Having Friends Over

Summary:
August 08 2014: Nancy and Bobby have Mike over for Dinner

Bobby's Flat

An inexpensive flat in a not-awful neighborhood of M-Town


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[* None]


Bobby is back at his flat again. What with things being the way they are this is the lowest drama place to get some rest. And hey, it's been his home since he started out here so, all is well. Nan went out earlier today but he's expecting her back. He thinks. Unless she starts drinking with a Russian again in which case, perhaps not.

*

No, no drinking tonight. Not with Russians or even Brazilians. She comes to the apartment, also avoiding the farm. She knows she should deal with it but, not today. She just wants a drama free day. When she sees Bobby, she smiles and goes to hug him. "You are the best thing to see after a tiring day."

*

Bobby smiles. "Tiring huh? Come on in. I'll get you a soda. Have you had dinner yet?" Ah mundane domestic life. Nancy gets a tight hug and then Bobby goes to get her a drink so they can both sit down. "Mike may come up in a bit," He mentions. The ice nerd figures Nancy probably won't mind that much. She seems to like Mike.

*

Almost as if he were waiting for the third mention of his name, Mike taps at the door. He's carrying a large-ish backpack, which will be obvious once he's let in, and a six-pack of beer. One of those is marked "MIKE" but the others contain Australian terrible-beer as opposed to American terrible-beer. Fosters. They export it because nobody in Oz will drink the wallaby piss.

*

Nancy puts her cello away and then goes to take her boots off. She stretches out her feet and relaxes on the couch, accepting the soda when it gets to her. "Don't get me wrong. I love my new job. It's nice to be working in my field. It's just … having to do the same piece again and again. It's like they can't read the music and just *do* it." She smiles at the mention of Mike. "It'll be nice to see him again. I like him."

*

"It wil- Oh hello. I think that's him." Bobby goes over to the door and opens it to admit Mike and his Australian-terrible beer.

"Heya buddy. Ears burning? You're just in time, Nan just got home. Come on in, take a load off. Dinner's Shepherd's Pie tonight. Hope you don't mind."

And it's in the oven and if Sherpherds Pie is a thing you like, it smells freaking amazing.

"Some people can't Nan. You've got talent. Though I think I've said that before."

*

Mike sniffs. Ah. Right. What do I need to add to balance that for my weird sense of taste? Hm. Turmeric and acetone. Let's … add the acetone to a beer instead of to the food so they don't have to smell it.

"Hello, Nancy. I can read the music and just do it, but it sounds robotic and stupid until I practice it a few times. Even when I'm the instrument." He takes the MIKE-labeled can, and a second one, and begins doing weird things with a phial of chemicals from his pouch, injecting it into the second can. Fortunately (or handily?) he can seal the injection site before it gets a chance to do anything foamy or spillish.

*

Nan smirks over at Bobby. Yeah, he keeps telling her she's amazing, but she doesn't see it. It's so easy after all. Reading the music and then just letting it flow through you. She doesn't actually think it's that impressive of a skill.

She shifts on the couch to smile over to Mike when he comes in. "I guess that's why I'm in Juilliard. Speaking of which, one more year *and* I have special allowance for my job, since it's in my field. Still have to do tests and stuff, but my schedules won't conflict. Mostly cause the shows are in the evenings except on weekends."

*

"Plus it means that I get to hear her play," Bobby grins. "Too bad 'second guitar' isn't a thing in orchestral music." Not that Bobby is that good. He's good, yeah. Really good. But not orchestra good. Which is fine since there are no guitars in this orchestra.

"So how was your day Mike? Build any new cars with your arm and leg recently?" Bobby turns to go to the kitchen, chill the beer, fetch a drink for Nan and check on dinner. It'll be done shortly, yep. When he returns it's with a very sweet soda.

He flops down on the couch next to Nancy and puts his arm around her. "I gotta say that was neat to watch."

*

"Yeah. That was actually me showing off a bit. And making sure Mr. DaCosta would think fondly of our community here. It was easier than it seemed, we had the plans and designs for his car already, which is why I phoned home. Normally we'd have ordered the parts and I'd assemble them and make sure everything fit perfectly, but I wanted him to know what I can do." Mike sets his backpack on the floor and sits next to it, poisoned beer safely out of reach of the others.

"Actually, I spent the day working out at my recycle center over in Elizabeth. Neutralized 20 tons of stored toxic waste. Only 50 to go. Exhausting, but … sorta profitable, I suppose."

*

"Well, it's not orchestral, but it's Broadway. No room in the Symphony for a cellist yet. But soon. Yell, with any luck, soon. A year or five." She sips at her soda, smiling. "I have to say, Mike, that was the coolest thing I've ever seen. And I'm dating him!" she says with a point to Bobby. "So I've seen some pretty cool things." She winks over to Bobby as she teases. "The arm and leg? That was just … adorable. It made an impression on a lot of people. Not just him. Us, the others in the neighborhood. You are on a lot of folks lips."

*

Ain't that the truth. Between his upgrades to the apartment and that trick the other day? Mike is regular topic of conversation around here. There's mutants and then there's Mike. He's on another level for sure. "In a good way too. Keep it up and someone will try to get you to run for office." Bobby winks.

"Seriosly though, you do good work and I'm glad you're not afraid to be seen doing it." Also, he heard that Mike kicked ass in the hospital. Which is good to know on another level.

"Well, Nan, by that point your name'll be out too, if you keep playing the way you are. I know orchestras are a big deal but it's the one place I can think of where talent wins out more often than not."

*

"Office. Uh oh. I'll have to be a rat bastard to make up for that," Mike says, laughing. "No seriously, that was intended to be a joke. I could've hidden stuff. Probably should. I'm kinda trying to learn to live normally, not be a freak. But I'm definitely up for doing more renovation work in the neighborhood, and I have requests for that, so I guess I'm stuck being the repair hero. And … Nancy? It seems to me like you spend a lot of energy denying your talent."

*

Nancy laughs as the idea of Mike being some sort of politician comes up. "New York's first honest politician? Nah, it will never fly." Nancy rises her shoulders to Mike. "I'm not denying it. I just don't really think that I'm that good. I just like to play. I like the way I *feel* when I play. My cello and I…. well, you know what they say about cellists." Actually, they probably don't.

*

"They hate Pachelbel's Cannon in D?" Bobby offers. He actually hasn't heard that one. He's told Nancy before though that she's really good.

Then the timer goes off. "Keep talking. I'm just gonna take dinner out of the oven." The ice nerd grins and goes to the kitchen.

*

"Yeah peanuts are not nuts, they're seeds," Mike says, "Also, what DO they say about cellists? Searching…"

Google is such a useful thing sometimes. He finds a page of Cellist jokes… wow, so much hate.

"What's the latest crime wave in New York City? … Drive-by cello recitals."

*

"They are legumes, actually. But yummy. So glad I'm not allergic. They are one of my fave toppings on a chocolate sundae."

Nancy chuckles as Mike asks what they say about cellists. "Cellos vibrate a little while you play them. So, we're teased about being frigid, cause really, what man can compete with with such a big instrument?" She smirks at this, sipping at her soda."

*

"Fortunately for the two of us…" Bobby grins as he comes back with food. Yes he just pulled it out of the oven. And used his power to cool it down to servable temperature. "I have her beat in the frigid department, so I'd never know the difference."

Yes he made another ice joke. He does that. "Okay. Dig in folks. Good lord, it's nice to have a normal evening here after all the relative insanity."

*

"You haven't seen relative insanity until you've seen a Greek family reunion," Mike puns. He takes a serving of the shepherd's pie — fortunately, pre-macerated - and follows it with a vampire-sip from his poisoned can with the acetone in it. The flavor, with the secondary components blocked, comes through and it's amazing. Or, at least, to Mike it is. It would probably not be tasty to the people who have biological taste buds and senses of smell that aren't based on gas chromatography.

"Wow, this is really good," the robot guy says. "I really like this a lot."

*

Nancy laughs as Bobby jokes about her joke. She takes her plate of Shephard's pie and leans up to give Bobby a kiss in thanks. "It smells fantastic. So, not only are you smart, funny and sweet, but you can cook too? Okay, mom is just gonna have to get used to you. You're a total keeper." She starts to dig in and chuckles over at Mike. "So what did you have to add to make this meal palatable for you," she asks curiously.

*

"Not bad for a 'homewrecker' eh?" Bobby winks. He understands. Nan's mom isn't well. Though he's hopeful that maybe that'll change at some point. It wears on Nan. Him too, but more Nan because she takes it more personally and has been doing it for longer.

"I'm glad you can modify it too. I don't know that I'd be able to cook for you frankly, or even remember what you need."

*

"Acetone, and a bit of iron pyrite powder," Mike says. "But hey, it could be worse … I could be stuck just using gasoline and never getting to share a meal with friends. I had a nightmare about that once."

Or maybe just momentary mental contact with an alternate universe self, who knows?

"What's with your Mom, Nancy? I didn't quite get the details, just "don't kill anyone" and "get the prisoners out," he says, not mentioning the unspoken 'and why were you on their side?' because he figures that was drugs or mind control or something supervillainous.

*

Nan didn't recruit him. Did she?

Taking a deep breath, Nancy closes her eyes. This is always a hard topic. "My mom signed up in college for some human guinea pig thing. Turns out it was HYDRA. They injected her with the stuff that would change her enough to make me. She and I are N-13. There are 20 of us in total. Only, the stuff they injected with her… it changed her. It changed her mind. She's not exactly all there, you know? It happened slowly, over time. And like I need sugar, she needs booze. If she doesn't drink, she goes crazy faster. And… she will end up suicidal. So, she gets to drink. Will never stop her."

Nancy looks puzzled over at Mike. "Wait… that robot thing at the raid…. that was you?"

*

Bobby also blinks. "Oh that's right. I'd heard… we had a last minute addition. But whomever it was was on the other team. That was you? Way to go, Mike. So you're a hometown hero and a super hero?"

*

"Oh. Oh that sucks," Mike says, with an expression of sympathetic pain at what was done to the women who were used for this. "So that… wow." He puts down his spoon and just sits there for a moment, murmuring something too low to hear.

When he finishes, he says, "Yeah, that was me. Please don't tell anyone. I'm not a superhero. I was there in case you needed another ambulance, really."

*

Nancy has grown morose as she often does when talking about the Ubermensch Project, about what HYDRA is willing to do, willing to sacrifice, to get what they want. "Yeah. The 13 of us Nutates that were prisoners there and I… can you believe only 3 of our moms are still alive. I don't know about the other six. Two of the nutates… Hydra has nothing on them in the files. At least not about their powers or anything. I'm hoping to use their research to find the last 6 of us."

Her fork plays with her food. It's a shame because it's a really good dinner. "You know what, I have to deal with this every day. Can we… change the subject? I want to not be a nutate today."

*

Bobby nods and squeezes Nan. "Mike, can you tell us a bit more about yourself? I mean I know you're a mechanic and in an auto business but you seem to have… well, a lot of things going on." It's not just to change the topic, Bobby is actually curious. Mike's a man of mystery and the Ice nerd likes mystery.

*

"Not a lot really to tell. I was the first kid born in Artesia, New Mexico in 1993, 12:10 am on New Years. My Mom works for the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, that's western Washington state. Papau was a theologian working with the Greek Orthodox Church towards his own ordination, but when Mom was made a Deacon and tracked for the priesthood, the Metropolitan - that's the equivalent of a bishop - said that my father had to forbid her to become a priest, and he wouldn't do that. So he decided to work on his other major love, which is automobiles and engine design."

Mike decides he can eat again - or refuel at least - so he takes another bite, and then washes it down, and continues his biographical recount.

"So, we had Career Day at one of the schools I went to, when I was seven. The nosy reporter lady was asking us what we wanted to be when we grew up, and I said I wanted to be a motorcycle. She told me I didn't, I wanted to be a motorcycle driver, and I kicked her and said I knew what I wanted. My folks were mad because I kicked her, but really, she was so very obnoxious. Like, that woman in the wizard movie with the pink suit obnoxious."

*

Nancy smiles over at Bobby, grateful for the change in topic. He's good to her, for her, and he makes her happy. She finds herself wondering what's going to happen to break them up, since there's no way she's allowed to be this happy for long. She leans against him and listens to Mike as he gives his story, smiling when he says he wanted to be a motorcycle. "How early did you manifest?"

*

Bobby's heard, at least, this part of the story before. His manifestation, the full one, was actually kind of horrific if you think about it. That said, the man owns it like few people he's ever met, which is probably part of why Bobby's so well adjusted.

"Pretty young as I recall, right? Younger than me, though I guess I was a bit of a late bloomer."

*

"I started out at age eleven, my folks caught me eating metal… tin foil, coins, I really liked refrigerator magnets. The doctors couldn't find 'em when they did the ultrasounds and X-Rays, so they thought for a while it was me playing tricks, but, then when I was twelve Mom caught me talking to the car, and it was answering back. She freaked a bit. Dad thought it was funny, because he always talks to cars too, they just don't talk back as loudly. He says."

Mike takes a sip of the OTHER beer, the one with the pre-applied WD40. That helps, psychologically, although alcohol doesn't make him drunk at all.

"So when I was fourteen I designed a racing engine, and Papou built it, and the next year, my second engine won in the Indy 500. That was also the year when I got hit in the eye by a baseball and my eye turned robotic. We were living in Cincinnati that year, and the vice-principal was a real hard-ass, thought I was faking, but when he saw the metal part melt and come off when the flesh grew back in underneath it … he was really sympathetic, and kept the other kids from giving me any kind of shit. But the school also reported me to the SRD registry because the law required it. Chicago Area SRD is pretty decent towards mutants and mutates, no religious wack-jobbery."

He shrugs, and does the 'all the fingers work' movement.

"I had anywhere between one and five robot parts at once almost constantly after that. The other kids didn't care, some of them thought it was cool. I was also learning to control metal, I was really pretty good at that. When I was 18, I started to be able to talk to electronics and other technological things instead of just to the metal in them."

*

Nancy gets up, smiles and Bobby and kisses him on the cheek. "Hun, I think I need to sleep my day off. I'm a bit more tired than I thought. You and Mikey have a good time."

Bobby smiles and kisses her back. "Okay. Feel better." Nan pads off to the bedroom leaving Bobby to recline on the couch. "So, question. With as much as you can do, as much money as you could make… why live here?"

*

"I don't care about money so much. I have more than enough of it from the family business and from my partnerships. I got my masters at 19, didn't want to waste more time proving what I already knew. I've been working for the family business since I was 16, doing custom cars and engine designs, and I've pretty much earned enough to know that I don't want to think about money as a motivating force. I like the ambience here. Anyway, this is where other mutants live," Mike says. "Why do you live here?"

*

"Well practical reasons, for starters I've got loans to repay and bills and this place doesn't cost that much. I mean I make a decent wage, but still. Guy's gotta eat. Also its decently close to work while being affordable, so there's that. And folks here will leave me alone. You remember I was almost lynched in my hometown. Not super likely to happen here." Bobby ticks off the reasons on his fingers.

"Beyond that, I like it here. I mean yeah the place can be rough, but it really is unique. It's like no place else and I feel… comfortable here."

*

"Well, that's why I live here too. I'm only drawing $20K this year for salary, though that'll take a bump for delivering the Sunspotmobile," Mike says. "But like I said, I get free rent for six months for the heat pump, and I haven't told the owners about reinforcing the structure. That's kind of a self-defensive measure, because old building is old and it's a hassle to crawl out from under wreckage at the first earthquake. But the guy who owns this place, also owns the two down the street that need work too. He didn't realize how much it was going to cost to make repairs. So I help him out, I get places to play with machines. I've been learning about permits and such. And who you have to bribe and apparently I'm now a Teamster, so I'm not depriving union guys of work, except they know the guy wouldn't ever have hired union anyway. Crazy city, here."

The remaining shepherd's pie is dispatched from Mike's plate, and he drains, crumples, and eats the acetone-tainted can of Foster's.

*

Bobby watches the food disappear with fascination. "Man. Too bad they can't base a reactor off of your metabolism. You could feed it food and the output would probably dwarf an arc reactor. Well, if you got it big enough, anyway. I suppose it would kind of drive food prices up though and would be like feeding a dragon to keep your lights on." Beat. "Still it'd be an interesting experiment."

*

"To be honest, I'm not sure quite how that part works. I get chemical energy using a sort of thermal distiller, but then the slurry gets processed for more energy, and I don't have a waste product that I know of. Well, heat, but I cycle that back into stored power to a degree. I suppose I'll need to figure that out whole system out better, if I want to completely simulate human, huh?"

Mike considers feeding a dragon to keep lights going. "If it were a small dragon, that might not be too bad."

*

"You simulate humanity? I mean more than just by looking like a golden guy?" This is the first Bobby's heard of this particular bit. "How does that work? Do you body jump?

*

"You want to see? It's kind of creepy looking, still," Mike says, hesitant. "Well, fine, but only because you have an aversion to pitchforks so you won't be coming after me."

The robot guy holds his hands out slightly to the side, palms up, and a pale beige flows from the palms, spreading back up his arms and under his shirt. After a fairly short interval, it flows up his neck and over his face and scalp, not changing the hair at all. It resembles a coat of thin primer paint. After a moment or two, it begins to show faint creases and wrinkles, a faint texture of pores, actual fingernails and a few, very few, fine hairs on the arms, all chrome blue because that's his hair color dammit.

"This, is what I mean," Mike says, and there's clearly something just a bit plastic and 'off' about Mike, that says Android or Live-Doll rather than 'human'.

*

"Er… resident of the uncanny valley for sure. Do you extrude that… skin? Or create it?" Bobby leans forward to look a bit closer. "Eh you can tell me tomorrow. Gettin' late right?" Bobby stands up. "You're welcome to crash here if you like but… I know your apartment is just down the stairs."

*

"Yeah, I need to go work on this. It's created by very small machines I grow in where my liver used to be," Mike answers. "It's mostly weird because I haven't figured out a proper structure. I'm working on that."

He stands, and his beer floats up into his hand, followed by the backpack rising up to attach to his back. "See you on the morrow, perhaps."

*

"Night Mike!" Bobby lets him out and shuts the door after he's gone, flopping down on the couch to nom a little more dinner and get some reading in.

*

Nancy had a shower and is laying in bed reading a book. She decided not to nap, and is studying self help books in her spare time. She looks up from the book when Mike leaves and gets up to head to the living room. "Sorry for flaking out like that. I thought I was tired. Turns out I just needed some me time. Wanna come to bed?"

*

Bobby grins and gets up to follow Nancy back to the room with a smile. "Sure." As though that needs a reply. When does he ever not want to snuggle next to his girlfriend.

"Feeling any better?"

*

A little. Getting some ideas for the Nest. Getting some ideas for me. I think I need to sit and talk with Hank and Kurt and tell them how their comments made me feel. They made me feel like I can't be trusted. Like they don't care about me as a person and are just seeing me as a number. They keep saying my age over and over, like there is some magical number where all of a sudden you are considered mature enough to be responsible. I've been responsible for my mom for years. I may not be experienced at caring for 30 people, but shouldn't I at least be given a chance? Heck, if their worried about it, why not give me an advisor to help me out. Don't shut me out. Let me learn and grow." She sighs and slides into bed, patting Bobby's usual side beside her. "I'm sorry. I'm ranting again. Tell me about your work instead."

*

"I wish I knew what they were thinking, or what was going on, Nan. I'm sorry." Bobby sighs and then starts to describe the experiments they ran today. A lot of electricity moving in a lot of places. He strokes her arm while he does, trying to calm her.

*

Nan listens to the talk of the science, smiling and shaking her head as she doesn't understand a word of it. Not a single thing. But she loves how excited Bobby gets about it and so, she finds herself enjoying it, getting excited about it. "This is my favorite part of the day, you know? Laying here, talking with you, seeing you smile." She leans in and kisses him softly. "You always know how to make me feel better. How do you do that?"

*

"Maybe it's just because I care." Bobby chuckles quietly, returning the kiss. "Certainly, it's not because I feel particularly wise or soothing. And just for the record, this is the best part of my day too. Even after your mom calls me a homewrecker for the twentieth time." Finding out that Nancy's mom believed she was engaged to someone else came about as a bit of a shocker, to be sure.

*

Looking at Bobby, her eyes on his, she reaches out to slowly stroke his arm. "I'm glad you do. I'm glad that Hank thought I was too young and wild. He led me straight to you." She kisses him softly, loving him with every ounce of her being as she tries to express it in a simple kiss. "I'm sorry about my mom. I know she can be a handful. Just remember, she's not all there. It's the serum. It's done stuff to her mind. You've seen the other moms. They're like that too."

*

"Your mom is fine." Bobby murmurs just before Nancy kisses him again. It's a gentle, tender thing and he can feel what she's putting behind it. "I'm just glad you're not actually engaged to 'Jeremy.'" It had taken Bobby a little while to figure out who exactly 'Jeremy' is.

"So what now?"

*

Nancy can't help but laugh. "Well, I was hoping she would be crazy enough to believe that you were Jeremy, but then we'd be engaged and I think that's going a little too fast. We only just moved in together." She curls up close. "So… Frosty, what do you think of Illyana? You willing to grow a tree for her?"

*

Bobby has seen Nancy carting around the little saplings but hadn't been able to ask yet. "Grow a tree for her? I'm going to assume you're being literal and not making some kind of joke. I… I'll be honest with you Nancy. She intimidates me. But she's your friend and… well I'd like to be her friend. I've only seen her the few times though. But yeah. I'll grow a tree for her."

There's a pause. "Uh. Why does she need one?"

*

Listening to his explanation, Nancy just shakes her head. "How can you be so wonderful and sweet? Maybe that's why I like you. You satisfy my sweet tooth." She teases and takes a moment to tickle. "Illyana is a ruler of a hell dimension. We're trying to heal the land and hope that it helps to heal her. So, we're trying a sympathetic magic thing. You treat the tree for a few months as if it was Illyana. You talk to it, tell it all the things you like about her. Care for it, nurture it. And when it's a few months older, all that warmth and friendship in there, we're going to plant the trees in Limbo and see if it helps."

*

"You mean you don't know if it will?" Bobby seems a bit surprised at that. Three month experiment for a what-if. Though… that's kind of like work. "Okay, I can do it. Will the fact that I don't know her that well be an issue? And… uh… who is we?" He's trying to imagine what he could say to a tree. He can care for it sure. Think about the rather intimidating woman who is Nan's friend while he does it, sure. Talk to it? About… what exactly?

*

Shaking her head, Nancy shrugs her shoulders. "No clue if it will work. But, I doubt it can hurt. So why not?" She shuffles closer, rolling over so she is curled up against him. "Her friends. Doug, Roberto, Amara. Me. Jericho. Anyone I can think of that thinks of her well enough that they will just be willing to help her." She looks over her shoulder. "And I know she's intimidating. But she's a good friend. She just likes to troll people and… well, she ended up in a hell dimension since she was a kid. It flavoured her a little. But she's still a good person. It's just hard to see sometimes. Like me. She just needs people to be patient enough to see it." She kisses him. "And since you were that way with me, I think you could do it for her too."

*

"I can be patient. I mean, cool is my thing right?" Bobby winks and grins. Then he becomes a bit more serious. "Honestly though, I'll do what I can. I'd like to be her friend, especially since you seem to like her so well. I mean how bad can she be?" Bobby has no idea that Nancy likes Illyana well enough to consider ripping part of her soul out.

*

And since that is never going to happen, he needs to never know. "We'll have her over for dinner sometime. Make sure we have plenty of ice cream and vodka." She chuckles. "And I'll make her keep her pets out of our place." She grows thoughtful for a while. "Does it ever bother you? Not having your powers around me? Not being cold?"

*

Bobby shakes his head. "Only once, and that was back in that alley when I couldn't use them to defend you. Otherwise, you're not… taking anything from me that I'd miss. I'm not my powers, Nancy. I know a lot of mutants identify themselves with them, but… I don't. I'm Bobby. And you're Nancy. And Nancy is this amazing girl who I love a lot."

His grin has grown into a proper smile now. "And that's all there is. So no, it doesn't bother me, Nan. Does it bother you?"

*

He always knows just the right thing to say. She smiles back at him and then leans away to turn out the lights and shows him just how much it doesn't bother her.


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