<Nemi> Andrey had that photograph of Mitsuru and Lyanna, taken by their friend, still resting on the coffeetable (recently repaired, thank you ambient magical stuff) in his and Panda's living room when he came bumbling out of the shower to check his phone for texts and voicemails. It was just the typical daily routine; get in from class and whatever else, eat lunch, shower, and then consider
<Nemi> the afternoon. More normalcy after the haunting and the encounter with the Remnant- but he was agitated, anxious for word from Lyanna that she'd arrived in Haven.
<gumbal1> Normalcy. Something Abndrey desperately needed, between his love triangle with a goddess and a magic pantry, a musical career with a wight, and a best friend who kept dying on him. Still, the phone stays silent…for a few days, at least. <Meet me at Whitman's in an hour.>
<Nemi> In an hour. Received.. Twenty minutes ago. Damn. Long hot showers make you miss a /lot/. Andrey hustles, shaking whatever water remained out of his hair and sprinting on to the bedroom to throw on literally whatever. Jeans, Chuck Taylors, tank top, sweatshirt, good enough. He has the presence of mind to grab wallet, keys, and picture before he goes, slipping them into the front sweatshirt
<Nemi> pocket with his phone. Damn women's jeans have no room for anything. And with only 30 minutes to spare, Andrey makes the dash from Sanctum on to Haven proper, and to Whitman's.
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<gumbal1> Whitman's parking lot is usually crowded around this time, so it's good that Andrey ran, even if he did have to go through some freezing rain. There's one table in the corner with a certain tall, broad-shouldered pink-haired girl sitting at it, wearing a peacoat and jeans as she mulls over an espresso.
<Nemi> Freezing rain, in Canada, this time of year? Just Andrey's luck. He stumbles inside, shedding ice crystals and lightly soaked, and waddles over to the front counter to get a cappucino before plopping down across from Lyanna. The cappucino's set down before he pushes his hood back, letting all those golden locks flutter free down his shoulders and back. And then he exhales. ".. hey."
<gumbal1> No one ever said Andrey was lucky. "…hi." Lyanna looks up at the Andrey before her. "…bring anyone with you?"
<Nemi> Andrey sweeps his hand up to brush some still-wet hairs from his face. ".. no, I didn't." Even exasperated and breathless from the hustle, Andrey's voice remains high, sweet and musical, a purred singsong that he's never really tried to long-term adjust. ".. so, I said I had something for you.."
<gumbal1> And Lyanna's remains low, somewhat masculine, and rather monophonous right now. "That you did. I'm assuming it's the photograph."
<Nemi> ".. yeah." Andrey fishes in his front pocket and retrieves the photograph, carefully protected by its position between wallet and phone, only slightly crinkled from the trip. He places it on the table between them, swiveled to face Lyanna, and leaves it. His other hand reaches for the cappucino and stays there, as if just to warm it against the heat of the cup.
<gumbal1> Lyanna eyes it for a few seconds, maybe (she's wearing some pretty dark sunglasses), before slowly taking it in her hands, and even more slowly unfolding it to look at what lay inside. Her breathing gets somewhat funny for a few seconds. "…Bradley…told me he had something for me. Before the incident."
<Nemi> Not knowing Bradley much at all, and not knowing how to reply, Andrey remains silent, downcast.
<gumbal1> "…hey. Th-thanks a lot. For the photo."
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<Nemi> ".. Yeah." Andrey's not sure how to reply. He's not sure how to talk to Lyanna. He's very painfully aware of the wound he caused and continues to tear open every moment he's here.
<gumbal1> "…I can't pay you. Too deep in medical bills and we don't make enough at our car wash. None of my patents turn out much. Still…" Lyanna fishes a piece of paper out of one of her pockets, passing it over to Andrey. "There's this one doctor back in New York, really helped me back before I began transition. Think you might want his number once you come out of school."
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<Nemi> "I don't- want you to pay me, I just want to .. I don't know, try and help get things r-" Car wash. Car wash robots. Andrey firms his jaw, the sappy words dying in his throat. He reaches up to take the paper. ".. it wouldn't help. I've tried. There's some- mythic, thing. I don't know how to explain it. Surgery? I'm back to this the next day. Still.. thanks."
<gumbal1> "…I could make you a new body, if you wanted. Skin would be synthetic and, well, certain things would be harder. But I'm based in Staten Island, so I have a lot of junkyards to work with."
<gumbal1> "…never actually go there, by the way. I've been stabbed by no less than two clowns."
<gumbal1> "…three clowns."
<Nemi> ".. seriously? .. you can make all that amazing stuff and you're living off a car wash..?" Andrey seems disbelieving. ".. /clowns/?" Disbelieving, perhaps even more sympathetic for it. ".. and you'd do that for me..? Seriously?"
<gumbal1> "If Mitsy forgived you for killing them, I figure you have to be a good person who didn't mean to do it." Lyanna smiles, taking another sip of her espresso before talking again. "I'll, well, need some materials, however. Potentially more if you want a deluxe body."
<Nemi> Andrey contemplates this a while. As yet, he's not had any of the cappucino. ".. yeah. Mitsuru told me that, before they left. Uhm." He looks up, finally meeting Lyanna's eyes. Or the sunglasses, anyway. "I'd- I mean. I'd like to.. /try/ this. I don't know if it'd work, there's probably something to keep me from finding loopholes like that, but.. What could I do to help with it?"
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<gumbal1> "I need materials. That or a hell of a lot of money. If you can somehow either get your hands on the body of a Rando and a Tawny Eye, or secure me some sort of grant, I can probably make you a body…maybe secure another patent while I'm at it."
<Nemi> ".. okay, so uh.. my thing is basically metal and sonics, right?" Andrey blinks slowly. ".. like, I'm made of it. I think I can help with money or materials, uh. I'll just need to eat a shitload. What- kinda materials we talking here? I dunno what a Rando or Tawny Eye are."
<gumbal1> "They're, well, demons. Randos are Marchers, basically giant stone anthropophages with external hearts who've been afflicted with dark eye, typically found around North-East Florida. Tawny Eyes are living tanks, generally found wandering Mongolia and Northern China." She's spouting this off like she memorized it. "Rando residue is key for any good anomalous robot construction, and Tawny Eyes have interiors perfect for feelable synthetic
<Nemi> Andrey's expression is blank, questioning, generally lost. ".. I never heard of those, what? I mean.. uhh.. okay, uh. I don't think I can help with that."
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<gumbal1> "…yeah, thinking on it, I didn't expect you to." Beat. "So that leaves funding."
<Nemi> ".. My hair's literally actually gold. And I can like, spit up a block of it, or something."
<gumbal1> "…shit, yeah. I'll need about ten million for what I'm planning to do, and half of that is Rando residue alone. Black market's hard, unfortunately."
<Nemi> ".. oh, Jesus. Uhm- listen. Why don't we just- forget that? I'll just, I'll be.. Fine. Probably. Just- I'll give myself a haircut or something, you can probably get your bills dealt with with all the gold or something, right?"
<gumbal1> "…right. Thanks, I guess…I suppose I could give you a few shares of the company."
<Nemi> ".. you don't need to. Seriously. I mean- we're- kinda in similar situations, right? Only you got things you actually /gotta/ pay for so.. lemme help with that?"
<gumbal1> "I own fourty-eight percent. Another percent or two won't matter much." Another sip of espresso.
<Nemi> ".. yeah." Andrey reaches up to run a hand through his hair, and pulls the hand away a moment later to reveal that it's about half-shorn. Very sci-fi tumblr hipster look. And he carefully places a plain gold bar on the table. "I mean. If you're sure."
<gumbal1> Lyanna takes the bar, and pulls out a piece of paper and pen, beginning to write up a rather official-looking document. "I'll get something fancy later. You don't have my number but you have me, and that's better because I can't lose me like I can lose a phone. I'll call you later." And with that, the paper is slid over. "…can I admit something?"
<Nemi> Andrey takes the paper carefully, folds it and stows it in his pocket. Not looking at it, yet. ".. yeah, go ahead. I mean, uh, please do."
<gumbal1> "I wish I had Fifth Sanctum, back when I was growing up. The culture would have really helped someone like me. There…weren't a lot of people I could talk to, growing up."
<Nemi> ".. yeah. It's- I'm lucky to be here. It's- I wish this shit didn't /happen/ to me, I mean- wake up, overnight, suddenly I'm some metal chick..? What the fuck would I have done /without/ them? I mean- I see a therapist every week and I'm on a shitload of meds, but, yah. If it weren't for this place I'd probably.. I don't know. I'm, uh.. I'm sorry you didn't have the chance to be here.
<Nemi> But, I mean.. I dunno. I'm still /growing/ up. I don't really know anything. What- uh, if I can ask, what was it like? For you, I mean?"
<Nemi> Andrey's finally remembered that his cappucino exists, and quietly drinks from it while watching Lyanna. The half-shorn look looks decent enough on him.
<gumbal1> "…growing up, I was very heavily in the closet. At first I thought I was just gay, but around fourteen, I started reazling things were a lot less simple." Lyanna stares at her cup. "Never get a beard. They just make you feel bad about yourself. If you're not out to your lover about your gender, you should be. Don't date or have sex with anyone who sees you differently than you see you. People who call you names can suck it, but don't w
<gumbal1> alk alone at night without something to defend yourself. And…you don't need to tell your parents about anything. The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb and all that." Beat. "Also, businesses are full time jobs and more. Don't start one unless you're absolutely sure you want to, and that you have a fallback if it fails."
<Nemi> ".. thanks for that. I miss being able to /have/ a beard. Had one at fourteen, it was amazing, it's.." Andrey trails off a moment, still rubbing at the short-shorn half of his hair with a finger. ".. thanks. I mean that. And.. I'm sorry whatever happened to me didn't happen to someone who, like. Wanted it. I'm like, a protag from one of those shitty mid-2000s tee gee webcomics, only it
<Nemi> ruined my life and .. fuck."
<gumbal1> "God, those things. Pretty sure half the people who wrote them were chasers…anyways. Anything else you wanted to ask?"
<gumbal1> "And wrong kind of beard, man."
<Nemi> ".. yeah. I uh.. I'm.. I've got nothing. Other than- I don't know. Are we- like, okay with one another?"
<gumbal1> Lyanna smiles softly, looking down at her cup. "…almost feel bad for slipping you ricin."
<Nemi> ".. you what?" Andrey's eyes go huge.
<gumbal1> And then she just laughs. "Kidding!"
<Nemi> ".. Jesus that was, uh, probably the worst kinda joke to make when you're as jumpy as me- fucking ghosts and shit everywhere trying to eat me and.." He settles again and laughs weakly.
<gumbal1> "…yeah, sorry. But no, we're okay. Come on down to Jean's Mean Clean Machine if you ever want a discount car wash. Or just to talk." A busniss card is slid over to Andrey. "I think I'll stay here for a bit, before leaving. You go on."
<Nemi> ".. yeah." Andrey takes the card and slips that into the front pocket with the rest of his things. He manages a weak grin which remains platinum-brilliant in the light of Whitman's. "If I ever get a car I'll do that. I- might take you up on the talking thing, I don't really.. know anyone else who's had any um. Experience like mine. But, yeah." He slips out of the chair and stands before
<Nemi> taking the travel cup in-hand. ".. I'll see you around, Lyanna. And uh, before I go.. I work at Keep 'Em Jelly over on Partridge. If you want your hair or nails or something done, just say I sent you."
<gumbal1> Lyanna smiles. "Will do. Good luck, Andrey!"
<Nemi> "You too." He gives a weak wry smile and heads out with a parting wave.
<gumbal1> ~scene accepted~