closeness, after she's made sure the bandage is secure, after she's leaned in close enough to see herself reflected in his dark eyes, leaving him staring into her own paler, two pools of electric blue like lights in the dark… But are they beacons of safety, or will-o'-the-wisps to lead a man into perdition? Relief and disappointment war when she eases back, at least a bit out of his personal space.

"I lost control," he says, finally; he watched her fingers toy with the hem of her skirt, studying the long pale digits, the deft fingers of a thief, studying the nail that caps each of those tines. Watching movement, maybe, just something to focus on. Perhaps there was just something about a young man that would be inevitably drawn to the sight of a young woman toying with her skirt's hem. "I hurt another student. Probably they won't want me back. But you know… I worry that I'm more like my old man than I thought. He got to where he was by being vicious. By hurting people. Maybe you've noticed I have a bit of a temper, huh? Lashing out, like he would. Maybe I don't deserve to go back."

—-

Throughout his explanation, her attention is a heavy, weighty thing, distilled into a single point of crystal-clear, diamond focus. It only breaks at his last statement.

But not until you turn eighteen.

Tabitha laughs, the devil returning, a flash of teeth slashed at his direction. "We'll see about that."

Never one to pass up a challenge, but it is different. The thrill of the hunt, the quest for another score, can't be the same for any predator, but in spite of her age, she has learned early on that there is plenty of excitement in the trying of the thing, when the odds of victory are low in comparison with the ones associated with failure. And she lives for that, too. Not knowing where the attempt will take her, and it has taken her to very interesting places, whenever she is bold enough to take the risk.

And she almost always is that.

He would know sooner rather than later that she may very well be that, faerie lights personified, luring the unwary into the depths of the forest, to eventually be taken to the Elsewhere and never returned. Not that she ever looks it, when her coloring fits most Raphaelite renditions of angels and saints, pale and fair-haired, with large blue eyes. But the truth, if it could even be considered that, is always present in the way she smiles - a tell just as clear and as deadly as anything placed in the most perilous corners of the world.

She loves red. It may not be apparent on her clothes, but her adoration for the shade is present by the lovingly detailed manicure she has applied herself; a hue reminiscent of candied apples, painstakingly adorned with the faintest swirl of a thin band of gold in the corners of each ring finger, and studded carefully with tiny gem sticker. They contrast sharply with the dark plaid she wears, gleaming under the single light in his room. Reflective of the kind of irrepressible vanity only a young woman so adamant in trying all kinds of fashion trends can possess.

"Maybe," she allows. "But like I said, you won't know unless you actually do and figure out the truth for yourself. Question you oughta be really asking is if you're the kind of man who won't even try - when you've got nothing to lose, and everything to gain."

After a brief glance to her fingers, she turns her face sidelong to examine his dusky profile. "Was your dad vicious to you?"

It is a question that logically follows the rush of their present conversation, but it is there in the way she does the asking that touches on deeper waters, though it wouldn't be determinable from the start. Perhaps it is the way she twists a spare thread from the hem of her skirt, the way lashes tug lower over her eyes, the way her voice lowers until it is only his close proximity that allows him to hear the query in the first place.

—-

She speaks to the conflict in him, to the war between his interest and his desire to push everyone away with her laugh and her devil's smile; to the struggle between anger and shame and the longing for the place that's become home to him over the past few years with her pointed remarks about what sort of man he is… Or, perhaps, what sort of man he wants himself to be.

In truth, he could never see his father as entirely bad. A tyrant, yes, a man who had risen to the top by being ruthless, for certain… But he had always driven Roberto out of a desire to see him become more, hadn't he? He had wanted his son to be tough enough, strong enough to succeed him in a world full of men who were ruthless and cruel.

Conflict, conflict. Few people are ever just one thing, sketched in only a single shade.

But she continues, she asks a question. A simple question, a question that logically proceeds from what he himself had told her.

"Sometimes," Roberto admits. "When I was a boy, he taught me to box. Sparring against him, a grown man. He did not hold back, you know? To toughen me up. How would I ever learn to take a hit, if he held back on me, he said. Sometimes, a belt or a raised hand to punish me for something I did wrong. But mostly his cruelty to me was in expectations and distance, with flashes of anger."

Almost unconsciously, he shifts closer to Tabitha, leaning against the wall beside her, leaning his shoulder against her own, bare dark skin against the rugged leather of her jacket.

"Is that what you're running from, chica?" he wonders, quietly, as quietly as her own question, his tone gentle. Something cracks through his self-absorbed, self-directed anger, his dark eyes searching over the blonde's face, looking for signs and portents in the tea leaves of her expression. "I've met more runaway kids than you might think… Seems to me they come in two types: Running to, and running from. Kinda figured you for the first one, but…" He lets out a slow, quiet exhalation. "Well… Not really my business. Just hope what you've found is better than what you left behind."

—-

"Yeah?" she wonders, her eyes shifting away, lifting upwards to look at the ceiling and examine the spiderwebs time and age have left behind, following the hairline fissures, silently charting a map over his personal space. "That hurts more, I think. Always found it curious that the thing that keeps us resilient is also the thing that makes us weak. Now and then….with the right stroke." A hand lifts, to brush over the front of her shirt. "Didn't matter if you came from him, that you're a piece of him - a vessel meant to remind the world that he existed. If nothing else, that alone deserves something more than distance."

And Tabitha knows. Not just from her own experiences, but through the glimpse of the lives led by those who decided not just to take her in, but that she was a worthy addition to something bigger than herself.

He draws her attention back to him unerringly; she detects the shift in the mattress first, before the heavier weight of a hard shoulder nudges against her own, leather creaking under the applied pressure. Her pale stare wanders back to him, at the sudden draw and drawing a wry twist, somewhere within herself at how things could change so quickly around her by simply embracing her nature with no apologies. One moment, a nuisance, and in the next second…

Is that what you're running from?

It's a fair question, when he's so open about his own life, and the trials that brought him to her orbit. There's gauging expression that falls across her own mien, when his voice lowers and the look in his eyes gentles. She would never admit it, but that has always been her way - quick to respond to aggression with returned fire, and fire just as severe. Kindness, however, is a rare experience, and a genuine interest in her life and her words even rarer, still. For a moment, he'd catch it - hesitation.

But it is brief, gone in the throes of a searing smile and a crystal laugh, mercilessly shattering the quiet of his room.

"I wonder," she tells him, lifting her pinky finger, letting it hook on the delicate chain around his neck, studying his crucifix with undisguised interest - and one that has little to do with its apparent monetary value, and more to do with its presence. "Would you call it that if the people you left behind wouldn't bother chasing you?"

After a moment: "I left," she admits, voice lowered once again. "I wouldn't call it running away. I'd call it letting go of a place that had nothing for me, a place that was…" And she lets out another breathless laugh. "…intensely bent on making sure that I was nothing. I figured I had two choices - to remain as nothing, and continue having nothing, or turn myself into something and fix the glaring problem of having nothing after that."

The lift is so subtle that Roberto wouldn't feel it until it's right in her hand. The gleaming crucifix gleams between her thumb and index fingers, the chain threaded through the rest of her pale digits. Bending a leg by the knee, she lifts it up to examine it. "It wasn't as if I didn't try to stay either," she tells him. "In case my earlier words would paint me a hypocrite. I tried this, too. I prayed. I prayed so hard and so often even after all of that, I still remember the words."

She lets her wrist fall, the cross dangling against her lifted knee.

"I'll say this, though." After a breath, she flashes him a smile - she has a thousand different kinds, even the ones that betray a deep-seated melancholy that nobody can reach, no matter how hard she tries to hide it. "It feels good…living just one year without any broken bones."

—-

He could say a lot of things.

He could say that she wasn't nothing, and never had been nothing - no matter what her previous environment had tried to tell her.

He could say that surely there was someone who had still wanted her around.

He could say that nobody could blame her for not staying.

But Tabitha quite effectively destroys all those responses. She obliterates them, crushes the very idea of any of those words to ash and dust with a simple statement, rendered all the more terrible by its simplicity, and the melancholic smile that crosses her pale, expressive face.

One year without broken bones.

The light in the room… Changes. Both dimmer and brighter at once, as Roberto da Costa starts to pull in more ambient illumination, tugging at it without thought. Sickly, gaudy fluorescent light is meager fare for a body made to draw on the light of stars and the raging heat of cosmic radiation and terrestrial flame, but he draws at it anyway. He himself grows darker, the dark complexion of his Afro-Brazilian heritage dimming towards shadow.

"Oh, chica," he breathes out. The warmth of his body increases, enough that she could feel it through her jacket. It doesn't even bother him that she took his crucifix, though in complete fairness he's got something else to be bothered about first. "Prayer might not have worked, but if you want I could go distribute a little fear of God after the fact." It's easy for him to get angry, always the hot-head, always brash. But it's as good as anywhere else, right? He might even feel like he was doing some good, terrorising the people who'd done this to an innocent girl. Maybe give them a few broken bones to consider.

The funny thing is, it's probably what his father would've done in his position, too.

—-

It's the light that shifts her attention, the way it flickers and wavers from across the way, drawn by the power of the young man next to her. Given his volatile personality, it didn't take all that many days of quiet observance to determine just what he could do, but tonight is a first glimpse into the hows of it. Tabitha watches as the lamp straddles the fine line between pure luminescence and dull shadow, the heat against her shoulder growing more pronounced. Her head turns to regard Bobby, that curious, attentive focus shifting over how his skin darkens the more he absorbs, skin under her jacket tingling with gradually intensifying heat - like witnessing the darkest or hours before the birth of a new day.

The hand with the chain lifts, to rest on his nearest set of knuckles. Cold metal bites into heated skin, sharing in it.

"If you did that, then I'd be obligated to find my way to Brazil somehow and punch out your dad," Tabitha tells him. "And something tells me he'll own the shit out of me." She pauses, eyes rolling skywards in a ponderous gesture, before that searing, brilliant smile returns, punctuated by the slight lift of her shoulders. "Eh, I'll probably still do it anyway, if I ever met him. It'd be worth it."

Nevermind the sheer weight of his influence crashing down on her afterwards, but she was never one to worry about the consequences of her actions - or never one to think about them, beyond the immediate need to act and unleash the full brunt of her personality and temper to those who are unsuspecting, akin to a flash flood or a sudden storm, blowing through everything and everyone in her path.

But it all fades, in the end. Her delicate features shift, to flow into a more neutral veneer.

"I didn't tell you that so you'd feel sorry for me," she continues. "I told you that because I want you to know that I know what it's like. To have nobody. That I'm not just feeding you some bullshit. Being alone sucks, Bobby." By inches, by increments, her smile returns, a subtle play of the corners of her mouth upwards. "And if you're the sort of guy who'd race off down south to scare a couple of terrible people for a girl you hardly know, I don't want that for you. You need to try again."

—-

In appearance, the two of them couldn't be more different: He was dark of hair, of eye, of skin, having taken far more after his father than after his American mother. She was pale, blonde, with those startlingly blue eyes. Outwardly, they were practically complete opposites.

But there were some strong similarities in personality, weren't there? That impulsiveness, that reckless desire to act without giving much thought at all to the potential consequences. It was something that he'd been working on at the Institute, of course - at Xavier's they taught more than just how to do cool stuff with your mutant powers - and sure he wasn't quite the irrational hothead he'd been when he first left Brazil…

But maybe like was feeding like, here. Similar wavelengths reinforcing each other.

Maybe Tabitha Smith was an extremely foolish mistake for him to make.

"Who said anything about feeling sorry for you?" Roberto wonders, slowly - with a deliberate effort - letting go of his power, the ambient light around him returning to normal. It's her hand on his that helps to calm him, at least enough that he can keep himself from powering up with potentially disastrous effects. The touch, and the smile, and the assurances she gives him. "You're a lot stronger than you look, chica. Enduring that, getting away from all that. Making your own way in a world that eats pretty little blonde girls like you for dinner. Also if you ever do meet my old man, he blocks slower on his left side."

What? It's no skin off his nose if some white girl slugs his dad in the face.

"And since you are so tough and amazing, I guess it can't hurt to listen to your advice. But if I do go back, who's gonna teach you how to dance properly when you turn eighteen?"

—-

You're a lot stronger than you look.

Tabitha laughs, throwing him a self-assured smirk, a lopsided expression that accentuates the overinflated self-confidence that she wears like second skin. And she embodies the very thing convincingly, if not just by looks alone, tilting her jaw up in a defiant angle and pinning him down with her eyes. "Yeah, well," she tells him, her tone absolutely unapologetic. "I'm a pretty good con, too."

In the end, he decides and it earns him another smile, one that's decidedly gentler in its bent. Perhaps there'll be buyer's remorse tomorrow, when he makes good with his words and leaves Beat Street behind. It isn't all that difficult for her to pursue the selfish option and maybe that would have netted him a place here, where he could stay and whet her appetite for the things that she has missed - a view of a different culture from a country so far removed from her own world view that he might as well come from another planet.

But that is the funny thing about mistakes; they can be subtle, but glaring ones are those that he could see coming from a mile away, and the blonde next to him makes it no secret that she is a collection of bad decisions personified, molded into the image of a woman and given life. She is that, and many other things. However, if there is one thing that stays consistent to an utterly mercurial creature, it is the fact that she also has a knack for turning trouble into opportunities - either accidentally, or by design, but always so adeptly that these mistakes turn out to be not mistakes at all.

"Guess you're just gonna have to owe me."

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