Colorways

February 17, 2017:

Paint has an idea for a business partnership. Ribbon can barely believe her eyes.

Mutant Town, Hikari's Workshop

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Agent Carter

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Work work work, busy busy busy. Hikari loves it.

Two new dressforms have been set up in her workshop, one of them half-dressed in what looks like it will be some sort of wool blazer. The other one is nude save for a page full of sketches pinned to its chest. Hikari herself is drawing long lines on a piece of something that looks very much like graph paper writ super large, with the squares marking out whole inches. She's got two more blouse patterns to make for Agent Carter, and then tomorrow she goes in for her first shift at Stark Tower.

A bolt of red Shantung silk is leaned carefully against the rack of other bolts, a manila envelope leaned against /it/, with what might as well be '$^ #&%' written in her loopy script.

—-

Even though her words are gone, Paint can still sing breathy vowels replacing the lyrics, though she drops to a hum when she's close enough she might be bothering someone. She still remembers the lyrics. She just can't get them out of her head into any other form anymore. And so she's quietly and very somberly cooing out the melody of Daughter - Medicine as she steps up to Ribbon's workplace. She can get the sound out smoothly as long as she doesn't try to form any liguistic structure from it, which makes her sound particularly eloquent compared to other uses of her voice. She peeks in through the… wall. Which obligingly becomes transparent but not invisible as she leans up against it. And then turns back as she pulls away. Then Paint knocks on the door.

—-

Hikari doesn't know that song, but she might like it if she did. It's a bit different than her usual! She looks at the pattern paper, frowns, and marks a different curve than the one she'd gone with just seconds ago. There, that's better.

Blissfully, she does not see Paint peek in on her. She's focused! She's in her zone.

Knock, knock!

Hikari blinks, takes a good long look at the piece she's been mapping out to remember her place, and goes to open the door. "Comiiin, comiiin—"

She jumps a bit when the door opens to reveal Paint and her BIG FREAKING EYES THAT SEE ALL THE COLORS. "Ee? I mean hi!" Perhaps to her credit, she does immediately open the door wide. "Come in! There's stuff to make tea on the little table if you want some."

—-

Paint is… submissive? She steps inside cautiously, sweeping her gaze slowly across everything. Committing the room as it is permanently to memory whether she wants to or not. "Neh," she sighs, halting her song. She doesn't look Ribbon in the eyes, which… is quite a contrast to her previous behavior! Instead she holds up a piece of construction paper. And then it turns clear like tracing paper, except for the outline of a paper doll dress shape. Paint flicks the paper a few times with the fingers of her other hand, showing off sudden recolorings of that paper doll outfit into different styles. Including some 'open front' designs that would be inviting a wardrobe malfunction if the paper were cut away instead of merely invisible. And to help get her point across, Paint pushes on the invisible part to dent the surrounding paper tellingly. "Eh? Eh!"

—-

This… is a little unusual. Hikari remembers Paint acting… well, no. She saw the other girl check on those men. But… hmm. How much does she really /know/ about Paint, the inside of her head?

Not a whole hell of a lot.

Still Hikari kinda can't help but tilt her head a fraction of an inch. Not even meeting her eyes??

But the trick with the paper is pretty cool. She watches intently as the dress changes color, changes cut — oh wow, thank god for fashion tape and spray adhesive — and lets her eyes wander along with her mind. "What, you want to make clothes too?" There's got to be a better way to do this, because she feels as if she's talking down to her like a dog. What's that, Lassie, did you wanna use the sewing machine? "Well… I can put these off a while. Okay!" Besides, she really wants to see how her abilities can change the art of sewing. "Bring over the first bolt of cloth from the top row? The white cotton. I'll clear the work table and you can show me your stuff!"

—-

Paint gets only slightly huffy at what appears to be a suggestion that the /initial/ color of the fabric is in any way relevant. She sucks in a slow breath and grips one hand tight, then nods and grabs the cotton. Maybe white is cheap? She doesn't know. If it is, then that's what to use. White isn't even a color. It's just a variety of other colors mixed in such a way that normal eyes can't distinguish them. The white of cloth is a different color from the white of paper to paint to glue to… not the time. Paint shakes her head a bit and starts to hum, setting the cloth down. And then with a firm press of her hand it's no longer white but blisteringly sparkly ruby as if carved from innumerable precious gems, and slightly luminous with backlighting.

—-

White is plentiful! She can't very well try to ask Paint to replace a bolt of Yellow Cloud Aster in 40-60 cotton-linen blend! …Well she /could/ but she's not going to because that would be kind of frivolous and, and she's getting off track.

She can barely /begin/ to understand the kinds of white that Paint must see. Sure, there are minute differences to many of them - just ask anybody trying to pick a wall color - but Hikari can only see so many of them. She tucks the most-of-a-pattern underneath a pair pattern weights on the sewing table and turns around to watch Paint do something so amazing that she feels her knees go weak. "Oh."

Eyes wide, lips parted, Hikari steps to the side of the work table, hesitating before laying a hand on the beautiful new fabric. "Oh my god. It's /beautiful/."

She may need a minute to process.

—-

Despite what it looks like, it feels entirely like cotton. Because of course, she can't heal scars either, or change the actual substance of the fabric. Paint holds up the sheet of construction paper again, only this time it has the faces of dead presidents in a particular shade of green, and Paint holds her other hand out palm up, shrugging and sweeping it towards Ribbon and the cloth. "Eh? Eh?!"

—-

"Yes! Yes, we can totally do business! This is amazing! I can't believe— the /light/—" Hikari is, of course, moderately useless as she flaps her hands a bit and babbles because she has just /had her mind blown/. "It's so perfect!"

How much money does she have in her purse? How many bolts of cloth can she give to Paint? How many can she use up in a week? Can she get Paint a job at one of the textile factories her family owns?!

Wait, maybe better not. Uncle Andy's already been stabbed once and he's definitely the kind of person who would find a way to piss off Paint. "Here!" She runs for the rack of fabric, pulling down all the white in every fabric (save one each of silk and chiffon because she needs white in that for an order). One by one, she stacks them up. "Do as many as you want, or as few as you want. I'll uh…" she does some quick mental math. "Is twenty dollars per bolt okay?"

—-

Paint smiles at the reaction, watching Ribbon scurry about clearly impressed. This is something clean. Money that's just hers, not Jacks's. The parts of her brain that used to write, read, speak, and count - instead grind through an absurd spatial and graphical computation that would crush supercomputers. That's what the terrible price of her brain defect traded in, and what her power bought with it. Full spectrum light and frequency analysis, refractions, luminence, opacity, diffusion, reflection… and then to wrap it into the shape of a dress. And then to FOLD it into the way the bolt is stacked so she can. Paint lets out a slight cry of approval and slaps bolt after bolt.
That one has photo realistic high-definition art of those metallic blue butterflies, flitting around red roses glistening with dewdrops on lush green leaves and sepals and stems.
That one is a solid black that shears colors off in the wrong direction to fool the eye into thinking it's rainbows.
That one is transparent stained glass, the exact image depicted borrowed from a local church and featuring angels and gold and sky.
That one is invisible but still GLOWS an unearthly blue-cyan that seems to shift depending on which angle it's viewed from, such that the eyes can't agree on its color.

—-

Oh god. Oh gods. Oh whatever is out there in space. Did you know what you were creating when you made Paint? Did you know that this was going to happen? Is this what having a religious epiphany is like? Hikari lives for her craft. She loves it, she will continue to love it her entire life, however short or long it may be. But she'd never even considered that this could happen.

"It's so beautiful," she murmurs. Her eyes feel moist. "It's so beautiful. Your power… I never imagined…" She can make so many things out of these. Sundresses and statement pieces from the butterfly fabric, a prom dress or quinceneara gown from the rainbow. The stained glass may become art panels, or a billowing circle skirt. The last one… she has no idea how she will even sew that. But god help her, she will find a thing to make and she will try!!

Hikari sniffles a bit, beaming. Stupid feelings! "That's beautiful. I can't even…"

What she /can/ even, is go through her purse, left lying on the work table. Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty… oh man, thank goodness she just got paid that retainer by Stark Industries. "One hundred…" She'll offer it over to Paint.

—-

Paint can't count. She looks at the money as Ribbon rattles it off, but the names of the numbers don't filter into any kind of mathematical understanding. One Jackson becomes "a few" Jacksons, and then some point later "some" Jacksons. And she knows a Jackson can get her "a few" trips to a fast food place. So this is "many" trips? That's as discrete as she can get about counting money. Which is why Jacks doesn't let her have or keep any. She turns the money invisible and tucks it away inside a pocket on her pants somewhere below the knee. Before rubbing her hand over the pocket to make the pocket also invisible. Paint points at the fabric. "Shhh… hhu…" She pauses. "haai…hh.." Then she growls and instead slaps her sheet of construction paper down over one of the altered bolts of cloth. It gets a picture of a cash register on the front. Paint tears it in half down the middle and holds up one half. Pointing to the fabric, then her shred of cash register, and herself.

—-

Hikari can't begin to say that she's closer to instinctively knowing what Paint is trying to get across to her. But some things are truly universal, like the concept of halfsies. "What- oh." Hmm. Hikari tucks her thumb underneath her chin in thought. Although Paint makes it look so simple, it really /is/ an amazing creation. And she truthfully has no idea how some of it will sell, even made into clothes, because the designs are /so/ unusual. But wagering half of the profit of sales after paying herself for her time and Paint for altering the materials…

She has to do a little more math. "Half of the profit for you, half for me. Don't worry, I won't tell anybody you've got it." Like any of Paint's gang would even begin to talk to Ribbon instead of just stabbing her on sight. "I don't know how popular they'll be at first. But I'll keep track of how each piece sells and you'll get half. Okay?"

—-

Paint nods. She points at Ribbon, then does the motion for sewing, and swishing her hands out in some kind of female side-curve. Then Paint points at herself, snaps her fingers, and takes a step back to dramatically poke the empty air she traced the lines through. A puff of purple smoke pops out. Thumbsup. She looks around a bit then grabs a style magazine from the bin and flops it down flat on a table. And… rather than opening it like a normal person, she turns the top page invisible, then the next, and so on down the book, glancing at each page with a picture on it and ignoring the text. Oh, that's a neat looking suit. Very black. Well. Paint grabs another bolt of cloth and… absolute midnight. A dark void sharp enough to cut. It's impossible to even see the folds in the fabric anymore, it's just a ball of black now, hungrily swallowing any light that touches it.

—-

"You want me to make you something?" She's certainly not against it. Hasn't she already got an enormous workload? And her classes too! But Hikari can surely spare the time for another outfit, and Paint doesn't have very much anyway, does she? She can do it! She doesn't need to sleep that much anyway.

The sad thing is, she's serious when she thinks like that.

"That one, huh?" It is pretty cool. It'd be fun to sew…! "Okay. I can do one outfit, at least for now… and in that black?" Oh. She thinks she gets it. "That'd be pretty great for sneaking around, huh?" Hikari murmurs, sotto voce. "But, uh… for now, can you turn it back? Because I need to see where the folds are to sew it properly." And she kind of wants her magazine put back the way it was, but she can buy another one. Whatever!!

—-

Paint shakes her head and mutters quietly, turning the fabric and the book back. She rubs her temples and sighs, then makes a flick across her throat with her fingers casually. Not what she wanted. But she's at a loss for how to explain in a different way, and instead just paces angrily kicking at the ground. Then she snaps her fingers. She pulls out the invisible money and… turns it not normal but glassy, setting it aside for the moment. Tapping each of the cloths she transformed, turning them back. Then pointing at Ribbon, then the cloth, then making sewing motions and scissors, and pointing at a mannequin. And then with a sigh to try to turn some of her angry frustration into mere exasperated frustration, she waits to see how that gets interpreted.

—-

Hikari watches her pace and kick at the ground for a bit. Don't stab her studio don't stab her studio Hikari pays rent for it—!

"What, you- heeeeey," she frowns, watching the bolts go back to their old plain white. "What, you want to wait and… turn them colors once they're made?" It does make a little sense. "It /would/ be easier to pattern match at the seams. But still, can't you turn those five back the way you had them? I really liked them." And I already paid you for them, she doesn't add!!

But then what about the suit Paint had shown her? "I wish I were better at understanding," she sighs. Not 'I wish you could speak', because it seems kind of bitchy to say that. She knows damn well that Paint would also like to be able to talk.

—-

Paint nods, and turns the cloth back like they were before taking her money back. But undoing the changes she made was PART OF what she was trying to get across, so she had to do that, and because she had to do that she had to give the money back… but she didn't want Hikari to think she was calling the deal off, so she only turned the money glassy not normal, and… Paint's rubbing her temples again, but yes, she seems pleased with her interpretation. Double thumbsup! And then she puts invisible money in her invisible pocket.

—-

But she /likes/ the bolts that Paint already colored and she kind of wants to sit down and hug them forever until it's time to actually turn them into something. What, Hikari is a fairly simple creature. She likes sewing and pretty things and sewing pretty things.

Whew. She seems to have figured this last idea out, at least. And she notices Paint rubbing her temples, because Hikari is not entirely stupid and has figured out that that's a bad sign. "Hey, why not take a rest for a while?" she suggests, and tugs out one of the chairs at the little table. "C'mon, try some of this. It tastes like peaches, and I've got one that's called Tension Tamer if you want to try that, it's not too bad…" Chamomile!

And there's a little basket with sugar and creamers. Hikari takes a pair of mugs down from the mug tree and starts picking through the tea box. "Let's just take a moment and rest."

Hikari pours boiling water into her Peach Passion mug. "Y'know, getting stabbed by you wasn't that bad after all. We're going to make sooooooooooooooooo many beautiful pieces, and money! …Please don't do it again though."

—-

Paint smiles at most of the discussion, tries a sip of tea… and at the request to not stab Ribbon again, Paint only gives a noncomittal shrug. She can't promise that.

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