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Dinner At The Black Petal (IC)

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May 12, 2011; 8:09 PM

Black Petal Cafe, Riverside

Freedom City

Morgan straightened his coat lapels, leaning on the edge of the entrance to the cafe. This was the sixth date he and Victoria had gone out on, and he still knew very little about his...

The term girlfriend seemed somewhat...odd to use. Still, it did fit in the situation, didn't it? He anxiously tugged at his pea coat again, idly chuckling inwardly that he was wearing the same outfit he had been when they ran into Angel's crew in Bayview those few weeks back. That fight had been touch and go for a while, and Janis hadn't been easy to talk to for a bit afterwards.

Sighing, he looked upwards past the cafe sign, rubbing his chin. Nick had reccomended the place when Morgan had asked if he knew anywhere good to take a date, and the fact that Nick worked here regularly was a sign in it's favor. The runecaster waited idly, looking up and down the street as he waited for Vicky.

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Victoria peered out the window of the cab she'd taken from school, waiting for the light she and the driver were stopped at to turn green. She watched the people go about their business through the dark tinted sunglasses she wore.

As the car pulled up to the cafe she reached into her messenger bag/purse and handed the driver the fare and decent tip. Having noticed earlier that the name listed on the license was Russian and his accent from when she had been picked up, she thanked him in his native tongue and bade him farewell.

Adjusting the strap on the bag over her gray bell sleeved blouse she stepped up towards her boyfriend. She got a little thrill every time she thought of him like that and also a twinge of guilt, given how much of her family's history she hadn't shared yet. Janis knew some of it, if only from them sharing a dorm together. She made a mental note to fill her in on everything soon.

As she reached the door, she leaned over and kissed Morgan on the cheek, "I hope you haven't been waiting for me too long."

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Crowe smiled, tilting his head to the side. He'd progressed a bit from the distinct awkward actions of before, now he almost seemed at ease when she arrived. Almost. Inwardly he was still as tightly wound as ever, not that'd he'd even come close to admitting it.

"Nah, only a few minutes. Logan dropped me off early so I could find a table, I swear they're nuts around here with license laws."

He backed up and held open the door for her, like a gentleman. She'd rolled her eyes at the notion more than once, but it was a quirk he insisted on. Years of dealing with the fae had drilled serious old-school chivalry ideas into his head, try as he might to deny it.

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Vicky did indeed roll her eyes, though behind the glasses Crowe couldn't really see it. The first few times he'd held a door for her she'd pointed out it wasn't necessary but the gesture was sweet. "True enough. Back in Illinois, the testing isn't nearly as strict as it is here. I may have to take some trips back and get my license out there," she mused as they headed inside.

She lead the way to the counter and placed her order, less than she usually ate, and waited for Morgan to do the same. Taking her order she lead the way to the rearmost booth in the place. "So, how was your day?"

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Crow ate like his namesake, like a bird. Very little at a sitting, but plenty spread out over a whole day. Sticking to a cup of tea and a BLT, he followed behind Vicky and sat down at the rearmost booth, raising an eyebrow at her choice of booths.

"Eh, could've been better. Finally managed to work the kinks out of that hand-blowtorch rune I've been working on, actually."

He neglected to comment that he'd brought the coat along, and had stashed it in the restaraunt somewhere safe. Hopefully he wouldn't need it this time, but after the beatdown they'd delivered to the Fearsome Five, he doubted any villain would be dumb enough to crash this place. Plus, if they did, Nick'd kick their asses five ways from Sunday, which would be both amusing and edifying to watch.

"Brian's going a bit nuts waiting for exam marks, but I just remind him that I don't have any. Then he tries to punch me." He smirked. "Bonus for coming in at the end of the year, get to meet lovely young ladies with none of the classes."

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"Congrats on the new rune," she said. If Morgan paid close enough attention he would have been able to see her holding back a comment about his teleportation runes and the tree she's found him hanging upside down in twice.

Removing her sunglasses, Vicky gave a smile, "Gotta love Brian. He did a bang-up job with those smugglers over in the state forest." At the compliment regarding Janis and herself she blushed.

"I'm just glad I'm skating out on needing a foreign language class, the perks of a bi-lingual upbringing. Some of the Sci-Fi club is trying to get Klingon put on the list for the fall. Not the most useful but with super-geeks like Doc Otaku, you never know."

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Crow took a sip from his tea, snorting and nearly getting some up his nose at the Doc Otaku comment. That was one villain he'd heard of, and although he was a fan of some manga books (mostly due to Vicky pointing him in their direction), Otaku made it decidedly awkward to even admit you liked that kind of thing.

"Lucky you, I'm going to be hip-deep in Latin next year. Even though the magic I'm trying to use was created before Rome flattened Britain and the Isles, it's still pretty standard for guys on the eldrich side of things. Good grief..."

He looked at the BLT, taking an experimental bite, then gave it a more approving look and swallowed.

"So, you learned Russian before you came to Claremont?"

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Vicky took a bite from her own sandwich, a four cheese and tomato panini, before answering Morgan. "Yeah. My mother's from Moscow, though she met my father in East Germany. When she defected West and they settled down to raise a family, they made the call to raise me learning English and Russian. A choice I'm rather thankful for."

"They taught me a bunch of other useful skills. My hand-to-hand training came from mom too while my acrobatics training was delivered by my father. All of this was done before I had my 'breakout'. Said it was 'just in case'. Again, things I'm glad they crammed into my head."

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Crow's eyebrows shot up, and he nearly dropped his sandwich.

"Wait, hold up. Defected West? We talking Cold War stuff here?"

He put down the BLT, a mixture of surprise, chagrin, and amusement on his features. The same emotions were going through his head, though mostly amusement, as he realized Vicky's family history might have been as colorful as his own.

"Okay, this story I gotta hear."

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"Some of the details, I just don't have but what I do know is my parents were both spies, CIA/KGB operating in Europe mostly with the occasional objective taking them into the US or USSR. The short version is when not trying to capture one another, they found they had a lot in common. These meetings went on for several years without their overseers noticing. When mother's handler finally did notice, he tried to kill her. Which doesn't work very well when your agent had been injected with a super-soldier serum leftover from World War II research..."

"I'm still extremely sketchy on the details but I do know that my strength and regeneration are from a Soviet super-serum based on blood work taken from one of the 'Ubersoldaten' during the War, no idea which one, the teleportation on the other hand is from my father."

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Morgan whistled, leaning back in his seat and looking at Wisp with an impressed eye.

"That's some heavy stuff. I'm guessing they made it out in one piece, otherwise you wouldn't be here. Then I'd be eating dinner alone, and I'd be very sad indeed."

He munched on his sandwich thoughtfully, appraising the situation before swallowing and speaking again.

"Sorry if I'm prying, Vick. You got me curious."

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Vicky took a small bite of the cheesy goodness she'd ordered before continuing. "Yeah, I'm not sure which of the super-Nazis they worked mom's serum from. Still, it doesn't really matter. Unless they suddenly show up looking to eliminate the competition, or I'm not too worried. Though, if it is from the one I'm afraid it might be from, I should probably avoid Quo-Dis when discussing it."

Vicky took a sip of her vanilla frap before adding, "But no, you're not prying. This is stuff you'll want to know if we get any more serious than we have thus far. Something I'd like."

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Crowe did drop his sandwich at that point, and he took a quick chug of the tea to keep from choking on his bite of BLT. Wait, what did she just say?!

"I...ah...*cough*...wow. Sorry, caught me for a loop there."

He looked at Vicky with a somewhat surprised face, that turned rather warm.

"Eh...this is awkward. Yeah, me too. I'd like that."

Morgan smiled, then his face turned somewhat worried and he poked his head out of the booth, looking up, down, and all around, then pulled back in and gave a wide grin.

"There are no bad guys. When you say stuff like that, bad guys are supposed to show up...wow, lucky day."

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Vicky blushed smiled at Morgan's reaction. Glad I'm not the only nervous one here.

"I admit, it is a little odd. I've had more than one late night talk with Janis on the subject of 'us'. She seems completely on board for trying to make this work, on the condition you were too."

Morgan smiled, then his face turned somewhat worried and he poked his head out of the booth, looking up, down, and all around, then pulled back in and gave a wide grin.

"There are no bad guys. When you say stuff like that, bad guys are supposed to show up...wow, lucky day."

"I've gotten away with worse," Vicky half muttered, remembering her limo ride with Grimalkin. "Still, you're right on that count. Last thing I want to see is more jokers in SS uniforms..."

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Morgan blushed furiously, his sandwich forgotten as she mentioned the other girl. For a moment, he placed his hand over his nose, and looked almost relieved when it didn't have blood. Read too many comics, old boy...

"Wait, Janis is - really? I'm surprised. Pleased, but surprised. Heh."

For a moment, he shifted uncomfortably, then he seemed to come to a resolution and settled back in his chair.

"Vick. You know I don't talk much about...my mother, right? There's...a reason for that."

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Morgan blushed furiously, his sandwich forgotten as she mentioned the other girl. For a moment, he placed his hand over his nose, and looked almost relieved when it didn't have blood. Read too many comics, old boy...

"Wait, Janis is - really? I'm surprised. Pleased, but surprised. Heh."

Vicky barely held a chuckle back watching Crowe's reaction to her news. "Life feeling like an episode of Ranma 1/2 lately?"

For a moment, he shifted uncomfortably, then he seemed to come to a resolution and settled back in his chair.

"Vick. You know I don't talk much about...my mother, right? There's...a reason for that."

Vicky placed her hand over Morgan's, giving it a light squeeze. "I admit I am a little curious about her but I'm not going to pressure you into sharing before you're ready. Though this does seem like that should be shared if we're going to go forward into anything serious, even if it isn't shared right now."

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Crow stroked his chin again, chuckling at her comment about a manga he read once as he prevaricated for a few minutes.

"Yeah, but I haven't unlocked any gender-swap runes, and I think the Freedom League confiscated Doc Otaku's ray a while ago."

For a bit, the two sat and enjoyed their dinner, as Morgan went through many different perambulations of putting what he considered a fairly important statment together in his mind. Finally, when he'd finished his BLT, he sat forward in the booth, placing his elbows on the table and steepling his fingers, looking at Vicky with a straight gaze.

"You told me about your parents, so I'll return the favor...but it'll take some explaining. I think I already filled you in on what my dad did way back when as Red Hand, but...what do you know about the Tuatha de Dannan?"

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Vicky smiled and laughed, "Well, I meant more the 'harem' aspect more than the gender-bending. Though If you do end up figuring out any runes like that, give me a call. I'll want pictures."

Vicky had to restrain herself from wolfing down her sandwich while she let Morgan think. A heavy jog and thwarting a couple muggers by the casinos on the Boardwalk that morning had left her caloric intake for the day fairly low.

Morgan's change in body language told her that the time for her usual response to nearly everything, cracking a joke, would be unwelcome for this patch of conversation. "Pretty much nothing. I'm guessing they're something to do with Ireland's supernatural sect but that's just a guess."

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Crow sipped from his tea, running a few thoughts over in his head. He was admittedly somewhat reluctant to give her the whole spiel (nothing kills a date faster than saying "So, my mother's a goddess of death, bit of a bitch, really..."), but he'd already started anyway...

"Eeeh...more like everything to do with it. We'd be here all night if I explained it from scratch, so I'll try and give you the Cliff's Notes. Might need to make the occasional port back to Parkhurst to double-check things, but here's what I know."

The two went through several cups of tea and coffee as Crow weaved what he knew from old myth and what his dad had told him about the People of Danu, with the occasional ten-minute port back to Parkhurst to check his sources in the library the lot of them had accumulated. I must remember to thank Nick for coming up with that dimensional portal idea... The Tuatha were the ancient Celtic gods that had ruled over the isles of Ireland, Scotland, and Britain before the arrival of Christianity, and waged war against the ancient Fomorians, cruel and hideous demons of war and winter.

"There was the goddess Danu, from whom all the Tuatha were descended, Nuada, the silver-armed High King (long story there), the great warrior Lugh with his mighty spear, the half-Fomorian Bres the Beautiful, though I don't know much about that guy, Mór-Ríoghain or the Morrigan, a warmonger, queen of death, battle, fertility (yeah, I double-taked at that one too), and...well, let's just say there were a lot of Tuatha running around way back when, heh.

He capped off the story by telling her one of his dad's favorite stories; the end of the Fomorians, how they were cast into an otherworldly prison after the death of their leader, Balor. There would be a few that would escape once in a while, usually by villains trying to get some powerful minions or great magic power themselves, but it was the job of his dad and now him to make sure that kind of thing didn't happen, on top of normal hero work. Settling back, Crow shifted somewhat uncomfortably, then came to the real kicker of his story.

"There is some other lore buried in that library, but I haven't gone through it yet, and I don't think we need to dig into that right now. The truth is...my mother's one of the Tuatha."

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Vicky sat in silence as Morgan began his imitation of Convenient-Plot-Exposition Man, sipping her drink. During one of his quick runs to fact-check she'd gotten up and ordered a second sandwich and a much larger vanilla bean frap.

She could feel her head starting to pound a little by the time Morgan finished explaining, theology had never been her strong suit. "Okay, I think I got that. And you're what, a demigod? And if I know anything about life, this is where you tell me your mother is the previously mentioned queen of death, battle, fertility because our relationship just isn't strange enough." She punctuated this with a warm, if slight, smile. "Not that I mind the strangeness, hell I'm a major cause of it."

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Crow's flat face turned somewhat brittle, and he smiled mirthlessly as Vicky made her guess right in one.

"Oh, trust me, I haven't even reached the fun part yet."

He sipped from his tea, not even bothering to plan out his words as a truth that had rankled in him came out.

"I'm not even a demigod. Sure, she's my mother, but I'm 100% mortal. Why do you think I use the coat? Fact is, mom couldn't convince Cuchulainn all those years back, and when another one of the family line stepped up and made a name for himself, she tried again, hoping for her own mighty warrior kid. And she got me. Old Morry was not happy."

Morgan shrugged, leaning forward and putting the teacup down, grimacing.

"Yeah, for a goddess, mom's always been a bit of a bitch."

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Vicky was suddenly very appreciative of her parents as she listened to the hurt and anger in Morgan's words. Taking his hand in hers, she looked him in the eyes. Keeping her voice calm and her expression warm she said simply, "It sounds like it. But if she's isn't impressed by your abilities and your character, she is also a fool. You've been what you do for how long now? How many lives have you saved? You may be as mortal as me, but you've got the warrior shtick down."

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Morgan's grimace cracked slightly, and a somewhat wan smile crossed his face. He let her hold onto his hand for a moment, enjoying the warm feel of it, then let go.

"Thanks. And you're right. Though my mother only sees the battles instead of the innocents...y'know, I'm lucky my dad raised me right. Red Hand's Rules, always enter into battle with joy, protect those who can't protect themselves...and never be afraid to fight dirty. One of these days I'll get a legend as big as my dad's, as big as Centurion's himself. The fearsome Morgan Crowe..."

He stopped, blinking, then facepalmed and gave Vicky an apologetic look.

"With, of course, the beautiful and bewitching Victoria Knight earning her own legend to match?"

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"An excellent goal. Aim for the stars," Vicky agreed.

"I'm glad we got this out of the way." Slipping over to his side of the booth she leaned in close to Morgan and before kissing him.

Catching her breath, she said, "On another note, perhaps gathering a few more people to work with us wouldn't be a bad idea. Janis and John would be good candidates. Do you think Brian would interested in joining a team?"

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Morgan's eyes went as wide as saucers when Vicky kissed him, and it took a few minutes before his mind was organized enough to form a coherent word.

"Uh...bwuh?"

Ok, maybe not so coherent. He shook his head, blinking at her. Despite the fact that he had been kissed by some real ethereal sidhe beauties before, Vicky's sudden action left him with the same equilibrium as a fellow on a tightrope holding two oversized buckets of bricks.

"Yeah...yeah, Brian'd probably be all over that. Group patrols and fighting bigger enemies, he'd love it. I, uh..."

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