1964-12-26 - Santa's Gone Down to Mutant Town
Summary: When the Bonaventure Boys hyjacked a toy truck with the X-Ternals there was bound to be fall out. Who would have thought that fallout would be so fetive? They host a Santa visit for the Mutant Town Community Center with presents with the aid of several generous benefactors.
Related: None
Theme Song: "Sleigh Ride" - Tonettes (1963)
julie josh severin tchalla elmo yuliya kai jp daire 

The Community Center has been decked out for the holidays in hand made snowflakes from cut paper strung together that the kids made this week to paper chains out of construction paper, strung popcorn, and one kid that put real icicles on the trees that aren't melting.

It's that time of year young Mutants have been encouraged and invited with handmade fliers to the Community Center that Santa has a surprise for them. Many of the families in Mutant Town run ragged on the low end of the income bracket for those that can even get hired while being a mutant or for having one in their family. To say life is hard for these souls is putting it lightly in the wake of 1964's shadow.

A buffet line sits at one end and on one side of the room where a hearty and hot meal is being provided for the families and guests attending, and all around there was the sound of… sleigh bells? A couple of speakers and a gifted engineer were good for helping make that happen while the Ronettes 'Sleigh Ride' plays over the PA system for folks.

Kai has dragged Elmo out again. While Elmo is dressed in a suit, Kai's wearing black chinos, a black turtleneck, with a red scarf tied round his neck. A beret sets upon his curls, and he's got a cigarette holder tucked behind his ear. He's also in a long woolen coat, and he's got a camera on a strap round his neck. The lens cap is conspicuously on. "This is going to be groovy," he tells Elmo. "These are, like, your people, man." He makes his way toward the food. "Look! Feasting. They know how to celebrate the season." He's brought a bottle of wine, which he just sort of tucks somewhere on the buffet table. Feasts require sacrifice, and that's a damn fine vintage.

Mutant families, families with mutants, some grown individuals come to help or just keep the place 'safe' from those wishing to crash it linger about while the children play with the hula hoops and the games they have in the large space. A few jump rope, which doesn't go very well when the young boy inside doing the hopping gets panicked as the rope spins faster and faster and he goes from hopping to hovering in a ball. First panic, and then a squeal of delight as he looks to those spinning the rope to go faster yet to see how long he can hold that spot. Tag could go better if the person who was 'it' wasn't accidentally intangible from time to time missing her targets.

Hearty meals include ample meats and even fish. One mustn't be too limited when dealing with people of varied tastes and metabolisms. Milk, coffee, tea, chocolate beverages illegal in fourteen states all line the usual array of beverages. The camaraderie of a community so often begins on the backbone of proper meals, food and drink the fabric of society. A man largely unescorted heads into the thick of the community center. Ask anyone and they may know him, they might not, all depending on who picks up a paper to connect dots of a fabled nation's secretive king and the fellow standing on tiptoe to help hook a popcorn garland back onto the wall. A bit of sticky tape does the trick. "Would you do the next one?" he asks a seven-year-old boy, the kid clutching the other fallen end of the garland, his appointed helper. The King of Wakanda has little issue about picking someone up to squish the line back in place.

Elmo is clearly not suffering like many of the mutant families here. His suit is made of normal materials, but tailored with a T. A discreet Magen David is on the lapel. He follows Kai to contribute a plate of chocolate-dipped macaroons to the buffet table, then nervously hangs back. For someone who was recently partying extremely hard with Asgardians, he doesn't look so sure of anything. "Mosta my people are at the /other/ community center," he mutters, but it's not ill natured, just nervy kvetching.

Josh is dressed in a pair of jeans and a simple white t-shirt at the moment, with skin that is metallic gold — so he doesn't blend in very much. Even his hair looks like spun gold threads. He steps out of the clinic area and makes his way towards the festivities, glancing around with a slightly weary expression on his features.

With the insurance office she's based in being closed for the holidays, Yuliya has found herself something to keep herself busy by volunteering to help out at the kitchen. The Russian seems to prowl about in the kitchen area, keeping an eye on what's being cooked and stepping in where needed to ensure nothing is overcooked or left too long. It also seems like the woman isn't going to let the buffet run down. She's not a stranger to feeding people in the field, so hopefully the kitchen here will be a piece of cake. She hums cheerfully moves up to help dish meals to those that want them. While she can't hear the best in a busy place, she does appear to be keeping an eye on the area she's working in.

There is a jingling coming from down the hall and the clop of.. hooves? Indeed, hooves. There's a rush to see what's going on as a genuine reindeer, somewhat on the smallish side, but a reindeer none-the-less, comes walking down the hall pulling a wagon with a makeshift harness that has been done up with thick cardboard cut outs on either side to make it look like a sleigh. In the wagon is a pair of overstuffed bags full of small presents that are near to overflowing, requiring the "reindeer" to make very careful turns lest the whole thing get upended.

JP made for a right skinny Santa, which explains why we had to stuff the suit with a hotel pillow. You know, for authenticity's sake. He was walking behind Reindeer and Sleigh(tm) filled with goodies because a laundry buggy has many uses, though he had a large red knapsack over his shoulder as well. He at least took the time to get the beard right, and with a jingle of re-purposed pirate boots did the jolly Pere Noel give a "Ho HO Ho! I hear there were children who were extra good this year, no?" The Cajun couldn't get rid of the accent but children promised presents didn't care much did they? He rubbed a hand over the pillow-stuffed belly and looked to Yuliya waggling a finger, "If Miss Yulia promises to save Santa a piece of cake I think we can see everyone has a good year this year. Oh, and one for my trusty Reindeer too." There you go frere. Cake for the reindeer.

Kai tells Elmo, "You have two people. That's so cool. You're lucky. Like, you know, if the one doesn't work out, you got the other. I've only just got the one, but we're pretty solid, so…" When he hears jingling, he looks around, standing on tiptoes to try to see. "Santa!" he says, and he grabs Elmo by the hand. "Don't worry, I won't tell him you're Jewish. Let's go get some loot." He tugs Elmo through the crowd, rather agile on his feet to move around people without shoving.

Reindeer are totally alien, presumably, to a man with chocolate skin and a decidedly foreign accent. T'Challa lifts up the boy to finish fixing the garland, rather than rely on the latent telekinetics around. Once his assistant is safely upon his feet and running off yelling and hollaring excitedly about Santa, he folds his hands in front of him. Big bushy beard, red suit, pillow: clearly he's run into Thor. Right? He raises an eyebrow at the animal, the accent of Pere Noel, and gives a little smile to himself. "Remarkable." All of the community centre could fall under the general description. "A most merry Christmas."

It seems that Yuliya's eyeing off the bottle of wine that's been tucked behind the bar and she might be considering liberating it for the greater good of cooking. Her attention is caught by JP's finger waggling, and she tilts her head to the side when he speaks. "Da, I have baked," she comments in confusion. She seems to consider the request of the request from Skinny Santa, and then nods. "Oh cake. I will save you and your reindeer," she then calls back after a moment. The Russian remains behind the counter, still cooking and humming cheerfully to herself as she removes two pieces of cake from the desert area and puts them away for safekeeping.

Elmo whines, "Kai," but is towed along by force of irrepressible beatnik. He's looking around at everybody and trying not to stare and not doing a great job of it. "Cripes," he mutters under his breath, seeing T'Challa, seeing a man made of gold, seeing all /kinds/ of people not normally seen in his neck of the woods.

Heading over towards the food line, Josh fills himself up a plate, because he's been healing and that wears him out. Only then he catches sight of the reindeer, and he blinks, frowning, "Whoa, where the heck— what the— there shouldn't be animals in here, but where did we even *find* a reindeer?!" He looks astonished.

It's a very well-behaved reindeer at any rate as it comes to stop and allow SantaJP to hop out and begin the process of engiftification of the masses. The reindeer, jingle bells and all, even stands perfectly still to let children come up and pet his nose and tug on his antlers. Did it hear Josh? One ear swivels over in that direction and Josh might suddenly hear in his head, a distinctly cajun accented voice saying, «I'll be in and out in a jiff, jus' bringin' a bit of joy to the world an all that.» Did the reindeer just speak? Why yes, it's a minorly telepathic reindeer, after all. Well, a minorly telepathic shapeshifting mutant by the name of Severin Bonaventure, but for tonight, he's one of Santa's reindeer. That's his story and he's stickin' to it.

JP grinned, too widely at Josh and shrugged, "Consider it a Christmas miracle, Elixir?" See, Santa knows everyone! it also helps that Josh was prolific and easy to pick out. This logic was lost on the floating 7 year old with eyes like saucers who looked up to the man with the gold hair, "Whoa, Santa knows you!" Kai's comment wasn't lost on JP who repressed a snicker and dug around in his bag handing presents that were remarkably new like ones found in the department stores and not homemade or from the second hand stores at all. Children squealed in delight and paper went all over as baby dolls and army men and games and geegogs were unwrapped. There was many a grateful parent among them that was not able to do so much for their kids and that the skinny-but-puffed-up Santa could all too well sympathize with. "Hey naw' don't make the hula hoop chase him down. That ain' fair." Where this pair of clowns got this stuff from was anyone's guess.

As the kids delighted over stories and presents and most of all a REAL reindeer he handed Elmo a box, "Hea'ya go. I have one in blue if that's bein the case. To Mozel your Tovs with." A little gold wrapped box went into Kai's hands and JP gave them a wink before wading over to T'challa. "We, ah, we got you something for helping us out. Merci. Merci." Because the food was the hard part and didn't come cheap, and they were grateful.

"I see nothing. I hear nothing," Yuliya chimes cheerfully to Josh's comment about the reindeer, still in her Russian accent. Nope, she's there to cook, and cook she'll do. However she does glance back towards where the wine is, and she tilts her head to the side. She does glance up to watch as JP hands out the gifts, smiling happily. She brushes a strand of dark hair away from her eyes, and then resumes her job of replenishing what's low. She even quickly makes her way over to the buffet. She's very careful to avoid bumping into anyone, too.

Kai grins broadly at JP. Sorry, Elmo, but Kai has been Encouraged. "Mutant Santa is groovy," he says. "Look, Elmo!" He holds up his package, then shreds the paper. Presents presents presents. A yo-yo! And candy! His features brighten and there are dimples. Dimples! "Thanks, Santa!"

Then, to Elmo as he figures the yo-yo out, "You're good, man. You're welcome here. You should introduce yourself around." He looks around, then tells Josh, "Hey, this is Elmo. He's a mutant, too. He's interested in getting involved." He pats Elmo on the shoulder, then tells him, "I'm gonna go pet that reindeer."

Where, exactly, did a telepathic reindeer come from? Christmas miracles! JP and T'Challa share a similar view on that, though the faintly smiling Wakandan closes in for a better look at this curiosity. No doubt had he pointed ears, they'd prick forward to better appreciate the peculiar creature. "Does your companion have a name?" he asks of Santa or, well, anyone who can possibly answer this. It makes receiving a gift unexpectedly a point of surprise, his eyebrows rising. But he does not make a show of shaking his head or hissing under his breath, accepting the offering with a serene gravity and formal tip of the head. "It is a season of goodwill, a time to share and be certain everyone has enough. How can we not grateful?" he tells the 'saint.'

Elmo has the expression of someone hoping he doesn't get picked to be humiliated by the stage magician, but JP's just so dang full of holiday cheer that he accepts the present with a lopsided grin. "Hey, Shalom, buddy."

When Kai introduces him, he grimaces, swallows, and says to Josh, "Hi. Yeah. Uh. Yeah, what he said."

And, less climactically, in come a couple of Santa's helpers, one's Diz, in a green Santa's Elf hat, this one apparently Quaker State swag, and an iguana-tailed boy that waves enthusiastically to friends from the neighborhood, both carrying some additional sacks, one of them fairly large, as Dizzy peers around. Izzy gets a wink as they come in.

Josh blinks at the voice in his head, and then he laughs softly, "Fair enough." he concedes, though he isn't immediately sure what to make of the telepathic reindeer. He'll have to figure it out, later. He flashes a grin at JPSanta, "You do good work, Mister Clause." The girl gets a wink, "Everyone knows me, darling. It's the skin, you know?" At the introduction, he steps over to offer Elmo a hand, "Elixir or Josh, either works. I don't run the place but am the next best thing, I help keep things organized. We could always use more help."

Does the reindeer have a name? Most certainly, but he lets his brother answer for him, now that nobody looks like they're going to throw him out before the gifting is done. He patiently allows parents to set kids on his back and take pictures, or with them standing next to him. He even eats the carrot that someone came up with from somewhere without complaint. It's all about the magic, and he has no intent to be anything other than a reindeer for the time being, occasionally shaking his head to make his bells jingle, or stomping a foot, but beyond that, he's there for the kids.

JP held his hands up to Elmo like, hey, we do what we can. "Shalom to you too, mon ami, now! Our neighbour wan'ta know what tha' name of the reindeer's name is. Can you guess, Chirrun?" yeah that accent was not going away and he wasn't even trying. Mutant Santa was allowed to be different. He listened to the guesses, "Naw, Rudolph's nose was red, chere. Nooo Comet has the fire comin' from his hooves. Everyone knows 'dat. This is Bob. Like the song? Bells on Bob's tail ring, makin' spirits bright. Now what's important about Santa's reindeer? What make em special?" He gave the critical eye to the kids. The man did time for assault but he was good with entertaining kids, "Tha's right. They were different than other plain ol Reindeer and. Mutant reindeer and that's what make'em special. Lucky for all them other folks too, no? Go on, go play and don't try to ride Bob. Is a long trip from the north Pole." With a few more ho ho ho's and with Dizzy's help passing out more gifts with her helper it turns out all kids were able to get three. A box with red and white stripes was brought to Yulia and a green one with a red ribbon to Josh, and a few to the other adults were given before JP helped his brother back that 'sleigh' out so they could change and join the party.

Yuliya starts to hum cheerfully to herself again, as she carefully removes one of the trays from the buffet and makes her way back towards the kitchen area again. She's quick to drop the tray in the sink, and then she's quick to load up another clean tray with more food. "Spasibo," she offers politely as she puts down the tray to accept the gift and carefully puts it aside for a moment so she can run the tray of hot food back to the buffet line. Once that's done, she returns to open the gift, smiling brightly when she finds the music box with the ballerina that spins when music plays. It might be possible that she's not used to recieving gifts as she stares at it for a few moments with a soft smile.

Before the sleigh is led away, Kai ends up standing right beside the reindeer with someone's kid perched on his shoulders so he can pet the top of the reindeer's head. He lifts a little girl on his arm effortlessly so she can pet the reindeer, too. "There you go, small humans," he says. "He's soft, huh." A little boy tugs Kai's sleeve, impatent for his turn, so he puts down the girl and lifts up the boy so he can pet the reindeer's nose. He's strong for such a small fellow, not that these are huge kids or anything. When he spies JP coming to relieve the reindeer and sleigh of duty, he draws the kids toward the food. "Let's get something to eat," he says. So yeah, while he's foisted Elmo off on Josh, he has somehow acquired children. He radiates 'prey species,' the exact opposite of threatening. "Who do you belong to?" he asks the one on his shoulders, who is enjoying hitting Kai in the head with his own yo-yo. He directs the children toward a plate of cookies, because what these kids need, clearly, is more sugar.

Holding his box casually in one hand, T'Challa allows that faint smile to remain in place. He still stands a bit too upright to be casual. It goes with the magnificent coat. Conceding his spot near Santa, he eyes the buffet. He'll get that way soon, but first to a man made of living gold or close enough to count. "Was it Josh?" Feline hearing wins. "I overheard you might require assistance here. What sort of help do you need here?" An open question from a stranger, delivered with his hands spread. That gives Elmo opportunity to flee as need be, and his open stance also engages conversation just as easily.

Elmo stuffs his hands in his pockets when Josh offers a handshake, then looks mortified. "Sorry! Sorry, it's not because of you, I'm just…the worst, that's all." He's obviously a local, with a New York Jewish accent that could strip paint. "Nice to meet ya, Josh," he adds, lamely. "I fix stuff. Coffee makers a specialty." He takes the present out to start carefully tearing the wrapping paper in parallel lines, just something to do with his hands. When T'Challa arrives, he makes an effort to rally, despite that T'Challa and Josh are both physically imposing and built like the proverbial brick house. He introduces himself to T'Challa, putting a face on like he's a normal person who knows how to do normal things. "Hi, I'm Elmo. Kai's friend. If you know Kai. Everybody knows Kai, right?"

Josh lets his hands fall, and he inclines his head to Elmo, "It's fine." When a gift is handed over to him, Josh looks surprised, shaking his head slowly, "Wait, what? Someone gave _me_ a gift? That wasn't nessecary." But, still, he unwraps it with a wry grin and finds within a pair of baseball mitts and a ball. He blinks. "Huh, wow. I don't know what to say." So he distracts himself with T'Challa's question, "Well, that depends. Ethel keeps the kitchen running, but she's uh, stately." Oooold as dirt. Also not a mutant, but her now-dead grandson was, which is why she moved here and helps out. "But she can't do it every day, and on her days off, … well, we make do. But there's also just.. keeping the pantry stocked for a meal-a-day for everyone is … very challenging. So we could use donations, volunteers, really, anything." He nods to Elmo with a grin, "There's usually something that needs fixing. Everything here is hand me down by a few hands."

Bob, the reindeer, shakes his tail when JP mentions that's his name and the bells on Bob's tail do indeed ring. Whether they make spirits bright or not is totally up for debate, but a few children laugh, and so Severin chalks that up as a win. It's only when JP comes over to help him back the truck up.. err.. sleigh, that he gives a final shake of his bells and allows JP to act as guide so that he points down the hall the right way and clip clops off into the night, presumably to go meet up with some of the othe reindeer for beers and pok… er… milk and cookies. Definitely milk and cookies.

Julie smiles wide at the reindeer, and glances over to Josh with a wave as well. Gives Izzy a bit of a hug as he brought a package for her, even. "Wow, that's some reindeer you got hold of, Izzy. Oh, ah, you met Iggy, from around here, err, Santa, right? We brought some stuff for some of the kids to give their Moms and dads, while we was at it, …and, ah, something for Coal Man in the truck, if he's around, otherwise we'll drop by the Eight Ball. Yep, it's Izzy, Dizzy, and Iggy, briefly, and she for now joins the other older folks. Jingles some horse-bells she got hold of somewhere, as she greets the others, in her general elf-costume, though the toolbelt's real enough, and she's got a winter version of her ever present checkered flag scarf incorporated into the look. Her accent's quite local, Brooklyn Italian, and she greets quietly as Josh mentions 'fixing things,' this being her general calling in life as well.

JP was gone for a little bit. He had to change out of Santa gear, change, have a drink and get back out there. They were doing this! They didn't make the mistake of coming in where Santa and deer left; no they walked all the way around the building to the point when they got back to the front the greaser's hair might be frozen to his head. That leather jacket was zipped up with a scarf, but hey it wasn't below freezing so that was a win. "Ho ho mes amis." One arm slung around Sev's shoulders, the other was drinking a bottle of coke. Did he strut? Like a damn rooster. "Santa was enjoying some cake flyin out overhead, there any left?" Eyes on you Yulia! "Josh, thanks for hostin, man."

Yuliya puts her gift safetly to the side, and makes her way back over towards the meal serving area and gets back to work. With JP's question, she nods, and makes her way over to collect the two pieces of cake that she had stashed away earlier in a fridge. "Da, there is some cake left," she offers as she makes her way back over towards JP and places two plates down. "You saw him flying off. I hope he has a safe flight." She'll keep up the act. She takes a few moments to consider what she was doing, and goes back to the job she volunteered for, and generally being quiet.

Severin comes back in with JP just long enough to grab his jacket from where he left it and then he's wishing everyone a Merry Merry in a voice that Josh would recognize as the one from his head before he slips back out again.

Kai makes his way back to Elmo, laden with children who are stuffing themselves with cookies and candy. It's the days when parents didn't flip out at every stranger, and the elf just seems harmless. One of the kids is playing with the camera slung around Kai's neck, messing with the lens cap. Kai doesn't seem to mind, though he keeps an eye out. It's an expensive camera. "Hello," he says to Josh and TChalla amiably. "Look, Elmo. Tiny humans." He's got about five hanging off him now, courting an infestation.

Imposing as the Wakandan is, he has an art of holding still and not openly dominating a situation. That's been the case rather through the night, quiet words and a somewhat easy manner his weapons against someone pointing and shouting who he is. "Best to you, Elmo. I do not think I've met anyone named Kai yet." Totally that one guy who isn't everyone. Cats and elves, they have things in common. T'Challa's eyes flash, full of hidden humour at no one's expense. He has a joke with the world, and like every cat under the sun, he will not share it with you or anyone. "A repairman or a mechanic is always in short supply. Destruction is much easier than making or rebuilding." A point he nods to. The wheels turn behind those dark eyes, a brief distraction brought by Josh's wishlists. "Do you have numbers that you serve here? Is this," a gesture at the crowd, "the usual amount or perhaps more, less? I am trying to know what volume comes through." It has nothing to do with coffee and cake quite yet, though he takes in Yuliya's efforts with an uncommonly interested eye. There's good reason, honest.

Elmo brightens up a bit, getting into the discussion. "I can't cook, but I'll check around to see who can." He has bustling aunties for miles. "This is Kai," he tells T'Challa, simultaneously jerking a thumb at Kai and edging away to make room for the several-headed-and-armed, squealing monster Kai has become. "Didn't catch your name." T'Challa being so courtly to him has him turning kind of red, but he's gamely pretending it isn't. He notices Julie and waves at her. "Hey, it's you."

"Oh, I'm not hosting; I don't own the place, don't run the place. I just… take initiative and help where I can, which mostly amounts to unloading trucks and sweeping and healing." Josh chuckles softly, still glancing down at his gift repeatedly, before his attention focuses upon T'Challa, "It varies, but we feed about two hundred a day. For some people its the only meal they get at all, for others it supplements. We serve breakfast to children too, but we've only recently started— its much smaller program. If I can find the funding, I'm going to start a bag-lunch for kids program too. I'll make the sandwiches myself if I have to." He inclines his head, "I'm a doctor, so I know how important nutrition is for growing kids." He nods over to Kai, smiling, "Hey."

Julie nods, seeming to put the faces of Elmo and Kai together, and smiles, "Oh, hey! Poetry-lovers, right? Howya guys doin?" She glances, way up toward the tall Wakandan, with a smile. And glances to Josh, "Well, I dunno, I know someone, maybe, who'd like to do more. It'd be nice to build something around here, you know, instead of it awlays seemign to be rebuilding after the latest…" She wrinkles her lip and shrugs a little, no sense bringing up unpleasantness on a jolly occasion, and all.

Daire comes in from outside, dressed in a comfortable pair of jeans and hiking boots and a festive green sweater with a red turtle-neck on underneath. His eyes match the sweater, and he even has some tiny jingle bells dangling from his horns that jingle as he walks. He seems to be in a merry mood, and greets a few of the kids and their parents as he comes in and takes a look around, stepping in to help out where he seems needed, giving one of the other volunteers a break for a little bit to help pass out food. His smiles are warm and unrestrained, even though his fangs can be seen. It's mutant town, and the community center, one of the places he feels most at home, so there's no hiding.

JP had cake. he could die happy now it seemed. He looked like 40 yards of trouble, but the goofy grin enthralled with filling his maw full of cake seemed to indicate anything 'threatening' was disarmed. His head wobbled with a happy grin, "Mizzz Yulia, you are magic." Noting Elmo there he offered, "You try the cake? Elmo? Yeah? J.P. This' Yulia. Dat' tall drink of bad assery? Dat' bein' T'challa. Seems an alright cat." Which was used in the slang, and JP likely had no clue how on the nose that was.

There's a chance that Yuliya has noticed the uncommonly interested glance from T'Challa, and she arches a brow and offers a friendly smile in return as she continues her work quietly. While the conversation around her might make it hard for her to hear properly, it doesn't mean that she's still not paying attention to where everyone is and who is doing what. She moves back over to the meal around, and resumes assisting the other volunteers again,

"I'm Kai," Kai says, introducing himself to his little group. His beret is gone, off on some child's head elsewhere, lost to him forever. His curls splay everywhere, mussed by the child perched on his shoulders. He's got one hanging off his bicep, which he lifts so the little guy's feet are off the ground, which is the best game ever. "You want these to get bigger?" he says to Josh with feigned dismay. "I don't know, they've just about done me in." Like he's not bright-eyed and bristling with energy. He flashes Julie a broad smile. "That's right. That was the night Elmo called me Satan. How've you been?"

T'Challa still carries his box in hand. Something he will be handing off sooner or later, if the white-haired black woman emerging from a knot of people is any indicator. He recognizes the witching hour and nods to Josh. "I would like to know the prospective amounts for your bag-lunch program, and the rest. Nothing we need to conduct here when everyone is focused on good things." Already his attention is leapfrogging possibilities to a place far ahead. "If you have them delivered to the Wakandan consulate, I will see to them personally." And now the gig is up, Elmo having made a totally reasonable request. "I am T'Challa. It has been good to meet you. Now, I say, good evening." The children might not know what his name means, but the woman closing in towards him definitely do. "Your majesty," even muttered in English, tends to be rather obvious. Cue giving her a pointed look, and being obligingly hauled away.

"Yeah, and it was too good for you," Elmo tells Kai, affectionately needling him. "Hey, J.P., good to meet ya, pal." When T'Challa drops his bomb, Elmo gets more than a little starstruck. "Jeez, uh, wow. Hey, you too. Your majesty or whatever?" He's not real firm on how one addresses royalty.

Josh arches a brow at T'Challa, and inclines his head a moment later, "I'll have our budget proposal messagered over." he agrees, before he glances at Kai and laughs softly, "When they get bigger they stop hanging on quite so much." But then he has eyes only for Daire, and lifts a hand, gesturing. He's got a box! Someone got him a present, and he doesn't seem to know what to do about that. He was clearly not expecting any; the pair of baseball gloves and ball are obvious within the box.

Julie laughs, a bit and smiles, "Oh, I guess the world's keeping me busy, too, really." She looks impressed at T'Challa's pronouncement, not to mention perhaps his companions. But she adds an elf-like flourish to a bow cause, well, she's trying to be Elfy, even if she's pretty well-lnown here and not well-disguised. As he goes, she looks to Elmo. "Wakanda, eh? Well, you sure meet some interesting people, and sometimes their interesting cars, around here." She adds to Josh. "Warren wants to help more, too, you know, we was talking about maybe some more local schooling and all for the neighborhood. He's kinda had a hard time doing the philanthropy too visibly just lately." She smirks at the baseball. "School sport, even."

Daire wanders over toward Josh when he's motioned to, passing off the ladle that he had been using to help pass out the food. He dries his hands off on a towel and then makes his way to look at the box in Josh's hands and leans over to peek inside at the contents. "Hey, look what you got." He grins, "We're totally going to have to go to the park and give these a spin." He grins and gives Josh's shoulder a little bump. Then he looks out at those gathered and says, "This was a pretty cool idea. Looks like everyone's having a good time."

JP poked the fork between Elmo and Yuliya and with a mouthful of cake looked curious, "someone was talkin food? Yuli, we should seriously team up, meybbe get a pancake breakfast goin' or so?" He looked to Elmo and shook his head coming clean, "Honestly I jes' wan' pancakes, but we can share, right?" As the repair tech stood star struck JP nodded someone holding 'impressed' into reservation, but even his flippant ass had to respect the guy. "He helped cater the event. Wanted to make sure people ate. No waivin no banners or nothin. He jes' want t'do it. So what's your story?" Would talk, but there were things to be listened to and cake to be had.

Yuliya continues to work away, back around the kitchen, checking on food that's cooking and then to check the levels of food and to make certain nothing runs out. She's no doubt enjoying herself, as she's smiling happily to herself. When JP pokes a fork at her, she moves and leans in closer. "I can try, but I have to let the office know I will be late in. I will have to study these panned cakes first. I could make butterbrots for breakfast. It would be a good learning experience to learn more about Western food."

Kai grins at Elmo, taking the needling with good nature. A little girl holds her arms out to him to be picked up, and he obliges. The little apex predators have run him to ground, and now they're taking their 'kill' in getting entertainment and pilfering candy from his pockets. Some little blighter has made off with his red scarf, and he has no idea where his cigarette holder has gone off to.

"Daire!" he says when he sees him. "Hey, man. It's good to see you. Groovy." To Josh, now that Daire's presence has reminded him, he gestures with his camera and says, "I've been doing sketches and paintings of mutants for a few months now, for an art installation I'm doing. I was wondering, if there were willing mutants who wanted me to take their picture, I'd add photography to it. The aim is to portray the humanity of mutants, showing them just living their lives and being people. The hope is to help destigmatize and get people to see with a clearer eye, dig me man?" Hastily, he adds, "Can't stress enough: willing people only. This is exposure, and I don't want, like, anyone getting attention they didn't sign up for." He gives Yuliya and JP a little wave, a child attached to his arm.

Elmo spreads his hands at Julie in an 'I know, right?' sort of way. "I didn't meet Thor at the Asgardian embassy, and at a community center I meet T'Challa." He grins one-sided at JP and shrugs. "Don't got one. Just some Jewish kid who can do some stuff." He actually opens the present, instead of mutilating it, and his grin becomes sincere. "Hey, thanks—Santa." He pulls a little toy robot out and sets it on a table. A tiny flicker of lightning jumps from his hand to the robot, and its eyes light up and it starts chugging forward on grindy little robot feet, despite the battery still being in the box.

"What's a butterbrot? Remember, kids are a little…picky." Josh turns to look for a loooong moment over at Kai, "I don't mind exposure, not now that the gold isn't permanent. I'm considering a more public profile, anyways, taking this whole thing from volunteering to… more serious activisim." He laughs softly, the sound bright and light, as he nods over to Daire, "We can throw some ball. I haven't actually played anything like baseball since college."

Julie smiles to Elmo, "Hey, that ain't bad. " and says to Kai, "Well, some don't look any different at work than anyone else, so that could be kind of the point for some, but I guess I know a couple that might just volunteer," she says, …at this point it's about when she turns attention to Yuliya, "Ay, howya doing? I guess more than one embassy or something's involved, then." She says, "I bet they got some kind of pancakes all over, only called something else. Ain't hard to find em to try around here, anyway. If you smell bacon, they probably do pancakes."

"Oh, hey Kai," Daire says when he sees him, grinning. He then says to Josh, "I let Kai draw me once, a while back. He's really talented." He then says to Kai, "You can take my picture if you want, to add it to the drawing if you like. I don't mind." Then he says, "Well then we definitely need to get out there. It can't be any worse than.." but they weren't going to speak of that again, ever, and so he just trails off with a broad grin that reveals those fangs, all toothy like.

JP looked up and gave Josh a confused look, "You don' know what a butterbrot is?" As if he knew. An impish grin formed with a snicker, "I dunno, but watch it be a pancake." That cake was finished in short order and the small plate set aside for now. Two fingers and a thumb had the frosting licked off of them. He paused watching the robot go and blinked. "Tha's far out. I can't make the lights go up, jes' move around. You got the whole thing." He looked back to Yulia there with them, then back over to Josh, Daire, Kai, and Julie, and back again, "Knack say he? MmmHMM. Well I got no plans to go home to so if ya wan' We can stick around and JP can nab us up a skillet and we teach you the pancakes, yeah?" He squint and looked around murmuring somehting about a nearby closed diner soooomewhere….

"A butterbrot is like…" Yuliya trails off as she tries to remember a word as she answers Josh's question. Then comes a game of charades as she tries to mimic a sandwich. "One piece of bread folded? It has butter, a boiled egg, ham or tvorg." She offers a sheepish smile and a soft embarrassed laugh. "Tvorg. Like lumpy cheese? I do not know what it is called." The talk of photos being taken has the Russian woman tense up a little, before she glances towards Kai. "I am just a volunteer, here to help out. No good for portraits." She then glances towards Julie and seems rather surprised and she smiles brightly. "Oh, it was either help out here or sit place I am staying, getting drunk and racing cockroaches. Helping here was a healither option." Her attention shifts towards the robot, now that she's not distracted by work, and she tilts her head to the side, before she glances towards JP looking thoughtful. "It is tempting to say yes, but I should go and get some sleep for work soon."

Kai nods to Josh, suddenly rather serious for a man wearing other people's children who are climbing him like a jungle gym. "However you want the world to see you," he says. Daire gets a small smile, and he says, "I'd like to get a picture of you two together, maybe some others who want to, by the buffet to show the Christmas celebration." He nods then to Julie and says, "Some of my subjects don't have any outward sign of who they are, and they're part of the exhibit, too." Yuliya gets a solemn nod. "I understand," he says. Then he tries to shake children off him, albeit gently. "I need my hands, tiny humans," he says. "Let's just get whoever wants photographed over here by the buffet. I'll take a few shots now. Elmo? You in?" He flashes his friend a smile.

Elmo gets a little wild-eyed and shakes his head—then grimaces. "Yeah. Okay." He deactivates the robot, lightning flicking back to his hand with a minute pop. The robot falls over. He rights it, taking a moment to line its feet up parallel with the table edge.

Julie smiles to Kai, "Well, maybe we'll talk later. Kinda helps not to make too much show, cause that's part of how I help around here. Kind of a complicated situation but I can help out around here better if I keep it pretty quiet. Some around here gotta keep cars running, too, and it's delicate enough being a girl doing what I do in this business, know what I mean? I'd kinda like to *stay* in this business."

Josh nods over to Daire, flashing a quick smile, "Do you want just individual pics, Kai? Or scenarios? I can be like working and patching someone up, wrapping something up in a bandage. If it shows the whole Golden Doctor thing. Maybe have Dai uhh, I dunno. I'm not good at this sort of thinking, I'm a scientist." He looks to Yuliya, "Hmm, the boiled egg might be a problem for some kids. I can barely get them to eat scrambled eggs on toast, sometimes. Though some of them I talked into thewonder that is eggs-in-a-hole." He nods then, back to Kai again, "But us together for Christmas, sure."

"Oh man, eggs in a basket!" Daire pats his stomach. It's one of his personal favorites. Then he glances over toward Kai and says, "Oh sure, we can go hang out by the buffet." He then heads over in that direction, grinning a little at Josh and saying, "He can take a picture of me stuffing my face from the buffet now that you've all made me hungry with talk of eggs in various forms." He says in a mock nature-show voice, "And here we see one of them feeding. Watch, as it shoves mountains of christmas cookies into its waiting maw. Oh, the .. not.. humanity!"

JP looked disappointed when the robot stopped marching around. He upnodded to it, "Yeah at ease, soldier." Looking up to Daire, he glanced back ot teh back kitchen and then back to Yulia, "Daire is bein right there. This may have to happen. Also because I won' turn down free food. Also because tha' sounds amazing."

"I will never understand you Americans," Yuliya comments in amusement in a good natured tone. With that said, she makes her way back into the kitchen area, no doubt going to clean a little as well as getting her suit jacket and gift. "JP, I will try to come past and I will try to make some. Consider it an exchange of cultures. But I am going to leave now, as I have some assessments to do when I wake up." She wrinkles her nose at the mention of work, and starts to make her way towards the front door. "Good night all."

Kai says, "Oi, I'm Norwegian," in an English accent." In any case he manages to juggle camerawork with being the hot new toy this Christmas season, the climb-an-elf. "I'd say just do what you do at buffets and I'll take shots when I find a good one." He lifts the camera and shoots a picture of Elmo standing there looking Elmoish. "It's a small-time installation, but, like, whatever cash it makes I'll donate to the center here. I don't need the money." He stands back, still conversational, but now at an angle he can take pictures while people do their thing.

Elmoish includes a rather hangdog look aimed in Kai's direction. It's a perfectly Elmo picture, kind of annoyed and kind of amused. "Why do you do this to me," he says, half-serious. "I'm gonna go talk with my /new/ friends. JP can make stuff move, too, he said so."

Julie smiles as Kai goes about his thing. Says to Elmo, "Anyway, my, ah, friend," she says, "Is always going on how art's important with stuff like this, if it's ever gonna get better later, I guess that I just don't get most of my stuff done in that later, I dunno." Frowns to herself under the elf hat. Banishes that thought again, and smiles, taking up a little glass of eggnog. And as she often does, divert. "That's a neat trick, though, you electric or something?"

"I so didn't know that was your favorite." Josh laughs softly for Daire "Its one of the rare things I can cook well; this is your breakfast in the morning." But, he goes over and proceeds to grab food and munch, and grin, looking and elbows Daire in a friendly fashion, just sort of nudge. Trying to pose without meaning to pose, "Yes, we are cookie monsters if we're any kind of monster at all." He glances back at Kai, "You are welcome to provide direction." he offers with a quick grin.

JP snickered and tilted his head to the side trying to remain serious, "Yeah, JP can move all sorts of this; stereos, watches, your car." An impish grin followed. He wasn't serious was he? Or just brazen about his delinquencies, one of the two. Julie's question interested him and JP shrugged. He couldn't tell her difinitivly how Elmo did that. He picked up the small robot carefully and set it back down. He stared at it as it stook still. WHen JP looked away it started a step step step march across the table with a little whirr of gears. JP's head looked back to it and it was standing perfectly still. When he looked away it started to move except when he was looking at it. Finally he feigned looking away and caught the robot that dis a wobble about face and started marching back were it came from arms out like 'help me! he's on to me!' That fun had, and the robot undanaged, JP released his old on teh tiny tin toy bot and sucked on his eyetooth shaking his head. Rogue AI begins now. He sighed, "Soooo it starts." He leaned off the counter and held out both indez and little fingers on either hand aimed at the adults nearby, "I got' go talk to Santa about a phonecall. Catch you around and uhhhh yeah. For the help? Thanks." For the space, teh help, the food prep, the support, adn mostly the not turning him over to the cops as being involved in a hyjack charity stunt. Throwing them a savvy wink he spun in his chair and the greaser was rolling out stopping to look at the two ten year olds nearby. "Hmm? Throwin snowballs? Kid I sound like I done that before? I got fi'teen minutes for you to show me. Grab those two. This is happenin."

Since he'd been directed over toward the buffet, Daire takes his opportunity to grab a plate and start loading it up. It's a careful process that begins at the center, and concentric rings of food are formed so that he gets a bite of various things all neatly arranged in a sort of wreath with a second layer in the middle of things that can sit atop things beneath without all the things becoming one congealed mess. He grins over at Josh as he is elbowed and tries to dodge and balance his precarious food pyramid, and not of the traditional nutritional sort. "Yeah, why do you think I always want more than one when you make them?" Daire grins at Josh and gives him a nudge back.

"There's my boy," Kai tells Elmo as he clicks another picture of him. "All grown up and ready to leave the nest." He now has the camera up and pointing more or less as a matter of course. Sometimes kids crowd in front of it and he takes pictures, not intending to use them for the show. "You look great," he tells Josh, and he snaps a few. "Here, stand next to Daire just like… there, perfect." Snap snap. "You two look great together." Artistic nattering, honest. "Elmo, if you can tear yourself away from your replacement Kai, stand here with Josh and Daire, and smile."

"Yeah," Elmo says to Julie, a little sheepishly. "I guess so. I mean, I am, just not real used to talking about it, yanno?" He turns his palm up again and the tiny lightning bolt makes a reappearance, dancing between his fingers like a Jacob's ladder. It discharges harmlessly with a pop. Strands of Elmo's hair start rising on their own, and he vainly tries to smooth them down. "How about you?" He acquiesces to Kai's orders, lofting his eyebrows, telegraphing 'whaddaya gonna do' clearer than words.

Julie smiles a little. She'd watched the further toyings with the robot paerhaps a bit oddly, but glances back to Elmo, "Ah, well, what I learned about stuff like that, I just learned it. Got a way of seeing it, Still kinda…do stuff that… THen there's a camera pointed there, and she ducks out of frame, "Ah, what'd I tellya about no pictures, there!" She slips back a bit, laughing, nonetheless.

"I just thought you still has a college-metabolism." replies Josh to Daire with a quick, bright laugh. Except for the golden skin, Josh is the picture of the All American Guy, handsome, fit, blond (well, gold), so he's photogenic, easily. Except gold. Once Elmo is urged over, Josh nods to him with a friendly smile, stepping aside to include, even as he digs into the food with obvious enthusiasm, and a warm, easy grin on his features, "So, Elmo, is the no-handshaking a personal space thing or related to one of your powers? Well, if you want to tell me about your power. Its entirely up to you. Me, I'm a healer. Elmo, this is Daire, Daire, Elmo. Daire here is… well the horns are a little obvious, but let's put him down under the category of 'supremely badass'." But he's still trying to pose for Kai.

Daire has a plate full of food and is busy holding it with one hand and putting bits of it into his face with another. He laughs at Josh and says, "Well I mean, my metabolism is still pretty good but not all that unusual, really. I'd say it's probably as good as it was in college." He's not that old, after all. He turns though to turn that grin toward Elmo when he comes over. He doesn't offer a hand, both clued in by Josh's words and due to the fact that he has a plate and a fork occupying his. "I'm pretty strong, and I have an even stronger form that can fly," he offers up, without going into much detail. "Good to meet you, Elmo."

Kai catches Josh in a pose he likes and snaps a few more pictures. "Elmo, if you smile, the world won't end. I checked." Still, he seems resigned to the fact that, while Josh is helping him out, Elmo's compliance only goes so far. "Beautiful, Josh," he says. Then he moves in closer to get individual close-ups. "Sorry," he tells Julie. "Don't worry. You won't end up in any of these, luv." It's just a throwaway 'luv,' rather than a come-on. He's Englishing up the joint. "You can fly? Groovy."

Elmo, making a heroic attempt to ignore Kai, answers Josh, shyly, stuffing his hands back in his pockets. "Don't like touchin'. Dunno it has anything to do with…that stuff." He's edgy, but everybody is so welcoming and accepting, he can't help but relax a little. "Hey, Daire, nice to meet ya. I know another guy who can fly. Seems fun."

Julie also waves a hand toward Daire. "And, hey. I only ever see you when there's some kind of fight on, I guess, you gotta let me buy you a beer or something sometimes. Everybody loves air support." She's figured out that part where Kai might not be coming onto her, for reasons that might involve being similarly-situated in her own way. It's a world where people hide that way, too. Shrugs to Elmo. "It really is, even if you gotta bring some kinda helicopter or something."

"I admit to being envious that I can't figure out a way to grow myself some wings; I haven't ruled out it being possible to do yet so I still have hope, but flying sounds like a lot of fun." Josh sighs dramatically with a glance between Daire and Elmo, then adds another laugh, a quick grin, striking a pose. In college, Josh was one of the A-crew, the popular kids. He got invited to every party. Part of that is knowing how to be seen, see? So he plays that up for Kai. "Guys aren't beautiful, Kai. Guys are striking or handsome." A quick, teasing grin offered that way, before he looks to Daire, "I cheat, on the metabolism front." he admits, then glances to Elmo, "So what can you do?" he wonders. He nods to Julie, though, "Air support is all the win, yes."

"Can be," Daire says to Elmo with a grin. Then he nods to Julie and says, "Yeah, certainly seems that way. But then I'm not out your way much unless there's something going on lately. Been busy lately. But I work at Eight Ball so, if you want to stop by, you can buy me a drink when I get off shift." He's a bouncer there, and sometimes performs when there's a lull in entertainment. He's careful to spend a little time eating and a little time conversing. He's mostly just being natural and being himself and if any of it happens to make a good picture for Kai, then so be it. In college, Daire was not. He was the guy Josh dragged out of his dorm room and off to parties to make him socialize, not that he was against socializing, he just was not nearly so naturally inclined. To say that he's grown more confident is one thing, but he's just not quite so naturally inclined to /trying/ to catch anyone's eye. "Yeah," Daire says, "I know you do." He gives Josh another light elbow for it, too.

"Guys can be beautiful if it's art," Kai says with a knowing tone. Click, click, click. He even gets a few shots of the food. Normal food people eat, almost like the people here are… wait for it, people. "The shot is beautiful," he adds. "You're striking. You're all handsome." He snaps of one of Elmo when Elmo isn't looking, where he almost looks relaxed. "Let's face it, if good looks were a superpower we'd be the new Avengers."

Elmo was the awkward probably-gay nerd who got beat up a lot, and it shows in the way he has no idea what to do with himself, and hunches up under the scrutiny of a beautifulsorry, handsomeman. He did relax for a second, listening to people, but now that Josh is asking him things, any ease vanishes like mist in sunshine. "Uh, well. I build stuff, repair stuff. Build a lot of stuff to make my, uh. Uh…powers, work better. Work on cars, fix machines. I can make machines move, if they run on electricity. I can hit someone with a helluva shock. I'd show ya, if I had something that wouldn't get hurt." Trailing off, he shoots a glance to Kai, pleading for help.

Julie smiles, "Hey, that's cool. I kinda work it different, but I'm kinda more mechanical about things. I want electricity I gotta spin a motor the other way or something." She winks.

"Art is, I admit, not one of the fields I excelled in. I took Art History 101 and that's it, and my final was about how much I hated modern art and how much it sucked." Josh laughs again, shrugging helplessly in response to Kai, "My modern art teacher was less then thrilled. I might have gotten a B on that, I don't remember precisely." He flashes a quick smile over to Dai, accepting the elbow, "Oh I know you do, I was admitting the guilt of my cheating to everyone *else*." He nods with some interest towards Elmo, "Building stuff would be very welcome around here; like I said, everything we have is hand-me-down. Nothing works well, nothing works quite right. If you're so inclined, we'd love the help." A nod to Julie, "I admit your gift I understand least. But the same to you. Just… think small, if possible."

"I can doodle a bit but I'm not really good at it. Music is more my thing. Guitar, a little singing, which I do a bit at Eight Ball from time to time," Daire says as they talk. He works his way through msot of his food though while the discussion turns to the mechanical, listening with interest to both Elmo and Julie. When he finally works his way through his plate, he takes it over to get rid of it before coming back to those gathered. "Hey guys, sorry to hit and split, but I do have a shift at Eight Ball I need to get over to. It was really good to see everybody, and Happy Holidays all around, yeah?" He gives Josh a little grin and says, "See you later." Then he is heading back out the way he'd come in.

"As a modern artist, I'm not sure I entirely disagree, man," Kai says. "I never took any classes. I just sort of showed up." Poor Elmo. For help, Kai says, "You're doing great. It sounds like they'd love to have you." Click click. Finally, he lowers his camera and puts the lens cap back on it, still swarmed by children. "I mean it," he says, "who do you tiny humans belong to? See you, Daire." He waves to Daire, then says, "I need to go find parents missing kids or I'll end up bringing one of them home by mistake and Loki will kill me." On that note, he sets off into the crowd, asking people, "Do any of these belong to you?"

The offer of something to work on gets Elmo less panicky. "Sure! Point me at somethin'. I'll fix it. You need something, I'll build it." He discusses what needs to be done briefly with Josh, before stepping out for a smoke break.

Julie nods, and smiles to Josh. "You know where to find me. Seems welding's in demand, but we got a pretty good apprentice even over there in the Robin Hood hat." She smirks, and heads off to mingle, but glances back, "Hey, though, thanks for all youse guys do around here."

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