Rallies and War Wounds

June 30, 2014:

Amara, Bobby and Pepper all meet at a purse snatching near a rally

M-Town Shopping District

The titular home of mutant culture is safe enough during the day, though rallies mean slow traffic and, sometimes, tense people.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Another Day in M-Town. Bobby's flat is here partly because it's not too horribly far from where he works and partly because it's pretty in expensive and what with student loans to pay off, saving money is a thing on his mind. He's decided, he thinks, that he'll take the school up on the offer of a dorm room but keep paying for the apartment, if only because he rather suspects his schedule will work out such that it'll be more convenient some nights to crash here than there.

At any rate it's getting on to the afternoon and, because he had to come in on Saturday to run a few important labs, he got off early today. Now he's walking the shopping district, browsing things and trying to get clear his mind. A few blocks away there's another Mutant Right's rally. Those have been happening a lot and sometimes they get kind of tense, especially when the Friends of Humanity protesters show up. Today, though, it sounds pretty mellow, which is nice. He's got a lot to think on.

<Listen children to a story that was written long ago, 'bout a kingdom on a mountain and the valley folk below…>

That song sounds very… seventies. Ah well. It's kinda catchy. He could probably learn it on the guitar. He'll definitely be sticking around the school even if… maybe he has a few reservations. They still seem like pretty decent people… mostly. A scream a block ahead of him jerks him from his thoughts. Up ahead a mugger has just snatched a purse. Do people really still do that? Well it is New York, after all. Before he's even thought about it, Bobby's broken into a sprint after the guy. Hero complex? Maybe a little.

*

Amara had come to check in on the protest, as she often does now that she's graduated and doesn't have to worry about classes. Granted, she's eventually going to need to worry about employment, but she's all right for the moment, at least. She was just making her way away from it when she catches sight of Bobby, brows rising in surprise.

"Bobby!" she starts to call toward him, though she pauses when he takes off, tracking his movement. "Put some slip in his step!" she calls toward him, helpful.

*

Pepper Potts is just passing through MTown on her way back to the office after an off-site meeting. Well, technically, the car she's riding in is passing through. She's sitting in the back of the car paying attention to something on the tablet in her lap and to the phone call on the little bluetooth earpiece she's wearing.

"No, Dmitri, really. It's fine. I'm on my way back now, and I'll pick up something to eat on the way." She taps at the earpiece to end the call, then looks out the side window of the car to get an idea of how much further they have to go before reaching Stark Tower. Of course, she does so just in time to see two people racing through the pedestrian traffic causing her eyebrows to draw together briefly.

*

Bobby turns and stares momentarily at Amara, his look clearly saying 'Um… fancy meeting you here?'. He doesn't have time to look for long though because he has to not crash into people and fall. What was that? Slip in his ste- oh! Right! Extending a hand he ices down the sidewalk in front of the mugger. There's a muted 'crunch' as the man slips and hits his back hard, winding him. That gives Bobby just enough time to catch up… and then jump back with a yelp as a switch blade comes out and scores a thin line along his cheek.

"Hey! Woah! Dude, chill!" Not the most useful thing to do, but Bobby's initial reflex is to just ice the knife, making it heavy and very cold

*

"Perfect," Amara grins when Bobby sets up the ice slick, though the smile disappears quickly enough when the knife comes out just as she catches up with the pair.

"Oh," she says in understated surprise, coming up short and reaching out to pull Bobby out of reach. "Hand as well, would be smart," she suggests with a nod toward the knife. The mugger may be willing to get aggressive with Bobby, but perhaps he'll think twice about Amara when she starts to glow, licks of flame at the ends of her hair and in her eyes, though she hasn't gone entirely molten yet.

*

Man with knife. You don't have to tell Bobby twice to do something about it. More ice forms around the hand, and then a baton forms in Bobby’s. Just a short foot-long tick of ice, but it seems to do the trick. Well, honestly, the flaming presence of Amara was probably the thing that did the trick. Once the knife is out of play Bobby bends down to retrieve the purse.

"Who purse snatches anymore?" He wonders aloud before turning to Amara with a relieved smile. "Hey. Fancy seeing you here… you showed up just in time though!"

*

Pepper Potts blinks, not entirely sure she believes what she just saw, but not exactly able to refute it. "Sam, stop the car, please, and call the police."

She barely waits for the car to pull a complete stop, hopping out and heading toward Bobby and Amara at a surprisingly brisk pace considering the pencil skirt and heels. One might almost think she had practice moving in a hurry despite her attire. If she's in any way perturbed by the glowing thing that the young woman has started, or the evidence of ice on the sidewalk in NYC in the middle of summer, she manages to not show it.

A quick glance at the situation as Bobby recovers a purse from the fallen man's grasp, and she looks from him to Amara as she asks, "Are you all right?" An attempt at a complaint from the still-prone mugger earns a disappointed glare from her. "Don't even bother."

*

"I think you had it in hand," Amara assures Bobby with a flash of a smile, the flames fading away once the mugger doesn't look like he's going to try anything with the knife. "Though we should probably call the authorities," she adds, keeping an eye on the man as she reaches for her phone.

"Careful, ma'am," she says politely as Pepper comes closer, moving to stand somewhat between the other woman and the downed mugger. "I am not certain he has the sense to stay down."

*

Bobby turns to look at Pepper, wiping his cheek a bit. His hand comes away with a small amount of blood. "I'm fine, thanks miss. He just scratched me." Cliche heroic line, but true in this case, though it is also true that facial wounds bleed rather disproportionately.

The woman from whom the purse was stolen comes running up. "Oh! You got him."

Bobby grins, an expression that looks like it comes easily to him and returns the purse. "Yep. Here you go!"

"Thank you!" she says effusively. "All of you. Bless you."

Just around the corner, sirens sound. There was a police presence at the rally after all.

*

Pepper Potts smiles after the woman who thanks them for rescuing her purse, and seems rather unperturbed by the mugger's presence, though she doesn't openly protest the younger woman's stepping forward protectively.

"So, do you both normally make a habit of chasing down purse-snatchers?" The car she scrambled out of moves past them a bit, clearly looking for someplace to wait for her that's not blocking traffic.

*

"Of course, ma'am," Amara smiles politely to the woman who reclaims her purse, putting away her phone when she hears the sirens.

"I was actually just trying to catch up with Bobby when I saw him," she adds to Pepper, pausing for a moment as she looks around the scene. Unobtrusively, she steps over to the icy patch that helped with the capture, crouching down and holding out one hand over it. Though she tries to block it with her body, it's hard to hide the fact that her hand is glowing as she waves it over the ice, turning it back into a puddle.

*

Bobby puts his hands in his pockets and whistles. Fortunately, as the officers arrive to find out what happened, the woman they helped has enough sense to leave the metahuman powers out of the capture. The fact that the blade is ice cold? Who knows why that is. Maybe the perp refrigerated it. The tousled looking young men steps away after giving a brief statement, just a short distance. This woman with the nice clothes and the phone. She looks familiar. UCLA? Not one of his professors he's pretty sure… but he thinks he's seen her or her picture at least, somewhere.

"Thanks for the help, Amara." He says in a low voice. "I don't… you know, think of these things all the time."

A little louder he says to Pepper. "Ma'am, I'm sorry but.. have we met before? You seem familiar."

*

Pepper Potts also explains to the police what she saw, as honestly as possible without mentioning any unusual abilities. Two men, one running after the other, the one in front slipped and fell, the chaser — she pauses to offer some tissues to Bobby for the scratch — got a knife to the face for his efforts, then the young woman arrived to help 'convince' the mugger to give up.

When Bobby asks her if they've met, she simply smiles and shakes her head no. "I doubt it. I get that a lot though. I guess I must have that kind of face."

*

"That is why we practice," Amara murmurs to Bobby's words, offering an encouraging smile as she straightens. See? Just an innocent puddle here. When Pepper and the victim leave out the more unusual aspects of the episode, she seems just a little bit relieved, shooting a grateful look toward Pepper when she gets a chance.

"Well, that was not quite what I was expecting from the afternoon," she admits once the mugger is gone, leaning over to get a look at Bobby's war wound. "You will look quite dashing, though."

*

That draws a chuckle and a smile from Bobby. "Dashing. Thank you Amara, I like that. Sounds a lot better than 'silly enough to get nicked with a switch blade.'"

The police load the mugger into the squad car and drive off to take him back to the precinct for booking. "Maybe you do, miss." He says to Pepper though… she still seems familiar. "It was good of you to stop though, thanks. I'm Bobby. Bobby Drake.." He offers her his hand. "And this is Amara… um… I don't know your last name actually… sorry." He looks a bit sheepish.

*

Pepper Potts realizes she's still holding her tablet in one hand, and shifts it to her left to accept Bobby's handshake. "Bobby, Amara. A pleasure to meet you both. I…" Whatever she was about to say is interrupted by an almost apologetic British voice coming from her tablet. "Miss Potts, you have a meeting scheduled in twenty minutes." She breathes a sigh, then offers them both another smile. "Sorry, I have to run. I hope you both have a good rest of the day." And then she's hurrying toward her waiting car. Maybe it would have been more fitting if she'd left a shoe behind.

*

"Amara Aquilla," Amara supplies with a wry smile when Bobby leaves it off. The talking tablet draws her attention for a moment, brows rising curiously, but she's too polite to ask about it. "A pleasure to meet you, Miss Potts," she smiles swiftly as the other woman takes her leave. "And thank you," she adds, without saying what for. It's understood, after all.

*

Bobby waves, echoing Amara's 'Thank you' as Miss Potts disappears back into traffic.

"That was… probably the highlight of today. So what brings you out here, Amara?" He pauses, considering something.

"Aquilla. Eagle." He knows that much. "Oh right. Nova Roma. You said your family was important there."

*

"My father," Amara corrects absently, looking after Pepper's car with a thoughtful expression before turning back.

"First Senator," she explains with a small smile. "It's…rather like being Speaker of the House here. Including the fact that it's his accomplishment, rather than a family honor. And I was keeping an eye on the protest," she admits, sheepish. "I may not be certain if I want to join the X-Men, but some habits die hard. What about you?"

*

Bobby inclines his head back up the street a bit. "I have an apartment back a ways. It made sense to keep it and take the school up on the dorms since my work and the school are far enough away that it's pretty sure to be more convenient to crash at one than the other sometimes."

He dabs at his cheek again. It stings, but the bleeding is slowing anyway. "As for what I was doing, I was just out to clear my head. I think that I do want to help, maybe even on the teams. Give something back you know? Even if maybe my ideals and the school's don’t line up exactly. Room for disagreement on stuff, right?"

*

"Do you want to go see to your cheek?" Amara asks, taking a look at the scratch. "You could at least get it cleaned up. It may not scar, but I would imagine it stings." The mention of ideals, though, catches her attention, curiosity sparking. "Which of the ideals of the school do you disagree with?" she asks, absently pushing her hands through her hair. Going molten always does odd things to it.

"Yeah, I should probably wash it out." He doesn't seem overly concerned about whether or not it will scar. He's got one of those enviable situations where he looks pretty decent no matter what and doesn't seem to realize it. People hate people like him.

*

"Oh, well… I guess it's a question of things I'm still deciding for myself. I don't think there's really anything to be gained long term by hiding. I mean, I don't really think like those militants at the protests that we should be pushing and forcing ourselves out there but… eh." He waves the thought off.

"I just want to be people, because really I am. I'm different, sure, but still people. Was talking to Nancy and she mentioned she was feeling a bit trapped and had been asked to stay at the institute for the safety of the institute. I mean hers too, but that's the sort of thing I'm talking about. If we're more worried about our hides when we're helping people than the people we're helping, do we really have any business doing it in the first place?"

Bobby let's out another sigh. "I'm probably overthinking it, to be honest."

*

"I don't think so," Amara shakes her head. "I mean to say, I don't think you're over thinking it. It's a complicated issue. Hiding is…" She considers for a long moment. "An option," she finally says. "I doubt that Nancy would experience much difficulty. In the absence of other mutants, she is as ordinary as anyone else. You and I can pass for normal. But then there are people like Hank. Or, honestly, even myself if I'm truly using my powers. That frightens people. I have fewer concerns about hate than I do about fear."

*

Bobby nods. "Fear was what drove me from my home. A lot of what people call hate is really just scared people who don't feel like they have a choice. It's not right, but…" He shrugs. "Frightened people, frightened anything really, are dangerous and unpredictable, so I don't think you're wrong there at all. And I mean sure… some folks don't have it as easy as I did. At least I got to go to college, have a normal job… that's part of why I want to give back: Because I can now. I guess it's gonna take all types though and I'm trying to make myself comfortable with that… if that makes any sense."

*

"That depends," Amara laughs, smile flashing. "It takes all kinds to do what? I understand the fear. We are very different from the rest of humanity. The things that we do? They can be very dangerous. And while it is easy to ask people to register to drive, or carry a weapon, how do you ask someone to register their existence? And what do you tell them if they choose not to? It isn't as though you can take it away from them."

*

"Takes all kinds to help people. That's what I meant. There's room for disagreements about what maybe the best thing is so long as we all do agree that what we're here to do is help people. Keep that in mind, I think, and we can't stray to far off the mark."

Bobby nods as Amara lists, really, all the reasons that make people fear mutants even more, the little details they worry about. "Even more than that, though, I think is just the unknown. People have always feared what they don't understand. Everything from celestial phenomena to the tribe across the river. This is just more of that…"

*

"Except that now people have more ways to make life difficult for people who are different," Amara agrees. "You are right, though. Hiding is not a long-term solution. Which is at least part of why so much of the school's mission is education. Yes, it is also a safe place for us while we come to terms with our powers," she admits. "But not everyone is safe for the public while they're learning to control their powers. I was somewhat…volcano-prone, myself."

"No, and not everyone comes from places where it would be safe for people to see them." He grins at her. "Though, perhaps before we practice together at some point you can show me that. I imagine it must be pretty damn impressive." He chuckles. "I'll try not to get too singed. And I think the school is important. I wouldn't have stopped by if I didn't. I just hope… well, I hope we can make a difference. I think it's important to remember that we're not alone though. It's natural to want to be around people like you, but we have friends out here too. I work for some of them."

He snaps his fingers. "That reminds me. Here, I wrote down that contact information for the lab and the lawyer if you want it."

*

"I'll show you at the school," Amara promises with a laugh. "I've enough control over it now not to do too much damage, but the city does frown upon even small volcanos in the streets. And I think the time for hiding is short, to be honest. Every day there are more of us. We are a population that is actually growing. Whether or not we are the next step of human evolution or are destined to replace the rest of humanity, we’re not going to be minorities forever."

*

"Yeah and whatever our relationship with the 'normals'…" There's a slight edge to Bobby's voice there, but it quickly passes. "It's gonna be defined by things that happen soon. If we don't at least try to make an effort to define it for ourselves, it will be defined for us. That's how it's always worked…" He chuckles and waves again, his easy grin back.

"Though it sounds like I hardly need to tell you that."

*

"So it would seem," Amara agrees, smile wry. "I should be heading back to the school, though. There is a morning class on tactics for the summer students that I was hoping to sit in on, and I want to get back before dark. It was good to see you, Bobby," she says with a polite dip of her chin, taking the numbers to tuck them into her pocket. "And thank you. The next time you're at the school, we should practice more."

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