In Spite of all the Danger
Nova stuffed the letter from Marthinus in her pocket as she pushed open the red door leading into the abby, taking a turn for the stairs leading to the platform hanging over the pit rather than the pit itself. Not very conducive to talking, after all, though the loud music made conversation something of a trick in and of itself. Even so, the steel overlook served as a comfortable balcony where one could see the crowd without being a part of it.
Not that the crowd tonight was particularly overwhelming. For some explosions kind of killed the mood, though the cluster of people in the pit seemed to be the type who were energized by such things. Nova just found all the crap a little tiring and was glad her brother wanted to hang out.
She slid into one of the booths at the back of the platform and patted the seat next to her.
"Weird night."Â? She snorted at the understatement. "On so many levels..."Â?
Overall it had been a strange night. Not all bad but definitely weird. Simon was okay with him taking Addison as a familiar. Addison seemed more than okay with the situation himself. Simon and Carol were fast moving into the married for years type of couple. Nova was seeing a nosey human reporter that she once pinned to a wall and threatened to hunt down. Marthinus was gone back home and there were a lot of new Tacharan in the city.
Jan slumped down in the booth opposite Nova and raised his eyebrows at her comment.
"Uh yeah. I never knew you had a talent for understatement."Â?
“Yeah, let’s try that again. Was there a part of tonight that –wasn’t- completely fucked up? Because I’m sitting here wondering which thing was the weirdest and discovering it’s not a particularly broad spectrum.”
She gave her shoulders a little shrug and added:
“Well…I guess to be fair there was a really short moment when everyone was sitting together and acting almost normal. That was alright.”
Looking around the club for a minute, she scowled when she realized there was no drink in her hand.
“You want something from the bar? I gotta make up for lost time…figured it might be sorta shitty to drink around a recovering alchy.”
" I don't know. I found all the Tacharan sitting around behaving to be pretty disturbing personally."Â?
Of course it was only a temporary state before something happened and someone caused trouble. If they didn't then he was just as likely to do it himself out of boredom.
He looked up at her at the mention of behaving by not drinking in front of the alcoholic.
"Eh, should have gone ahead and drank. Testing the resolve and all that."Â?
Shrugging, Jan considered what he wanted. He was in the mood for something different from his usual.
"Seven and Seven. If you don't mind."Â?
He smiled up at her for being gracious enough to go get it.
“I thought that was funny. In a surreal sort of way. And were you there when Alec started making the fancy plates? He’s like some kind of savant or something.”
Catching her brother’s drink request, she slid out of the booth, rolling her eyes over her shoulder at his encouragement to drink around Evans. She shoved her way up to the bar and, having no trouble with getting the bartender’s attention, soon had a shot on the counter and two drinks. After downing the shot, she picked up the two glasses and made her way back to the table.
“Seven and Seven for you, Jack and coke for me.”
She gave Jan’s drink a push to get it to his side of the table and picked up her glass, raising it in a sarcastic toasting gesture.
“To…not dying in fires!”
There might be several people in the world that could afford to die in a fire as far as Jan was concerned but none of those were present, at least that he noticed anyway. He wondered if everyone made it out but figured the explosion probably killed a few people near the blast. What were the odds that no one was injured? He wasn't feeling optimistic most days and today wasn't an exception.
Jan accepted his drink and took a healthy swallow before answering her earlier statement.
"No, I missed Alec's amazing talent with food preparation. Is he going to have one of those "Long Kiss Goodnight"Â? moments where he says. "I was a chef! I believe I was a chef!'?"Â?
It was more likely to be exactly like the movie when he thought about it. Something along the lines of 'I was a cold hearted assassin or maybe just a really good thief.' but he really could not picture Alec merrily chopping away on celery and carrots and calling it a dream life. Though who knows about some people.
Which reminded him.
"So what's with you and Evans anyway? Did you lose a bet?"Â?
“Dude! I haven’t seen that movie, don’t be telling me what happens!” She took another sip of her drink. “But yeah, it was pretty nuts.”
At Jan’s next question Nova found she was glad she wasn’t currently sipping a drink, though it might have given her something to do with her hands. She gave him a squirrelly sort of look and tried stalling tactics.
Hmm, could she distract him with something shiny? Probably not.
Maybe they would suddenly be interrupted by…anyone…
Deciding this wasn’t working all that well, she tried tackling matters head on.
“Yeah. I mean no. No bets. I don’t know. One minute we were fighting one like cats and dogs and the next we were jumping each other…” She pulled a face. “Yeah I guess that was too much information. Anyway…” She shrugged. “I guess…I like him?”
Satisfied that she had completely put her foot in her mouth and bungled that answer up royally, she leaned her head back on the booth and looked to Jan with a calculating eye.
“So you and Addison.”
"Hey, good movie, I will say no more."Â?
He waited for the eruption of defense at her choice of date and instead got...sputtering? This wasn't good. The revelation was not really surprising. Jan squeezed his eyes shut and grimaced.
"Happy place....go to the happy place.... happy place."Â?
Opening his eyes, he looked at Nova and shook his head.
"Yeah, well whatever rocks your boat, I suppose. I just remember you wanting to kill him. Isn't he... well, a jerk? As I recall."Â?
This had been the guy that was harassing an old man on what could have been his death bed and fighting and threatening a whole group of people while they were concerned for a loved one. Ballsy but a bit stupid. He supposed that was Evans in a nutshell. Hmm, Nova liked that type?
"I don't fear him hitting you or anything. I'm pretty sure you can take care of yourself. If he ever does though..."Â?
He'd be Jan's next meal, no matter what Simon said about the guy. He chuckled to himself inwardly. Having a sister was still kinda new to him. Who knew he'd be all protective and shit? But while Nova could throw Kyle Evans around like a rag doll it didn'tt mean she wouldn't be all sappy in love and let him treat her badly. Jan had seen that kind of thing before, even from his earliest days. Maybe Evans was different from the freaky whacked out reporter that he had seen when they were alone, he just knew what he had to go on.
He raised his eyebrows at her last statement.
"You really like him?"Â? He shrugged. "I mean there's always rough sex and that never hurt anyone. Evans doesn't even look so bad....when he's clean."Â?
Taking a swig of his drink, Jan looked over at her blandly. [/i]
"Me and Addison what? He needed someone to take care of him in Tacharan.... and He's hot. Don't go ordering china or anything."Â?
“Maybe I’ll rent it…want me to give you a ring if I do? Might be fun for a bunch of us to chill and watch a vid actually.”
Thinking maybe they –were- getting disturbingly wholesome with this talk of hanging out and watching movies together instead of robbing banks and blowing shit up and generally acting like a pack of thugs, she chuckled and sipped her drink.
Jan didn’t take well to the TMI and Nova waited for the retreat to the happy place to blow over, wondering what exactly was in her brother’s version of the fantasy land. Probably not the desert and stars as far as the eye could see that her own version seemed to consist of.
She shook her head adamantly at Jan’s next remark, feeling the need to explain.
“Oh, don’t get me wrong. He messes with my family and he’ll get fucked up for sure.” Nodding firmly, she thought a little too late that she might want to defend the jerk remark. “And…yeah, he’s…well he can be a cranky yelling bastard but then, so can I. So…I guess I get it or something.”
She snickered at the rough sex remark, grinning in that special ‘I got laid’ sort of way.
“Yeah, geez, I tell you what!”
On second thought, though…maybe she shouldn’t tell him what. She snorted at Jan’s assessment of his…thing…with Addison, raising her glass.
“Fair enough. To hot guys and broken china!”
It would, she thought, be pretty dense to rib her brother over his cuddlysnugglyness at the party when he could get her back way, way worse.
“Oh, but I got an ethical question, of sorts…you know how Simon was all ‘Evans is not to be touched’ and whatnot? Er…I assume that doesn’t mean I can’t bite him as, like, a sex thing…right?”
"So long as it isn't one of those uplifting message movies then I'm good with it. I'll just flip through the inspirational poster catalog if I want a quick fix of mush and motivation, thank you very much."Â?
He gave her a funny look at her admission to Kyle being a cranky yelling bastard and to her admitted similarity. His mind wandered to the idea that some time down the road the two of them might end up sharing a place and yelling at each other from morning until night, only shutting up for sex and sleep. He felt for the imagined neighbors already.
After the noisy mental image, Jan decided his brain should not be allowed unauthorized detours.
"I can drink to that. And hey, if we drink enough more of the guys will look hot."Â?
He eyed the bar below with some skepticism before shrugging and taking another swallow.
Turning back to Nova, he raised his eyebrows at the mention of an ethical question. She was coming to him about an ethical question? Of course, there was probably no one, save perhaps Simon, in Tacharan who would be suited for such a thing. Mathias perhaps, but Jan didn't know him very well and he doubted Nova did either.
Hearing the question made him grin.
The smile grew sly and amused before he responded seriously, or semi seriously at any rate.
"Oh you meant you... Hmm, I think the prohibition against biting Evans was made so one of us didn't kill him. You know because he -is- such a friendly guy and all. I'd say so long as you didn't rough him up -too- bad or send the human to the hospital then you're all good."Â?
He frowned and narrowed his eyes at her.
"You're not..thinking of turning him or anything, right? Because that would definitely be a talk to Simon first deal. Kinky bed sport though equals good times."Â?
Jan leaned back again and grinned lopsided at her.
"Sides you can't tell me that our dear dad isn't nipping Carol every now and then, whether he wants to drink or not. Its our nature to..you know...chew on things."Â?
“Okee, so I’ll be renting…Fried Green Tomatoes, The Color Purple, uh, what was that one…Steel Magnolias….” Grinning, she ducked a little to avoid a shove and shook her head. “God, I feel a little more disgusting just saying the titles!”
She wasn’t sure that even beer goggles would help some of the dudes around here…although that one was hot. And that one. Oh yeah. That one too. She got so caught up in ooogling that Jan’s exclamation startled her a little and she had to blink before she caught up to his comment. Even so, she was somewhat assured by her brother’s next thoughts.
“See that’s what I figured…only…you know? There was weirdness.”
She gave her head an emphatic shake at Jan’s next question, looking a little boggled.
“What would I want to turn him for?”
At Jan’s next comment, though, she blinked. Very slowly.
“Oh my god. Jan. Simon and Carol have SEX!” She realized she’d said that last bit a little loudly, though it wasn’t all that likely anyone outside the booth would hear her considering the music and everything. Even so, she did her best to keep it down. “Dude. That’s like. Man.”
“You know those are awful. There aren't even any hot chicks in those movies to distract yourself with looking at. I mean there is Julia Roberts but aside from the admittedly nice legs, she hasn't got much going for her. You know with that huge set of teeth... she'd make an excellent vampire.”
He was relieved when she answered his question to the negative. They had just started getting to know one another and if Jan still understood things correctly then it was something of stormy relationship at this point. If it didn't last then it would totally suck to have an ex hang around for an eternity -and- be your child.
Pushing that thought aside he went on the rest of the conversation, raising his eyebrows at her exclamation.
“Well I haven't actually walked in on them or anything. Though I did call Simon once while he was 'busy' and the tone said it wasn't paperwork. So you do the math. Talk about cradle robbing! Its a shame she won't let me call her mom. I guess he hasn't popped the question yet.”
Grinning at Nova, he asked.
“So are you going to be a bride's maid? Or I know...the flower girl!”
Jan slid under the table in an attempt to hide the knock on the head that was likely to come from that question. Leaning his head back against the seat, he watched for signs of trouble before showing back up again.
Privately, she thought the one brown haired chick in Fried Green Tomatoes…whatever the hell her name was, the best friend, was pretty doable, but she figured Jan didn’t go for that type.
She wrinkled her nose when Jan started talking about the interrupting phone call, hoping she wasn’t about to hear references to moaning in the background. Or dirty talk.
She would bet Carol was a dirty talker.
Ew. Ewewewewewew happy place happy place ew shower shower Simon and Carol in the shower oh my god anything but that happy place!
Suspecting she would never. Ever. Be clean again, she made a face at Jan that turned to an eyeroll at his disgruntled remark. Then he added his quip about the flower girl and she grabbed a handful of napkins, throwing them where Jan’s head had been moments before and laughing.
“Are you crazy? I’m never wearing a dress again! Look what happens, I’ve heard of people being hard on their clothes but this is ridiculous.” She nodded firmly. “Besides, I think it might be unlucky.”
He smiled sweetly at her and shook his head.
"No one said you -had- to wear a dress. Hell, wear leather. I think that would be cool. Though Carol would likely want you in a dress. Just uhm...surprise her."Â?
Jan did give her a quizzical look at the mention of it being unlucky.
"Okay, explain how this was unlucky. Because, if Carol's exclamation at the party was true, which I believe it is safe enough to assume it is. You got laid so what's bad? I mean you weren't -in- the dress at the time..."Â?
The events of the night finally finished playing themselves through in his head and he stopped.
"Oh the fire? Nah, I would say that is what happens when Tacharan behave. See if we had been causing mischief people would have been so busy with our trouble that they wouldn't have had time to blow up the building."Â?
Leaning back in the seat again, he smiled more seriously at her.
"Besides you looked beautiful."Â?
Jan’s comment about her ‘getting lucky’ was a fair point, though that was technically before she put on the dress.
“Still can’t believe Carol said that.”
She gave a little shrug, but she had a big shiteating grin plastered to her face remembering the moment Kyle shoved her up against a wall with something close to wistfulness. Then her brother cottoned on to her meaning and she gave him a look of sarcastic sincerity.
“Ya, the –fire-. Remember that?” She peered at him closely with a slight frown, then held up a closed fist and asked: “How many fingers am I holding up? What’s the President’s Birthday?” With a solemn nod, she concluded with: “Do you know where your children are?”
Ducking to avoid potential projectiles, she snickered at his reasoning regarding Tacharan trouble.
“So really, we’re protecting the city by causing enough…fairly minor problems…that no one can get to the big stuff. Sounds good to me.”
Okay, so it wasn’t all ‘little mischief’…sometimes it was blowing up buildings and killing people, though she wasn’t privy to how much of the latter really went on. Eh, whatever; they were a bunch of thugs and she liked it that way.
The corner of her mouth quirked into a little grin when Jan gave his opinion of her in a dress and she studied the table top, giving a grunt that might have been a thanks.
That eloquent utterance made, she leaned back in the booth and knocked back the rest of her drink.
“’Nother one for you? Or do you have things to do and stuff? I know, I know, pimpin’ ain’t easy.” She tilted her head to one side, considering. “How’s Nox going by the way? I hear you’re doing some eternity gigs now?”
Jan nodded solemnly at her questions and pretended to be serious.
“The correct answer to all these questions is forty two.”
Smiling brightly, he put on his best innocent choir boy face, and after many years of perfecting it, he felt that he was quite good at it.
“Oh yes, we are simply doing a community service. Tacharan deserves medals for our tireless efforts on behalf of the city.”
Her response to a compliment on her looks was typical and Jan personally thought Evans had his work cut out for him. He wondered how many times Nova was going to not believe him or simply punch him in the arm or some other 'one of the guys' response to anything remotely close to 'you're damn hot', or worse, something more eloquent. Was Kyle capable of eloquent? He shrugged at his own thoughts; it probably didn't matter to Nova anyway.
Looking down at his empty glass, he nodded.
“There is nothing on this planet that could not be aided by another glass of hard liquor.”
He grinned at her statement about pimping but having seen the real job, he found the slang kind of odd, though he would agree there were times when it wasn't easy. Not his thing though, he had pretty much always been considered one of the goods. In reference to the band though, ah, that made sense.
“Yeah, its not too bad. You know how it is...the goth scene has become popular with all the yuppies. They want to see what the freaks are up to. Gives them a bit of a thrill to watch.”
He put on his best prim voice and sat up straight.
“Darling, you will never believe what I did last night at Eternity. I -watched- this fascinating little troupe. I cannot -tell- you how remarkably ragged and strange they were. Why I believe they actually thought they were..." He leaned forward and mock whispered. "-vampires-.”
Jan snorted and shrugged. They were a freak show to the upper crust, a fashionable little glimpse into the life of dark souled goth that the privileged elite were never going to understand. Both groups generally hated each other with something close to passion, secretly envying what was on the other side of the social fence. Wealth and beauty or freedom and expression. It was an age old conflict that he did not see being resolved any time soon.
“Its work and hey, all the Bradleys, Jessicas, Trentons and Brittanys generally make clean meals. A little drug and alcohol here and there but certainly better than a lot of meals.”
“Stop, stop! The halo, it burns me! My eyes!”
Laughing and shaking her head, she dropped the act and rested her elbows on the table.
“Ah yes, the answer to everything…now you’ve got me thinking about how different this evening could have gone if only I had remembered my towel…”
Jan’s assessment of the Club Eternity crowd struck her as a little cynical, though no less accurate for the attitude, and she pointed one finger at him, nodding wisely.
“I’ll –bet- it gives them a thrill! Plotting to keep the freaks down, they are!”
She gave a snort at Jan’s impression and subsequent list of names, though she reflected that it was probably a bad idea to mock other people for weird names considering. After all, what must –they- think of a dude named Jan? She considered voicing this thought aloud but then self preservation instincts kicked in.
Besides, it wasn’t like Nova was exactly considered a normal name around here.
Instead, she decided poking fun at the silly rich people was a much more entertaining route, and faked an accent that might have been English…or something.
Okay, so she sucked at faking accents!
“Oh Buffy, you don’t –say-! I’ve –heard- about those people, of course, but it must have been positively –tingly- to see them up close!” Grinning, she broke away from her accent and shook her head. “Hey, think I could get in sometime and see your show? Wouldn’t mind me some of that action and if they’re going to gawk at you I think I should get to gawk at them.”
She didn’t understand the logic of what she had just said, but the idea still sounded reasonable enough.
Deciding she couldn’t be arsed to get up to get drinks, she instead gave a loud ‘oy’ to a waiter clearing off another table and pointed to their empty glasses when his head snapped up. He wandered over to the table and Nova held up her glass.
“’Nother Jack and Coke for me…Jan you want Seven and Seven again?” Realizing she might have come off as a little rude, she turned back to the waiter and plastered a smile on her face, forcing the politeness out of her mouth with unnatural effort. “Please.”
Tossing a stray curl out of his eyes with a flick of his head, Jan then gave her a grin full of fangs denying his former 'angelic' status.
"My doctor says that I have a malformed public-duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre and that I am therefore excused from saving universes."Â?
He laughed at her own performance but nodded at her request.
"Of course you can. Having normal people among the -enemy- is always a good thing."Â?
Holding up his empty glass for the waiter, he smiled and confirmed his order.
"Yeah, seven and seven please."Â?
He turned back to Nova and shrugged while they waited.
"So there is really no use asking who did this terrible deed just yet. No real use discussing the fate of Tacharan just yet because its too soon to tell. So what bullshit have we not caught up on? I did see Arin BjÃƒÂ¶rn was at the dinner. Have you told Evans about your secret love affair with Arin yet?"Â?
“We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy!”
She only laughed harder when Jan gave his doctor’s excuse, trying to shake her head and respond between chuckles.
“…I’m a need to see a note, sir!”
Getting her giggles under control, she tried for a more solemn expression when Jan said she could go to a show.
“You…you think I’m –normal-?” Her grin was threatening to break through but she bit down on the inside of her cheek to keep it in a little longer. “You have no idea what that means to me…” Okay, so the grin was pretty much irrepressible.
She snapped her fingers and pointed, sharply, when Jan brought up Arin Bjorn. “Oooh! Dude, what was –up- with that? I didn’t know he and Simon were friends! What the fuck, he could have given me the hook up!”
Well, okay, Simon probably had no idea that she had a…well, she wouldn’t say she had a –thing- exactly. Just because you had Arin Bjorn wallpaper on your laptop and hung out at the official Arin Bjorn website didn’t mean there were…-things-…involved.
Still. Arin Bjorn was hot, and Simon was keeping him all to himself.
Oh. Bad mental image. Where the hell did that come from?
“Anyway, yeah, Evans doesn’t suspect a thing!” She snorted. “Famous last words, eh?” She had a mental image of Kyle and Arin fighting for her affections, while she stood back yelling ‘not his face, not his face!’. Or maybe she would jump in the middle of the fray and start helpfully tearing at clothes…okay that was just a creepy thought.
The waiter returned with their drinks in short order, though he nearly wandered off without taking the empty glasses. Man, some people were just so unmotivated.
When she asked for a note after he quoted the book he chuckled. Did that make him more of a geek than Nova? She had the geeky job though. He tried to imagine her in a lab coat with her hair in a bun and wearing the coke bottle glasses and the mandatory pocket protector; it was enough to start him giggling again if he weren't careful.
"I'll get back to you on that."Â?
Grinning along with her over the high praise of being normal, he shrugged.
"Well look at who its coming from and consider that it might be a comparison thing."Â?
Jan shook his head at Nova's little obsession and wondered again what she would do when she found out he was gay. Crushed, totally crushed! Or maybe she would just want to watch or something. He had to admit that Arin's partner was pretty damn hot as well. Though he doubted he would be able to refrain from touching if he were allowed to watch. Which wouldn't happen so why was even on this tangent? Oh yes, Simon not giving Nova that hookup. He looked at her solemnly and said.
"Obviously our dear father...was keeping him all to himself. It is always a shame when the image of the perfect parent is shattered for the first time."Â?
He pretended to look at her with pity before smiling. The waiter returning with his drink distracted him for a moment and he took several swallows before looking back up at her.
"Good luck keeping that juicy bit of news away from the reporter. He might be going through your computer files right this minute! I wonder just what kind of interesting things he'd find on the browser history. Did you hide all the huge posters in the closet before letting him into your apartment? And I bet the Arin plushie had to go under the pillow. Poor thing."Â?
“True, true, it’s all relative I suppose.”
She cringed when Jan voiced her very bad thoughts, wondering just why in the hell he had to go there.
“You know, I –just- finished getting that mental image out of my head. Thank you.”
She gave a bow of mock thanks, then took an overly large gulp of her drink in an attempt to erase pictures of Simon and Arin running off hand in hand for a secret tryst.
Jan’s suggestion that Kyle was going through her files at this very moment was a touch disturbing, but she didn’t save anything too private on her laptop. Now Kyle in her lab, that was hella disturbing. She rolled her eyes at his mention of giant posters and plushies; she was a little more subtle than –that-!
“Very funny.” Tilting her head to one side, she added: “Do they really sell Arin plushies?”
In an attempt to act casual while asking, she picked up her drink absently and managed to stab herself in the face with the straw. Scowling, she picked out the straw and threw it, not really caring where it landed.
The action also had the unfortunate result of spilling a little onto her shirt, and she picked up what napkins were still nearby to dab at the spreading stain.
“Jesus, it’s amazing I haven’t tripped right into an early grave.”