What We Pretend to Be
Roleplaying Log: What We Pretend to Be
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Tabitha Smith gets comfortable with her cover identity of a legal clerk. Maybe too comfortable.

Other Characters Referenced: Foggy Nelson, Magneto, Matt Murdock, Professor X
IC Date: July 27, 2019
IC Location: Tabby's apartment, NYC
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 27 Jul 2019 03:11
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It's been a few months since her formal clerkship at Nelson & Murdock and thus far, her undercover work has continued on without incident and while she has managed to keep her grousing quiet, the truth is even more terrible than that, in the sense that she's actually starting to enjoy the work. Any urge to wreak havoc in the streets of New York, these days, tends to just give way to doing the same in the city's courts, mediation and arbitration meetings instead.

Is Tabitha Smith well on her way to being respectable?

…that's probably too much to hope for but at least she looks the part.

She's dressed in white sleeveless dress, her blonde hair pulled up in a loose twist at the back of her head, the matching suit jacket draped over one arm in deference to the heat. Her heels make quick work of the cement walk leading up to the front of her apartment building, her bag grasped on her other hand. It's a long day, and she's most definitely looking forward to a few hours drinking shots from a bottle, sinking in a bubble bath, or something similar.

She's already thinking about dinner, and what hole-in-the-wall takeaway place to bug. Thai? Korean? It's New York, the possibilities are endless.

It's true, though.

The possibilities really were endless.

Some of them, as always, were more likely than others: It was possible that a satellite would come crashing out of the sky and land right in her living room, for example. Just highly unlikely. A little further up the scale of probability, though, was that there'd be someone waiting for her when she got there. In a life like Tabitha Smith's, that could be good, or bad.

Or a little bit of both, maybe, as suddenly there's someone in step with her up the walk to the door, dark where she was pale, from hair to eyes to skin to suit.

"Tabitha," Roberto da Costa says her name the way he always does, his accent clipping the last syllable, dropping the h. Quite carelessly, he rests his hand at the small of her back, leaning in close. "I need you to hide me. My assistant is trying to make me go to a really boring meeting on a Friday night, and I absolutely don't want to go."

When someone reaches out to touch her, it almost happens - a sharp elbow, right into the adam's apple of the person who dares, but the lean and the familiar scent of his aftershave hits her senses quickly after that, and the distinctive accent. Tabitha's lightning-blue eyes rest on Roberto's handsome profile at that, lips parting faintly in astonishment. Honestly, she shouldn't be surprised - he tends to stop by on random; these days, he doesn't even bother to call.

"Bobby, what— "

His mock-mournful expression has her laughing, pecking his cheek lightly before she turns to push her key into the lock, and hit the security code so the inner door can disengage from its mechanisms, taking him to the industrial building that has been converted into apartments. "Dunno how much hiding I can actually do for you considering you could just…" She makes a whistling sound, long-fingered palm flat and angling it upwards. "…and escape to any part of the globe. Plus, it's summertime now. Isn't this the time of year when you're at your most impossible?"

The elevator ride and the walk to her loft apartment is familiar, too, and she does the same with her lock there. The wooden appendage swings open to her wide, brick-layered space, tossing her bag on a seat and lifting her hand so she could start undoing the pins in her hair, groaning as the arrangement slowly starts winding loose. She kicks off her shoes also, and flicks them to the side.

"I suppose I can put you up for a few hours, though," she says over her shoulder, winking at him. "Which meeting is this one? I feel like every time you talk about them, they're always daily and always boring."

That's him all over though, isn't it? Just showing up unannounced, breezing in. Like a cat that's gotten too used to going outside to be kept in any one place, but still attached enough to always turn up eventually.

"Well," he says, "I mean, I could… But that would be sort of obvious." Even with the various metahumans who call New York home, one of them flying off would still get noticed. And it's entirely possible that his closest associates at Da Costa International are well aware of the fact that he was a mutant.

Since, as Tabitha rightly points out, he was impossible. Especially in the summertime.

But instead of flying off on a whim, the Brazilian follows the blonde into her apartment. There was something comforting about it, how bohemian and unabashedly her the place was; it was different from the almost-sterile modernity of his own residences, which tended to radiate a sense of 'young, wealthy bachelor' from every surface. Penthouse apartments with huge windows, and kitchens that didn't have any colours but black and chrome in them.

"Oh it was… Something about expanding the cybersecurity division. You know, you've got all these kids around who could hack the Department of Defense from a cellphone, to say nothing of incredible supercomputers in the hands of random lunatics, or I dunno… Angry AIs and stuff. So it's pretty dangerous out there, but everybody's doing big cybersecurity nowadays, LexCorp, Wayne Enterprises, Stark whatever-they're-calling-it-this-week…" With his own shoes off, Bobby makes himself at home on the sofa, because of course he does.

"When did you ever care about whether something was obvious?" Tabitha wonders, lifting her brows at Roberto before flashing him a sharp, but brilliant smile. Otherwise, she lets him do what he wants - he's been here numerous times enough, whole weekends spent at either his place or hers, though as strange as it was, he seems to prefer her own abode. There had been a bit of a tiff, wondering whether he was ashamed to have her in one of the posh buildings he owns…until she remembered that Bobby da Costa? Has no shame.

To her credit, she was absolutely blitzed at the time.

Now that she has a guest, however, she takes two tumblers instead of just a bottle of fine scotch, moving towards the couch where the billionaire has parked himself. She pours them both a few shots each, before she plucks hers off the table, long legs folding up so she could drape them across his lap, leaning back against the armrest. There's a winsome smile that follows, wiggling her toes at him, pale irises glinting at him mischievously: Massage me, please.

His explanations are sound, but that doesn't mean that in spite of him playing hooky, the Brazilian is unaware of the issues that surround that specific issue. Still, her face is expressive in its agreement of his initial assessment. "Wow. That does sound boring. Couldn't you have just sent someone to take notes for you or something? Maybe put in a life-sized cardboard cut-out of you to sit on a chair?" She heard Tony Stark actually has one.

"But far be it for me to curse you into a Friday night doing that when you can do anything else but that for the night." She takes a sip of her scotch. "So what else have you been up to other than dodging meetings?"

The winsome smile - something to be never trusted from a young woman like Tabitha Smith - and the look of mischief in those blue eyes are both pretty easy to read, at least for someone who's been around the blonde as much as Bobby has. Especially considering her current position on the couch.

But fair's fair, right? She's letting him hide out in her apartment when he's supposed to be in some midtown office building getting bored half to death.

So he gently catches one of her feet with his strong, dark hands, slowly rubbing his thumbs in circles against the arch of her foot to help soothe away some of the pain of a day spent on perilous heels. There's warmth, too, to help the muscles and tendons relax.

His mutation isn't just useful for fighting.

"A cardboard cutout of me? I don't know, Tabitha. Given how handsome and amazing I am, that might count as idolatry. I'm not sure the good Catholics on staff would put up with it." Besides, it's more fun to imagine them trying to find out where he's gotten himself off to, rather than depending on some kind of substitute. Though sooner or later they're bound to find ways to make him teleconference. Especially with all that fancy hologram tech around…

So what else have you been up to other than dodging meetings?

"Oh, the usual. Training to help protect a world that hates and fears us, that sorta thing. There was a pretty big dust-up a few days ago. Somebody was kidnapping telepaths, trying to figure out a way to deactivate their powers. Whoever it was, they had people like us on staff, yeah? Other mutants."

She was half-expecting him to give her the cursory tickle on her toes, but when Roberto actually takes the task seriously, Tabitha grins broadly at him - the expression is a pleased one, lashes lidding over her eyes as she rolls her head against the other armrest of the couch, half-sprawled on the cushions with her legs over his knees. Her toes twitch once he gets to work, but the rolling circles and the warmth he exudes makes for a relaxing experience and she murmurs absently as he continues. He might lull her to sleep this way.

But she knows him. It's a trap - in the best and worst of ways, but it is still one and she's certain that the moment he finds a breach in her defenses, he will exploit it and strike. Considering how long her day was, though, some part of her doesn't mind so long as he doesn't stop.

His quips about idolatry has her laughing. "Why are there a lot of that in corporate conglomerates?" Perhaps a Brazil-based one, certainly, but the devil's own light glints from her irises as she peers at him through her half-shuttered stare. It closes fully, however, when he continues rubbing her feet - the perils of wearing heels to work generally means that footrubs are almost a requirement to alleviate the stress.

Her views on telepaths are somewhat complicated and she can't help but wonder whether that sort of information wouldn't be handy to have. "Sounds well funded," she opines, an open grimace on her features. "Bad enough that we have the flatscans to deal with now that the new law's in effect, but to turn on each other? It's like we're not meant to succeed in anything we try to do to push for equal rights." There's a pause, and then she groans, tilting her head back against the couch. "Oh, god, did I seriously just say that? Sounds like I need a vacation. School just let out a couple of weeks ago, maybe that's what I should do before my faith in the cause takes on any additional hits." She cracks open an eye. "What do you think of all of that, then? Any suspects in mind?"

Would it be so bad anyway, if she did get lulled off to sleep?

A sign that despite everything that had happened in her life, that there were still some people Tabby could let her guard down around, enough that she could doze off comfortably?

But no, that half-expected tickle never comes, with Roberto instead dedicating himself to actually doing this properly, because the blonde really does look like she's had a long day. No doubt helping her lawyer employers stop orphanages from being bulldozed so evil rich guys can build new condominiums and the like. What ever happened to that dangerous blonde he'd met back then? Had she gone and caught respectability? Was she, too, doomed to be not very gangster at all?

"You know, the Professor always taught us that fundamentally there's no real difference between us, mutants and everybody else. Maybe he'd make an exception for like… Thor, I guess. Asgardians are pretty wild. Anyway that's not the point. The point is, just 'cause we can shoot laser beams out of our butts or whatever, that doesn't give us some kinda magical enlightenment, y'know? 'course he was trying to make a point about the good ways we're the same… In this case, the lesson is that humans and mutants are both equally good at being shitty. And that it's hard to unify people on social issues if they're fundamentally selfish types," he adds.

"Hmm… Tabitha Smith, community organiser. It's got a ring to it, doesn't it?"

He doesn't say anything about a vacation, though it does give him a few ideas. Besides…

Any suspects in mind?

"Anybody with money and power who doesn't like the idea of telepaths rooting around in their brains," Bobby answers dryly. "It's a big list, right now. Maybe it gets smaller soon. But what about you, girl?" he wonders, switching his attention to her other foot. "What have you been up to?"

As far as being dangerous is concerned - if he only knew.

"Asgardians are pretty…unique. I only really met the one and she was hilarious," Tabitha murmurs, tension on the limb that Bobby has captured in his grasp fading away, knots worked by deft and practiced fingers to soothe away the aches and pains. It isn't long until most of the stress he'd feel on that arch is gone, and she slips her foot gently away from his fingers so she could rest the other one on top of his waiting palms. See? She helps. She's helping. There is, however, an unmistakable look of gratitude flashed towards him.

She listens to what he says about the Professor and there's no small measure of curiosity there; as far as the two patriarchs of the Mutant Movement is concerned, she's only passingly familiar with both, but in many ways, Charles Xavier's mental portrait is a little blurrier compared to Erik Lensherr's, missing the fragments, pieces and color that would truly bring him to life. She did not have the benefit of knowing him even by third-hand encounters; she has always been close to the twins, so their perceptions of their father have long since colored hers. But Professor X is an enigma to her, most of what she actually knows about the man other than what the public has been fed is Bobby's own remembrances of him.

"The transition from ideal to cynical was pretty abrupt there, Bobby," she tells him with a quiet laugh. "But as usual, your perception's pretty on-point. Watch, before long, that billionaire playboy persona is gonna get outed for what it is if you keep saying things like that." She winks at him teasingly.

His description doesn't exactly help narrow things down though. "What, you mean the usual suspects?" she quips. "Ugh. Oh well, they'll slip up sooner or later." And when the question is turned to her, she sighs. "Lots of court time, lots of interviews and trapped in tiny rooms for settlement talks," she tells him ruefully. "Not that I see the latter much in the end, because Matt and Foggy are in agreement that if we're doing our best and damndest to punch holes in the law, time in court should be maximized as much as possible. You know how the news cycle is - these days, people would be lucky if an issue gets enough outrage traction for three days before the next thing to get mad about comes up. It's exhausting, but it's not like that's going to improve any time soon. That's how any big city works."

After a moment of watching his handsome profile, she smiles. "So does that mean you're staying the night?" she wonders. "Dinner and all? What do you feel like? Should I try and figure out which diner around here delivers an actual breakfast?"

"I always figured it was important to be good at both," Bobby replies, on the subject of idealism and cynicism, and his quick shift between the two. "The world's a complicated place like that."

He leaves the idea that people might see through his playboy persona if he keeps saying things like that alone: He tries to not say those sorts of things around most people anyway, knowing full well the advantages in being underestimated like that. If people see him as just some hothead with lots of money or a flashy powerset, well, they're ripe for being blindsided, and in the end isn't that really their own fault?

Instead, he just gives Tabby a mysterious smile when she winks at him. Unfortunately, they have more serious things to talk about.

Not all the serious topics are bad, of course, and he's genuinely curious about the blonde's new career. Maybe all the moreso because he knows that it was originally just a scheme, and yet here she was getting into it. Going native, they might say. Becoming what she was pretending to be.

"Sounds like you like the job, Tabitha," he says, the pad of his thumb rubbing between her big toe and its neighbour. "A legal crusader, out there fighting injustice in the courts. I like this side of you, too."

So does that mean you're staying the night?

"Unless you're planning to kick me out. We could get some takeout, I bet we could find Ally McBeal on tv somewhere…" the Brazilian continues, teasingly. "And then yeah, a real breakfast."

He smiles that winning smile, pearly white teeth practically glowing.

How could she ever resist?

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