1965-06-14 - Friendly Meetings
Summary: Rar.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
kai rogue 

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The Elf has been absent for some time, out doing whatever it is he does, but the day finds him in the neighborhood, and his purpose is to see if Scarlett's home. He remembers the place, and he doesn't come empty-handed. In a ceramic pot of elegant design, all pale golds and cream coalescing in oceanic swirls, there is a little rose bush. The sunny yellow blooms are small, and the plant has plenty of room to grow in its pot.

Kai comes knocking, dressed in jeans and a striped t-shirt that, decades from now, would invite some crack about the location of one Waldo. He's abandoned the beatnik blacks, another fashion trend put to bed as time marches relentlessly forward. The little illusions with which he surrounds himself are dropped. No rounded ears nor plain blue eyes to humanize him. He's his truest, Elfest self as he stands holding the rose bush with plaintive sincerity.

Not that the world knows much of the Soul-Thief, her wanderlust forever on the rise as soon as the balance of the world tips in favour of the Seelie Court, as the Scots would have it. Only natural the lengthening daylight hours summon her out and about, when duties and obligations to a handful of heroic teams and organizations call. Moments purely to herself are few and far behind, and hopefully none are there to watch her leaping from rooftop to rooftop in vast bounds. Eventually she descends upon her own lush rooftop garden and descends through the trapdoor to a cadence of knocks or the twinkling jamboree of the bell — such as her apartment at the top floor has one, anyways.

Shucking her jacket off onto a peg, she has to pull leaves out of one of her braids, the poor flower shredded beyond recognition. So little did we know ye, peony. The light cadence of footsteps would imply an approaching dormouse, not a woman of suitably impressive height. Windblown sylph that she is, she peeks through the small fisheye lens drilled into the door — essential, in lieu of a deadly ward — and then pulls said barrier open. «A kind path brings you to rest,» she says, Aesir, and halfway decent pronunciation. "Also, hello!"

A smile unfurls on Kai's features like a blossom opening to the sun. It's not just the upturn of his lips, but the brightness in his eyes that follows, and his teeth are straight, neat, and white. Despite his beard, one can see the dimples form. "Scarlett!" he says. "Oh my gosh, every time I think I'm over how pretty you are…" He offers the rose in its pot out to her. "I hope you like it. I couldn't think of a better hand to nuture it."

For all the genuineness of that smile, there's an uncertainty lurking behind his eyes. It translates into awkwardness as he asks, "Might I come in? I wanted to talk to you."

The weave of those fire-kissed braids favours Asgardian complexities, if only for the sheer weight and volume of her hair. When it comes to flight-worthy coiffures, they are simply sensible. She tosses their weight off her shoulder in a petite inclination of her head and corresponding rise of her shoulder. "Considering the surreal beauty of your people, I think you might be too kind," she answers, merry as ever, phosphorescent eyes crinkled at the corners as her expression lifts to the mercurial turn of emotions. She steps back, allowing a glimpse of the bohemian revel running on the bleeding edge of counterculture. Tie-dye has yet to make an impact, and likely never will, but Indian mandalas are well and surely about. "Come in, I can put on a pot of tea if you would like anything." Those hands of hers are gloved, as much as she wears a casual pair of jeans and a ribbed shirt doing little to count as wild or outrageous sartorial crimes. The plant fits easily into her cupped palms, its lovely pot earning a moment of unabashed appreciation. "Thank you, of course. How did you come by it? Roses properly planted are surpassingly rare to find about here, unless someone made them out of wire, papier-mache, and a dreadful boating accident."

Calm is a thing she doesn't quite radiate, something cracked and shifted over that bottomless ocean. For all that, she watches Kai with an open curiosity measured by the lightest uplift of her copper brows. "Sit wherever you like, or stand, as you please. I shall put this darling by the window to see if a bit of sunlight will encourage healthy growth. Is something the matter?"

Kai inclines his head as he says, "Not too kind. You surpass by far every lady my grandmother ever thought to trot out in front of me. To date, you are the only woman I know who could tempt me." He knows how to use flowery words and how to pour them on like syrup, but this he says plainly. Some time ago, when describing Scarlett to Steve Rogers, it gave the hero pause; it's probably the straightest Kai's ever sounded.

The Elf steps inside, his curious gaze taking in the whole of it. "There was a nice Spanish lady with pots for sale, and then I saw the poor rose captive in a cup far too small, and I did my best to correct the error. My grandmother made me learn to tend roses, but I think it'll do so much better in your care, and I hoped it might be a symbol of our friendship." He sits down, poised for all his lingering uncertainties. "Nothing is wrong," he tells her, his attention turning to her. "Except that I've not always been a very good friend to you, and for that, I apologize."

"Tempt not the tempter," Scarlett replies in a ripple of mirth inflected by the ebullient sidestep into some manner of Anglo accent. Whether Savannah or the Garden of England, the vowels are slightly too muddied to distinguish exact origins. "I struggle to live up to very high expectations, though we should settle upon an agreeable sentiment that we share excellent taste." That floats after her like the shades of her neroli perfume cut by something vaguely wintry, a whisper of coolness in conjunction with the rush of air that comes with being naturally airborne. She carries over the rose to the windowsill where it can perch in luminescent sunbound splendour with the emissaries of the floral kingdoms of South Africa, the Mediterranean, and a proper English garden. Rose and lavender, they go together like lemon and lime.

"Roses take quite a bit from the soul, far more than most would ever assume." That she shares something in common with the petite bush is not altogether unsurprising to her. She offers a pinch to one of the leaves, and pivots. "All cycles begin anew at some point. I have lived long enough to respect that past events do not have to dictate the future. A good man taught me something about that, and so you may rest assured you have secured my affections." She stands on tiptoe to peek into the kitchen. Woefully short on treats, alas. "They are bottomless pits. Where do they put it all? I bought the shortbread just yesterday. Those boys."

Kai's smile comes swiftly and radiant. "You're too kind," he tells her. "I want to tell you how much you mean to me, and that whatever childish insecurities I've had in the past, I've gotten over them. When we were in the alternate Realms, we had a mission, and you were doing your part. So well, I'm afraid your visions of Loki frightened me. I should've pulled it together, and I've worried that my fear might have put words in my mouth that were less than kind."

He leans back, relaxing away from that awkwardness. Scarlett's words are a balm. Then laughter ripples on his voice as he says, "Who has been eating all your shortbread? Anyway, just tea would be lovely."

"The aspect of the man I knew and the one you know belong to a common root, but they are no more the same person than Bucky and Winter are. The only difference in that case may be co-existence." Scarlett drifts through the open doorway into the kitchen. Long habit allows her to pull down a small plate and gather up fruit and cheese in short order, applying them to a chopping board. Apples sliced and strawberries arranged in a neat burst come easily. The cheese takes marginally more effort thereafter. "I have no place to judge. Though I have not been you, I have walked through enough lives to understand similar unsettled, uneasy emotions. If you feel confident now, you have nothing to worry about."

Water flows into the kettle after she stops dicing a few cheese slices into cubes, and that ends up on the electric element. A twist of the dial and she's back to playing hostess with a reasonable enough facsimile of competence. Some of that ability is real; no woman can graduate from Columbia without at least one homemaking-esque course. Bitter truths, no? Cue bra burning. "Better the question who hasn't. In this case, most likely Kyr or Matvei. Mat usually asks, but they forget. I won't begrudge them. This way they do not terrorize a diner in Queens for pie."

Kai watches, inasmuch as he can see from where he sits. Lounges, rather, languid now that he's relaxed. God forbid he occupy a chair politely. "True," he says. "I was too preoccupied with my own concerns to think that you had lost someone you cared for. It was thoughtless. But! Things are happier now, yes? We could talk about what a great guy Bucky is. I couldn't be happier for you both."

He perks up at the mention of Kyr and Matvei. "The boys!" he says. "I look forward to meeting them. Bucky's so proud and worried, just like a father, at least from what I know of human fathers. My own was a bit lackadaisical. Bucky doesn't even realize what a dad he's being."

Chairs occupied politely are hardly serving their purpose. Chairs under violent duress by lounging and loitering at angles, feet tilting on fixed arms, and sinuous postures risking all to make those squared corners suffer? That's the art of the Sixties. Besides, half the place has a feeling of organic preference, all slinky curves instead of straight rules except where it comes to the table. Because honestly, a curved table is a shell for a lonely tortoise. "Yes, and you were in love, defending a nascent relationship from someone you felt a threat. Logic has no bearing in there. I could have told you til I was blue in the face that my heart lay with another, and it would have done no good." Sanguine in such matters, she takes refuge in a certainty speaking to some manner of advanced maturity. The girl six months ago might not possess that wisdom. It's expensively bought.

"Two of the gaggle, yes." Her mouth quirks up, an uneven crescent-moon smile wrought in rose petal softness. "Most are grown enough to be a menace to their own futures. Kyr isn't quite, thus it falls to Bucky to silently fret, worry, and then chase after his own shadows. I doubt he realizes at all how paternal his instincts are, or that they're dead on insomuch as I can tell. Though judge not by me; I've no idea what my parents are, were or could be."

Kai does rather look made for lounging, too. His poor grandmother, charged with whipping him into shape, could only do so much with what she's been given, and Kai is indolent as a cat, with about the same amount of concern for propriety. "I've never felt this way about anyone, even when I thought I was in love before. Sometimes I worry about what it's turning me into." Someone in love. Oh, the horror!

He shifts a little, because there is still comfort to eke from his draping. His smile is slow and sly. "He's such a dad," he reiterates. "After all the conversations we've had about how we'd be terrible parents, he turns out to be the best. My own remain imprisoned in Asgard, but I hope that won't be for much longer."

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