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16 April 2010 @ 11:01 pm
The cards will tell  
Log. Thursday, April 15, 2010. [NYC] - Tarot Café.

The Tarot Cafe is set into two main rooms. The brightly lit front, laced invigoratingly with the scent of various types of coffees, teas, food, and a hint of sandalwood, is occupied by tables and chairs and more tables and couches, for places to sit and chat and drink and eat. A 'Mutants welcome here' sign is proudly displayed in the front window, along with the café's logo, a deck of outspread tarot cards, a crystal ball, and a steaming cup of something or other. Near the back wall, a counter set out with various coffee beans and loose tea leaves sat near the register, with a board above it. The board lists types of teas, and coffees, and sandwiches, along with prices. The unusual things on the board are various types of divination readings for sale. Tarot cards, runes, i-ching, numerology, dream interpretation, and many others are listed.

Behind the register, a bead covered door leads a hallway with various doorways, where you can have whichever fortune you've purchased read. In the opposite direction, a door hides a stairwell, which leads up to the apartment above the café. Customers, not allowed. But, back to the bead doorway, and where it leads.

Here, the lighting dims, the hallway having a heavier, but not unpleasant sandalwood scent. Each doorway has an actual door, as to reduce the noise level, and keep the calming effect in each room.

The rooms are painted in light blues and purples, with incense burners hanging from the ceiling above the doorways. In the middle of each room sits a table, with whatever fortune telling means the customer has picked in front of it. Whether you need to kneel or sit at the table depends on the room.

Sabrielle has been feeling out the new neighborhood, a canvas bag with little things from a cute, funky little shop down the street. Candles and holders, which she fully intends to make Andy put up with. She's paused and ducked in here for a cup of some strangely named tea and a sandwich. The empath who currently seems to be lacking empathy, is just sitting, eating, and staring out the window.

Sunset already has a feel for the neighborhood, and the café. Having worked here while her memories were gone and before things had improved with Warren, it’s no surprise that the café has become one of her usual haunts. Expertly and near silently shuffling a large deck of cards in front of her, the witch glances towards Sabrielle, so far unnoticed at a nearby table. For a long moment, she’s quiet, finishing her shuffle and laying five cards out in front of her. “I’ve been thinking, lately.” It’s a statement that’s barely loud enough for Sabrielle to hear, but it’ll hopefully keep anyone else from hearing as well.

Sabrielle is pleasantly distracted, having hauled one of the blue and silver holders from her bag, letting the light from the window catch at it. She still has to clean out her old place, but building this new one...then that voice, all too familiar, makes her stiffen. A head turning, blue eyes watching the other redhead from under lowered lashes. She's listening.

Turning the five dealt cards over, Sunset doesn’t immediately speak, her attention more focused on the spread in front of her than anything. Finally, she gathers them up to fan them out, turning them to face Sabrielle without a single explanation. The Queen of Cups. The Queen of Wands. The Two of Swords. Judgment. Temperance. “May I join you?”

"Wouldn't you rather Ah join you? You already have your cards out." Sabrielle's voice is quiet. She's not entirely sure what to expect.

“I asked first. I believe it’s up to you.” Sunset responds, lowering her hand but not placing the cards down just yet. “Though, you do seem to have a bit more things than I do. It would be less of a bother for me to move.”

Sabrielle tucks her candleholder away, and moves her plate with her sandwich so there is more room. "You're welcome to come over here and join me, of course."

Offering a small smile in thanks, it’s nothing for her to neatly fold a cloth the mostly complete deck of tarot cards and place it into her purse, moving over to Sabrielle’s table to sit. The five cards from before still in her hand, Sunset lays them out again, facing Sabrielle. Looking at them instead of the other woman, Sunset rest her elbows on the table, chin resting on folded fingers. “I want to apologize for my actions the other day.”

Sabrielle takes a deep breath. "Ah'm sorry too. Ah wasn't at my best. Ah've been all...off lately." A finger to tap at her temple.

Head tilting, Sunset nods. “I will ask about that later, but I would like to say something first. I am stubborn. I’m very stubborn. I’m also extremely protective of the people I love, and I don’t like when they get hurt, or when they cut themselves off from me /because/ they’re hurting.” Taking a breath, Sunset lets it out in a sigh, finally looking up at Sabrielle. “However... You do not have anything to do with Angie’s problems, and I was wrong in taking out my frustration with that situation on you. I would also like to say that your assumptions on why I was upset with you were wrong.”

"Ah didn't even know Angie was hurting. Well, Ah mean Ah /knew/, but Ah thought she was gettin' better. She was hidin' it from me, but Ah...Ah thought hse was just tryin' to take it easy on me." Sabrielle runs a hand through her hair, tucking it behind her ear. "Angie tol' me that."

“You’ve seen Angie at her best. She has enough energy to power New York for weeks, if there was a way to do so. Unfortunately, her downswings are just as severe, and I’ve yet to find a way to bring her out of them until she completely hits rock bottom and starts to climb back up herself.” Sunset murmurs, before her lips twitch upward at the last bit of information. “Of course she did.”

"She was tellin' me a lot of things. Most of 'em were right, so..." Sabrielle trails off, a slight shrug of shoulders. "Ah just...Angie comes an' goes as she pleases, Oz wants to forget Ah exist.."

“Oz doesn’t want to forget you exist. Oz wants to find a way to fix everything, because he blames himself for everything. And if he thought that breaking up with you and sending you back to Andy was the way to make things better, that’s what he was going to do.” Chuckling lightly, Sunset lightly tugs at the end of lock of hair. “You wouldn’t believe how he is now. He’s trying to quit smoking. I think he’s been to church a few times. He’s trying to figure out everything that’s ‘wrong’ with his life and fix it. He told me that he was tired of just messing everything up and expecting it to fix itself.”

Sabrielle sighs. "He told me he pretty much didn't think we could be together anymore. He...He buried all his emotions an' tried to fool me, Sunset. An'.. yes, his comin' back churned all kindsa crap up, but Ah screwed up too. Ah just...Ah loved them both. Still do." The younger redhead frowns into her tea, sipping at it. "Ah ...you're right. But Ah'm to blame too. Didn't want him changin'."

“After what happened to him - To both of us. - to expect us to not change is... not the smartest idea in the world, Sabrielle. To try and stop it is even worse.” Glancing to the cards again, Sunset breathes an almost laugh, reaching out to tap at the Temperance card. “Looks like we’re on the right track, so far. Of course, they never did lie to me.”

"He didn't want to think Ah'd changed." Sabrielle counters. "But Ah did. Ah just... Ah wanted to be his compass that still pointed north, even if Ah don't, anymore." She looks sad about this for a moment, a blink. "What's it mean?"

Pointing to the Queen of Cups, Sunset explains. “That’s you. A woman who is highly imaginative, artistic, romantic... She’s highly intuitive. Psychic. Sometimes, she lacks common sense.” The last words are said lightly, teasing, to take the sting out. Moving onto the Queen of Wands, she continues. “And this is me. She’s generous, and capable of dealing with people and their problems. Usually, she’s fair about it. She’s a natural homemaker, and protective of the people in her circle. The rest... They just tell the story. We’re having differences, arguments,” Pointing to the two of swords now. “but we’re trying to work through them peacefully and hopefully with maturity.” Temperance, before moving onto Judgment. “It should turn out alright.”

Sabrielle sticks out her tongue, eyeing the Queen of Wands. "Must be ya've rubbed off on me, then." Softly spoken, a look lifted to the other redhead. "Ah'm all bein' homemaker. Andy an' Ah got a townhouse. Ah.. we were talkin' about when the baby comes an' everythin'...and.." A shrug.

Sunset smiles, softly. “You’ll make a good mother, Sabrielle. If you ever need any advice or have questions... Or just want someone to shop for baby stuff with, you know where to find me.” Scooping the cards up, they’re placed in her purse with the others. “That’s a big step, though, isn’t it? It’s one thing to move in together, but getting a completely new place together... Especially a townhouse. His shop makes enough money for that?”

"Will Ah?" Sabrielle asks softly. "Right now Ah'm freakin' out about everythin' Ah have to get still. That Ah haven't gained any weight, because Ah lost like ten pounds when everythin was crazy..." Blue eyes watch Sunset's familiar face. "So he tells me. His place wasn't big enough for both of us to really live there. An' once Ah clear outta my place..Ah can use the money Ah would spend on that on the townhouse."

“Have you been to a doctor yet? You need vitamins, medicine... Your body can’t handle the stress of creating another human alone, Sabrielle. And you’ve got six months to get everything together. That’s a long time, even if it doesn’t seem like it. I know it seems like a lot of stuff to buy, but the baby isn’t going to need much more than a crib, a changing table, clothes and diapers at first.”

Heat flares in her cheeks. "No. Ah've got an appointment, though. At that place ya tol' me about. An' Ah've been taking vitamins, an' Andy's always at me to eat an' eat healthier an' everythin'. For a guy who didn't want a kid..." There's a hint of amusement there, of warm affection.

“Healthier.” Sunset snorts, amused. “All I want to eat when I’m pregnant is bacon cheeseburgers and Italian food. The more cheese, the better. Wait until you get to the part with the cravings, or until your hormones go so insane you can’t watch an Axe commercial without getting so turned on that you think you’re going to explode. There’s no healthy in pregnancy. There’s just giving the kid what it wants and praying it takes mercy on you during the delivery.”

Sabrielle laughs. "Ah brought Italian to Andy's place, not too long ago.. uh.. it kinda didn't get eaten." More heat in her face, a bite of sandwich, before she blanches at the idea of delivery.

Grinning, it’s all Sunset can do to not tease her about either of those reactions. Like brother, like sister, apparently. “You’ll do fine. You’ll have it a lot easier than I ever did, trust me. Matthew was breech - Meaning, he was born backwards. It made the whole thing more difficult, and painful. And we didn’t exactly have spinal taps back then. With Julia... I wasn’t even at a hospital for Julia. Rose delivered her, all by her lonesome, in her bathroom. Don’t worry so much about yours. If anything, you’ll have pain meds.”

There's a blue glare threatening from under lashes. "That's when it happened, ya know." A finger to her temple. "Ah mean...since that night, nothin'. Hurts to try." Sandwich finished, she sips at her tea. Avoiding alllll talk of delivering.

“Maybe you should ask about it at your doctor’s appointment. I don’t know if the OB/GYN can tell you anything, but you’d be in the right clinic to find something out, or at least get some theories. If it comes down to it, I’ll ask Julien if anything like that has ever happened to him, or what he would recommend for it. He helped turn yours off before, didn’t he?”

"Ah will, if it's not..ya know, back by then." There's another surge of color in her cheeks. "Worth it." A murmur, before her empty mug is set down. "When he turned me off though, Ah could still feel it in my head. It's kinda like a blackout, right now. Ah just.. maybe Ah pushed too hard an' broke it."

“Or maybe you just pushed it too hard and shorted it out.” Sunset counters, waving down a very nervous looking blonde to place a quick order. “You’ll be going to a clinic that /specializes/ in mutant powers soon, Sabrielle. Until the doctor tells you to worry about something, I would waste my energy. Especially if I didn’t have that much energy to spare, in the first place.”

"Like Ah said. Worth it." Sabrielle states again. "Just... weird, tryin' to live without it. Like losin' my sight, in a way."

Sunset shrugs. “Maybe it’s a sign. Maybe your body is trying to tell you that you rely on your powers a bit too much?”

Sabrielle laughs. "No, Ah just never fully let go before. Pushin' until it was like everythin' inside o' me was able to feel free. Ah.. Ah've burned out before, but nothin' like this."

“How long did it last when you burned out before? And what really led to those? It might give clues to how long it’ll take to fix itself this time, if that can even be measured.” Pausing as the waitress comes back with her coffee and muffin, Sunset tears a piece off, biting into it before speaking again. Sabrielle has seen her do worse things than talk with food in her mouth, surely. “If you want, I could read around. Maybe you just need a -- recharge. I could see if there was a spell to help, or something.”

"Couple days." Sabrielle shrugs. "Wasn't like this, though. This is total radio silence. Ah had just a reallly low glow before." Shaking her head. "It comes back, it comes back. Maybe the powers that be decided Ah didn't ...use it right, or whatever. Not havin' my powers might make the baby safer, too."

“You would be able to live with that?” Sunset questions, surprised. “You’d be able to give up your powers for good, with no regrets?”

"Never said Ah'd be happy about it. But why fuss at it, when it won't do me any good? Ah... Ah don't know how Andy would feel about it. Ah.. Ah feel like Ah'm not wholly me, right now."

“Give it time, girl. Whether it’s time for it to come back, or just time for you to get used to it, who knows. But give it time.” Taking a sip of coffee, she pushes the muffin towards Sabrielle, silently offering a bite or two. ‘Why do you think there’s a chance Andy would react badly about it?”

"Dunno if he would or not. He.. He likes it when Ah um..share." There's heat in Sabrielle's cheeks again. A pinch off the muffin and popped into her mouth. "But he might like not havin' a woman that knows when he's lyin'."

"Does he lie to you a lot?" Sunset asks, arching an eyebrow. "Did it ever seem like he was only telling the truth because he knew you'd find out he was lying?"

Sabrielle shakes her head. "Good gawd, no. But people don't always like knowin' another person can see right through 'em, know what they're feelin' an all. But it's also hard to pull anythin' over an' surprise me, either."

“If he’s ever shown any wariness to your powers, then I wouldn’t blame you for worrying about him possibly reacting to your power loss in a positive way.” Sunset muses. “But has he? How has he acted so far about it?”

"Well, what man isn't wary of the woman who can tell his every secret?" Sabrielle smiles. "Honestly, Andy accepts me pretty much exactly how Ah am."

“Then hang on to him. That’s rare, and we both know it.” Offering a smile before it’s hidden by the rim of her coffee cup, Sunset chuckles. “Either we’re very good hunters when it comes to men, or the nice ones just aren’t as rare as people like to believe.”

"Well, he loved me enough to want to share. Ah don't know. Maybe Ah'm just lucky." Sabrielle shrugs. "He's willin' to take me an' the baby on."

Lips quirking upwards, Sunset can’t help but tease. “Maybe he was just really interested in the idea of a threesome with you and Oz.” She’s teasing, but she manages to say that like it’s a completely serious suggestion.

Sabrielle makes a face at Sunset. "While that may be every girl's dream, or at least mine, somehow Ah don't think so." Blue eyes are amused.

Eyebrows rising, Sunset snickers. “And how would that have gone? You with both of them, or them together and you watching?”

Sabrielle gives a wicked grin. "Ah might burned myself out like this a whole lot sooner."

That surprises a laugh from Sunset, head tilting back. “Well, well. What happened to that girl that couldn’t even talk about not using condoms without her face lighting up like the Fourth of July, hm?”

"She hung out with you, Angie, an' your brother too much." Sabs sasses with a smirk. "Ah'm still blushin' on the inside."

“Oh, I fully believe that Angie still has the ability to make you turn as red as my hair.” Sunset dryly retorts. “Oz and I have a brain to mouth filter. We know what’s too crude and when to stop. Angie doesn’t.”

There's a chuckle out of Sabrielle. "Once upon a time, Ozzie delighted in makin' me turn red. What, my cheeks not red enough for you? Maybe Ah'm anemic."

“It’s a fun hobby.” Sunset shrugs. “Used to be, it was an easy hobby, as well. Obviously, things have changed since I’ve been gone.”

"Or maybe Ah'm just havin' an off day." Sabrielle smiles. "Ah should probably get. You should come by an' see the new place. If ya want."

Sunset smiles, not answering for a long moment. “...I’d like that.” Finishing her coffee, the half-eaten muffin is picked up and wrapped in a spare napkin. “Of course, that’s assuming you mean now.”

Sabrielle blinks. "Now is fine, if ya got the time an' are willin' to excuse the mess that the place is, currently." There's a smile starting. "You're not afraid of dogs, right?"

Snorting, Sabrielle gets a look at that. “Please.”

"Bella's kinda protective, an' she's kinda big. Andy sics her on me to make her my nanny-dog."

“Then it sounds like Bella and I will get along just fine.”

Sabrielle smiles, getting to her feet, leaving a tip under her mug and gathering her shopping.

Log. Friday, April 16, 2010. [NYC] - Ink’d and Jabb’d.

The outside of the parlor doesn't look like much. The bricks are dingy and chipped, the paint on the door faded and cracking. However, the glass of the front window is clean, the parlor name along with the logo bright against it.

The inside of the parlor makes up for the rather seedy exterior. The floors throughout are white and black tile, the walls painted a dark red. In the front of the parlor, various couches and armchairs are positioned around tables that hold artist portfolios and tattoo magazines that are actually up to date. The walls are lined with large picture frames that show of all the available piercings available, along with many flash tattoo designs and inspirations.

Behind the seating area are two glass counters that start at each wall and nearly meet in the middle of the room, separating the seating area from the back rooms where all the work is done. The counter holds rings, barbells, plugs, studs, and spikes of various sizes and designs. It also holds cleaning solutions, salt water soaks, and other aftercare products.

Immediately behind the counter is a desk that holds the register, along with a computer which has no other purpose than to store thousands upon thousands flash designs, and keep track of appointments. The computer is hooked up to a thermal fax machine, and scanner. There are also a few sketchbooks on the desk, some pages halfway filled in random drawings. Next to the desk is a filing cabinet which holds all the papers one might need, including the standard legal liability forms that are an absolute necessity for a tattoo and piercing parlor. On the opposite wall of the desk and the filing cabinet is a very large, very fancy, very intricate, and very badass sound system. It is almost always playing something.

Past that is a hallway that leads to four separate rooms, each one carrying all the necessary equipment for the tattooing and piercing processes. Tables are pushed along the three walls, holding drawers full of organized needles and inks, latex gloves, disposable razors, sanitizers, and whatever else may be needed. Underneath the table along the back wall are bins for used sharps, biohazards, and whatever else might be disposed of. A small rolling stool is usually pushed under one table when not in use, while dentist style chairs are placed in the middle of the rooms.

At the back of the hallway, there is a door that leads upward to rooms where more serious body modification takes place. Unless you’re getting scarification or branding done, it’s doubtful that you’ll even see the upstairs part of the shop in your visit.

Friday evening, and the parlour is rather busy -- the waiting room full of people, some of them just there to get new jewelry for already-pierced holes, some of them pondering a new ring, and a couple on the couch, one of which looks fidgety-nervous as he, evidently, waits for his appointment. Likely a first-timer. Jax is a bright-bright spot of color in the room, thanks to both his clothing -- neon orange UFC pants, a tight purple tank top with a picture of Rainbow Brite on it -- and his electric blue hair. The tattoos winding their way down his arms don't hurt, either. He is just emerging from the back room, going over, one final time, the recommendations for tattoo aftercare with a college-aged girl with a fresh bandage at her wrist. She looks rather pleased, so that's a good sign! Jax's grin is bright as he makes sure she has the correct pamphlets to remind her of all the instructions he is already telling her, and sends her on her way. Sliding into place behind the counter, he ignores the customers -- they're being handled by a tall, rail-thin woman with a wealth of piercings and a shaved head -- and moves to the computer, blue eyes focusing on the screen as he looks over his scheduled appointments for the rest of the night. He hums as he looks, a few bars of some obscure anarchist folk song, and bounces on the toes of his chunky platform sneakers with restless energy.

Sadly - Or maybe not, depending on your view of it. - the parlor is about to get a smidge busier. Walking through the door a few seconds after the college age girl has left, Sunset glances around the waiting room for a short moment before her gaze lands on Jackson, and she smiles. Dressed in a tea length gypsy skirt that gradually fades from a dark green at the top, to a very green at the bottom and simple dark green halter top, her hair is out of the way, tied up in a messy updo. Adjusting the small purse that she carries over her shoulder, the redhead strolls toward the counter to focus on Jackson instead of the other employee. “Are there any availabilities for a walk-in, Starshine?”

Jax's already-bright smile stretches even wider, and he leans against the counter, head tilted up to look up at Sunset. "For /you/?" he carols lightly. "Welllll I mean --" His eyes flick back towards the screen, nose wrinkling just slightly. "If y'want Andy, well, no, he's booked solid for the night. Liana, too. But it /just/ so happens that there is /one/ person workin' t'night that's got an open spot." He lifts a hand to brush bright blue hair back from his forehead. "/If/ y'don't mind gettin' your work done by an 'pprentice, that is." He leans further over the counter to confide in a stage-whisper. "I hear he's pretty good, though, even if he's newer."

Letting out a laugh, the redhead puts on a mock thoughtful expression, a finger pressed to her chin. “Well... I hear he’s pretty good, as well. I think I’ve even heard through the grapevine that a very tall, tattooed man might have said that he was his best apprentice yet.” Sunset responds, before a grin breaks through. “Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way than to be done by you. The only problem is that I know /what/ I want to get. It’s the /where/ that is eluding me.” Setting her purse down and digging through it, she emerges with a well-worn card a moment later. Holding it between two fingers to show to Jackson, her smile grows, taking on a somewhat dreamy hint. “I know it’s a bit cliché, but I’ve been wanting a tattoo for a while now, and - When I found this, it just seemed too perfect to /not/ be a sign.”

"Best yet? Well, don't I feel special, now," Jax says with a pleased laugh. He takes the card, expression turning serious and his lips pursing slightly as he studies it. A slow smile creeps across his face. "It /does/ suit you kinda perfectly," he acknowledges, eyes lifting from studying the tarot card to study Sunset instead, critically. His forefinger taps slowly against his cheekbone, expression thoughtful. "Hm. There's a couple places it might look good on you, but --" His teeth toy with one of his lip rings, brow furrowing thoughtfully. "-- Are you an' Warren gonna have kids?" he asks suddenly.

The question takes her by surprise, though she isn’t sure why. Looking to the ceiling as she thinks about that, Sunset eventually gives a small shrug. “I - We haven’t talked about it. It didn’t bother him before when-“ Cutting herself off, there’s a small flash of something decidedly /not/ cheerful, but it’s quickly gone. “I imagine we will, one day. I /hope/ we will.”

"'kay." Jax's grin skews a little crooked, slightly apologetic. "S'just that if you're planning on it -- well, there's places that aren't great to get a tattoo, cuz it'll warp later, y'know?"

Looking back down to Jackson, she nods. “Yes... Well, what would you suggest? Earlier, I was thinking about on my back, somewhere. Maybe between my shoulder blades? I’m not sure.” Waving her hand in an undecided manner, Sunset shrugs again. “I’ll just leave that up to the expert, I suppose. I trust you completely.”

Jax's lips purse again. Keeping the card, he picks up his sketchpad and slips around from behind the counter. "Maaaaybe," he says uncertainly. "C'mon. Let's go somewhere privater and think about this." He lifts his chin towards one of the back rooms, gesturing for Sunset to follow him to one of the tattoo rooms. "Maybe /on/ one of your shoulder blades. I'm a fan of asymmetry."

“Oh, that does sound better.” Trailing behind Jackson, Sunset gives a small smile. “It would make it easier to tend to, as well, when no one else is around to help me. I don’t think I’m quite so flexible enough to where I could fully reach between my shoulder blades multiple times a day.”

Jax leads Sunset into the back and closes the door, flipping open his sketchpad to a free page. The privacy of the tattoo room is, perhaps, as much for him as it is for Sunset -- free to use his powers, here, he lies the card down in a corner of the page and projects its image onto the blank white sheet. His brows furrow as he tweaks it in little degrees. He makes the lines more tattoo-friendly -- sharper, more conducive to the image staying crisp and defined for years -- the colors a little brighter, the /style/ of the characters drawn now with just a faint touch of whimsy that makes them look to be drawn more in Jax's style than anyone else's. His gaze slides between paper and Sunset, and the image shifts in size, lips pursing thoughtfully as he approximates a good size for Sunset's shoulderblade. "Sorry if I'm takin' a little -- license with the picture. I don't hardly feel /right/ inking something what don't look like it's /mine/."

“Don’t apologize. It’s the overall idea of the card that I love the most. I have no problem with it being changed to suit the both of us.” Walking behind Jackson to curiously peer over his shoulder, Sunset simply watches for a moment. “Do you think Warren will like it?” She asks after a moment. “I wanted it to be a surprise, so I didn’t tell him why exactly I was visiting you at work, only that I was.”

Jax works for a little bit longer, until the page holds a brightly-coloured Jackson-esque reinterpretation of the tarot card she'd handed him. "How's that? Any changes you'd like?" Her question earns a serious look. "I think Mister Worthington'll like most anything about you," he says after some consideration. "He thinks you're beautiful. 'course he'll like it. An' I know he's all --" His fingers flutter through the air, nose crinkling as he searches for words. "Y'know. Like. He wears /suits/ an' stuff --" Maybe this is as close as Jax will get to saying 'boring and conservative' -- style-wise, anyway! -- "But he loves /you/ an' you're a hippie an' /me/ an' I'm /covered/ in ink an' piercings, so I think he'll accept it jus' fine."

“It’s perfect.” She answers earnestly, and honestly. His reassurance makes her smile, soft and affectionate. “We should be ready to go through with the adoption papers and everything soon. I was hoping to do it sooner, but Warren has yet to, ah - officially debut me as alive to his... associates. We agreed that it might be best to wait until after that was over, and the media frenzy that went with it before officially starting anything. We didn’t want you to get caught up in it, somehow.”

Jax's cheeks colour dark, but his smile is pleased. "That'll be nice," he says quietly, eyes dropping briefly to his paper. "Then I'll /really/ be your family." His fingers -- nails glittery blue -- drum restlessly against the page, and then he straightens abruptly. His expression gets more focused, for a moment, and a life-sized clone of Sunset shimmers to life beside them, dressed in the same gypsy skirt and halter top. Back turned to them, she looks identical to the /real/ Sunset in every way, save for the chosen tattoo, inked in vivid colour onto her left shoulderblade. "How's that look, then, d'you think?"

“You’ll /legally/ be my family. If we’re speaking in terms of really, you’ve been my son for quite some time.” Jumping slightly as the hologram of herself appears, Sunset can only look at it - Her. - for a few quiet seconds, wide-eyed. “Goddess...” The word comes out more breath than syllables, the real life Sunset walking around the other to take it in. “I’d say it looks perfect, Jackson.”

The smile Jax flashes Sunset is warm and grateful. He brushes his hair back from his forehead again, and leans against the counter, watching Sunset as she examines the hologram of herself. "Perfect's pretty good for an apprentice, I'd say," he says, laughter colouring his voice. "Now I'll jus' hafta make sure you're sayin' th'same thing once it's on /you/."

“With your work? I doubt I’ll be saying anything else.” Walking closer to him to press a kiss against his cheek, Sunset bounces on the balls of her feet now, excited. “So, what now? Are we at the painful part yet, or is that still a bit of a ways away?”

Jax laughs. "Y'seem /awful/ eager t'be at the painful part," he teases. "But no, I gotta get all my tools ready /first/. Y'can sit down an' keep me comp'ny while I do, though! 'less y'want to wait out in the waiting room. But most'a the time we let folks wait in here /anyway/ jus' so's they can see for themselves that it's all done proper sterile an' all." He gestures to the tattoo chair. "Good thing y'already got pretty much a perfect shirt for it."

“Well, the sooner that part gets here, the sooner it will be over!” She replies, almost obnoxiously cheerful. Taking a seat in the chair, Sunset makes herself comfortable, before chuckling as a thought comes to her. “Besides, even if it does hurt, I don’t think it could hurt worse than childbirth, and I have been through that twice. Hopefully, with that thought in mind, this will be a piece of cake.”

It would take a lot of cheer to be obnoxiously cheerful by /Jax's/ standards, which are set quite a bit higher than most of the world's. His smile is sunny-bright as he goes to wash his hands thoroughly, starting to set out tools once they are cleaned -- little caps of ink, sterile sealed pouches with the needles and tubes, a cup of distilled water, a small tub of ointment, alcohol swabs, a disposable razor. Unlike most artists, Jax does not bother with a stencil. "Well, it'll hurt, but t'ain't so bad as some places you could get it. Like your wrist. /That/ one's pretty terrible. Anything close to bone is harder'n anything with more flesh, so the shoulderblade is worse'n some, but -- after a while you jus' get used t'the sensation an' it ain't so bad really."

“I’m not sure if this will be a recurring thing,” Sunset muses. “but if it does, I’ll make sure to remember that.” Shifting in her seat and watching Jackson, the redhead takes in the preparation curiously. “So. How have you been lately? I’m sorry I’m just now asking. It’s a bit rude of me to wait so long.”

"Busy. School, y'know. I guess now is s'posed t'be the time Senioritis sets in an' I stop working -- I mean, college apps are all long since done! Jus' waitin' t'hear /back/ from some places -- but. I feel like I'm more focused than I've been all year. Is that weird?" Jax shrugs a shoulder, eying his table thoughtfully and then carefully arranging the items on it. He gets on a pair of nitrile gloves -- bright purple! they match his tank top -- before he pulls his stool over near the table. "You'll hafta get all settled. Make sure you're comfortable an' all. I gotta clean an' shave the spot first, then --" His grin brightens, something almost wicked flashing in it -- "/Then/ we can be at the painful part."

“Where are you most hoping to hear back from?” Sunset questions, turning in the seat to face it, having to pull her skirt up to around her knees to sit comfortably. (Oh, dear, alert the church elders.) “I’m sure you’ll have your choice of schools, with how brilliant you are. And no, it’s not all that odd. You’re preparing on leaving high school and starting the next step in your life. Focus is a good thing, right now. Much better than say... panic, which some students are bound to feel.”

"Wellllll." Jax gnaws on his lower lip, teeth clicking against his lip rings. "NYU an' Georgetown an' Tufts are all real good schools an' I applied t'them, but it'd be awesome t'get into Columbia -- I know it's a looooong shot, bein' Ivy League an' all, I don't know if I got much chance, but it'd be awesome if I /did/, you know? But." He blushes, head bowing a little as he admits: "I know it'd be more /sensible/ t'go to t'one of those places, but --" There is a long hesitation. Jax is quiet as he tears open a couple alcohol swabs, cleaning off Sunset's skin and putting on a thin layer of gel before carefully shaving off the spot to be tattooed. He speaks again as he swabs the skin clean one more time. "I applied t'the Pratt Institute an' RISD an' Cooper Union, too. Only but they're some of the best art schools there /are/ so they're prob'ly a longer shot even than /Columbia/ an' /anyway/ art school ain't hardly /sensible/, but --" He bites his lip harder, shrugging a shoulder as he crumples the alcohol pads in his gloved fingers and throws them out. "But if I got int' Cooper Union it'd be like -- the best thing /ever/, I think."

“Oh, Starshine. Who cares about sensible? College is supposed to be about learning in general, and expanding your horizons. You can work on sensible /later./ Right now, you should focus on what makes you happy, whatever that may be.” Glancing over her shoulder at him, or at least as much as she can without moving, Sunset offers an encouraging and comforting smile. “You’ll do just fine, Starshine. Cooper Union would be lucky to have you.”

"Art makes me happy," Jax says, his voice quiet but his smile wide. "There's just this little voice in the back of my head that ain't sure I could make a /living/ that way, y'know? I growed up poor enough. It makes me wonder if it'd jus' be -- throwing away all the opportunity I got now. Like I got away from havin' t'struggle to make ends meet all the time, got all this amazin' chance t'do huge things, an' then just -- go back to struggling all the time. Art ain't exactly the most /secure/ of career choices." Head shaking slightly, he carefully preps his tattoo machine to start working on the outline, selecting the correct ink and correct needles. He rubs a thin layer of ointment over Sunset's skin and wheels his stool up close to her chair. "M'glad you're supportive, though. That helps a lot. I'm real nervous." He settles into place, not touching needle to skin yet but looking at Sunset for a moment. "Ready whenever you are. The first moments are always the worst. Jus' let me know any time y'need t'take a break, aright?"

“I believe you could easily make a living with your art. I’ve seen your work, Jackson, and you’re nothing short of amazing at what you do. It may take a while to get there, and it may be a long and difficult road, but I have faith in you and your talents. You’ll make it.” Settling in the chair, Sunset almost seems to square her shoulders, taking a deep breath. “I will. Feel free to start.”

"Jus' remember to keep breathin', 'kay? Sometimes people forget. Then they wonder why they're gettin' all light-headed an' wanting to pass out. S'cuz they forgot t'keep their lungs workin'. An' let me know if y'need t'stop an' drink or somethin'." Jax glances back at his notebook, and then concentrates as he projects his own stencil of the tattoo onto Sunset's skin, using his powers rather than the more traditional thermal-fax transfer. "Okay. Here goes." A buzzing fills the room as the needle starts vibrating, and the first spikes of pain begin a moment later as he sets needle to skin, his hand careful and steady as he starts working on the thin outline of the tattoo.

Inhaling sharply at the initial pain, Sunset clenches a hand on the edge of the seat, doing her best to not move. Forcing herself to exhale a moment afterwards, she does her best to focus on her breathing and trying not to move more than anything else. “Are you going to miss Xavier’s when you graduate?” She asks after a moment, wondering if conversation will help distract her. “Perhaps you could look into becoming a part time teacher until your main career takes off, like Rich is doing?”

"I'll miss it a lot," Jax admits easily, eyes staying focused intently on his work. "If they'd let me help out an' teach art, that'd be great. I love the place. S'like home, now." Occasionally he pauses to wipe at the skin, but for the most part the needle's sting is a constant, its droning hum providing background noise to their conversation. "Y'seem awful sure my main career /will/ take off. S'kinda -- I mean, there's lotsa amazing artists out there. An' most all of 'em, won't nobody outside their friends ever know how amazing they /are/."

“Would you like me to ask Warren about it? I’m sure it wouldn’t be any problem to have you moved from student to staff member.” Sunset responds, relaxing a small bit as she becomes a bit more used to the pain, and the conversation mostly helps take her mind off of the rest. Mostly. Lips pursing thoughtfully at his last few sentences, she takes a few beats to hesitantly answer, worried her words will come out wrong. “I believe that success mostly depends on being in the right place, at the right time. Yet, I cannot deny that it also helps if you /know/ people, unfortunately, because so many talented people are never in the right place, or know the right people. I do not quite know your affinity for the right place, and right time, but you do know people, Starshine. You know Oz, and Rich, and Warren. From what I hear, Andy isn’t as famous as them, but he is a well-known in various artist’s circles, and you certainly know him. I think your talents are amazing, and they have the ability to bring you very far, but it is possible that you might need some... introducing around, at first.”

"Sometimes I forget Oz an' Rich are rockstars an' Warren's a crazyfamous billionaire," Jax admits with a blush and a laugh. "I mean, Rich is jus' my /friend/. An' Oz is his bandmate. An' Mister Worthington is jus' -- my teacher. An' your Warren." He gnaws on his lip as he continues to work, pausing to refill the ink in his needle. "Guess knowin' all these celebrities certainly couldn't hardly /hurt/ my career. Feels weird t'-- mmnh." His brow creases, and he is quiet for a moment as he gets back to the linework. "/Use/ them? I don't know. Like on the one hand shouldn't it jus' be my talent that matters? But I know that ain't quite how the world /works/. An' plus they're jus' -- my friends, not -- y'know. I don't know. Feels strange t' --" He sighs. "I can't hardly put it int'words. I'm not good with words. S'why I draw."

“You’d feel strange for asking them such a favor. As if you were only asking because of their connections, not because they’re your friends?” Sunset offers, before chuckling a bit. “My Warren. I think I like the sound of that. Maybe I should look into getting it copyrighted. And Jackson, I forget he is so... Hm. Wealthy does not quite seem like the correct word. Wealthy does not sound rich /enough./ Well. My point is, that I forget it most of the time as well. I’m a bit thankful for it, really. The idea of that much money /scares/ me."

"Yes." Jax nods at Sunset's first reply. "Yeah, that's it exactly. It'd jus' feel weird. Like I'm /using/ 'em. I don't want t'/use/ my friends." He lets out a slow breath of laughter. "An' I don't even try t'comprehend how much money he's got. M'sure it would make my brain asplode. Doubt I could wrap my head 'round it, if I ever knowed how rich he /really/ is."

“I’m sure they would understand your asking, if you ever needed to ask them. I don’t think you have it in you to use people, Jackson, and if they’re as good of friends as they should be, then that’s something they already know.”

"I hope so," Jax says quietly. For a long while he lapses into silence, the room's only noise the constant hum of his needle. "... you know, Sunset, th'future's kinda scary."

“Why’s that, Starshine?” Sunset questions, the volume of her voice lowering to match Jackson’s. “Is it the aspect of not knowing what’s going to happen, or something else?”

"Jus' up till now there's been so much guidance in life, y'know? Parents or school or --" Jax's nose wrinkles, head bowing over his work. "Then I'll graduate an' be an /adult/. What if I suck at being an adult? I can't hardly decide properly what color /nailpolish/ t'wear each day an' I'm s'posed t'make decisions 'bout where my life's gonna go?"

“Jackson, nobody expects you to know what to do from day one. There’s a learning curve to everything, and there’s a large one that comes after you graduate high school and try and figure out ‘What now?’ If I’m allowed to say such things and disprove the myth that I have answers for everything, there are some days when I certainly don’t know what I’m doing and have to figure it out.” Looking back at him, again as much as she can without really moving, Sunset continues. “And you will /always/ have me for guidance, you know.”

Jax's lips quirk into a crooked smile. "Wait, y'/don't/ know everything?" he asks with feigned shock. "Better cancel those adoption papers right away. I only want parents who are /omniscient/. Y'never telled me I was gettin' adopted by a /human/ an' not by God." More seriously, he adds: "I am glad, though. That I'll have you. For guidance." His voice drops a little bit to confide: "I think I chose th'wrong nailpolish this mornin', after all. I'm gonna need a /lot/ of help."

Grinning, it’s only the buzz of the tattoo machine and the stinging pain that comes with it that keeps her from laughing. “We’ll help each other, then. I’ll help you with nail polish, and you help me with...” Trailing off, her eyes glance towards the ceiling, thoughtful. “Hm. Cooking. I definitely need help with cooking, since I am easily distractible when it comes to that. Warren offered to help me, but I think that if he tried to teach me, it would just distract me even /more/.”

"Cookin' I can help y'with for sure. I made the /mos'/ delicious portobello stroganoff t'other day. I'll hafta make it for you. An' teach y'how." Jax lifts his machine, and the hum of the needle stops. He wipes at Sunset's skin again with a clean tissue. "Outline's done," he announces. "Want a drink or nothin' 'fore I start colourin'?"

“Ohhh, pasta. You’ll definitely have to come over one day and teach-slash-cook for me.” Stretching her neck from side to side, Sunset shakes her head as her arms go up, leaning back to stretch some more. Vaguely, there are a few small cracking noises as her spine pops, and she sighs. “I’m getting old, I think. And no, thank you. I’m doing fine, I think. It doesn’t hurt all that bad as long as there’s something to distract me.”

"I kinda like it," Jax confides in a whisper, cheeks tinging pink again. "The way it hurts, I mean. It's sort've addictive. D'you think there's something wrong with me?" He stretches, too, fingers flexing before he starts changing his needles and ink.

“There’s nothing wrong with liking pain.” Pausing, Sunset hesitates before continuing. “I... enjoy certain types of pain. Not this kind, but others. I don’t think there’s anything wrong or odd about it at all, unless it gets to a point that’s dangerous.”

"I don't s'pose there's no danger." Jax stretches out an arm, looking at the tattoos that run down it, and adds, "-- well, 'cept the danger'a runnin' out of /space/ on my skin 'fore I'm 30. But as danger goes, that's not such a terrible one. -- What kindsa pain d'/you/ like?" This seems to confuse him a little. Settling back into place, he nods towards Sunset's shoulder again. "Ready?"

Pausing at that question, Sunset takes a long moment to nod, flabbergasted. Hm. Well. This, she was not expecting. Face coloring, ever so slightly, she clears her throat a bit uncomfortably before answering in a mumble. “...Riding crops.”

"...Riding crops?" Jax blinks, baffled, and though his needle starts droning again, he doesn't touch it to skin yet. "For... horses?"

Her blush intensifies, Sunset squirming slightly. “...Yes.” is her only answer, possibly even quieter than before.

"On -- you?" Still baffled, Jax just sits holding his machine and not using it. Probably for the best, given the squirming.

“Yes, Jackson. On me.”

"Oh." That is all. Jax gives Sunset a long and puzzled look. Eventually he rests his fingertips lightly against her skin. "Hold still." His head bows again as he touches the needle to her skin, carefully starting to work on filling the outline in with colour.

Lips twitching upward, Sunset takes a deep breath, letting it out in a sigh as the shading starts. This doesn’t seem as painful, at least. (And somehow, that conversation did not end up as awkward as she thought it would. Odd.) “Are the colors going to fade any, or does that all depend on how well I take care of it?” Change of subject.

"The colours'll always fade, in enough time. But they'll last longer if you take good care'a it. An' some things'll fade 'em faster. Too much sun. Too much chlorine," Jax admits with a wrinkle of his nose -- probably because of the two hours the swimmer spends in the pool every morning at dawn. "But we use th'best quality inks an' I like t'/think/ I do good quality /work/ so, if y'take good care'a it it'll be a good long while 'fore y'gotta get 'em touched up at all."

“No excess tanning, and no excess swimming. Understood.” Not that she does either of those two things much, but it’s still good to have a do’s and don’t’s list. “I’m sure I’ll do a fine job of making sure it heals alright. Or at least, I /hope/ so. It’s mostly about keeping it moisturized, isn’t it?”

"Yup. Real important while it's healing. If it gets too dry, it'll crack, an' th'cracks'll show up in the color. The rest'a the time --" Jax's hand turns up in a shrug. "Make sure t'put sunscreen on it if you're gonna be out in the sun too much. I put lotion on mine every day. I'll show you which I use. -- but then, I'm a little obsessive."

“A little obsessive maybe, but yours are also gorgeous.” Sunset counters. “There’s nothing wrong with doing your best to keep it looking as best as it can after it’s healed, right? And considering this one... I think I’ll follow in your footsteps for it.” Quieting for a moment, she glances over to the sketchbook and the card she had brought for reference. “You know, Julia sent me that card. She thought it was amusing, and that I would find it interesting. I do find it interesting, but it almost... This is going to sound very clichéd, isn’t it? I don’t know, it seems like a sign. A really good sign. Fate, almost.”

"It fits you good," Jax replies. "What d'you think it's a sign of?" His tongue wiggles at his lipring, expression intent as he works carefully, pausing when he needs to switch one color out for another. "'sides that th'time's come f'r you t'get an awesome tattoo, a'course."

“It’s the Lovers card.” Sunset answers, as if that explains it all. Resisting the urge to shrug, she continues, trying to piece her thoughts together as she speaks. “I’ve always had a knack for reading Tarot, and every time I’ve read them, wondering about my life and whatnot, that card has always come up, when it comes to my relationship with Warren. Usually, there will be some other cards about him, or us, and the readings seem to just get better with time. And then Julia finds that one and sends it to me and - It’s us. I mean, it doesn’t look exactly like us, but it doesn’t seem like that large of a coincidence either. I don’t know. Maybe I’m reading too much into it.”

"Mister Worthington's wings are prettier," Jax says with a grin. "-- least, prettier'n the ones on the /actual/ card. The ones I'm doin' on the /tattoo/ are plenty pretty though. An' you have better hair than the card." He keeps playing with his lipring, eyes focused and his hand careful as he works on touching up all the shading. "Sign or no sign, I think s'pretty clear you two is great for each other. I don't need no tarot cards t'tell me /that/."

Widely smiling now, as she almost always seems to do when her relationship with Warren gets brought up, Sunset just nods, contentedly. “Starshine... What do you do when you have everything you could possibly want?” She asks, after a long silence.

"Work on somethin' that helps other people get themselves t'the same place," Jax replies promptly. "Most'a the world ain't so lucky, an' could use all the help they can get."

Sunset gives a small laugh, nodding again. “True. Very true. I’ll do my best to remember that.”

"What d'you /want/ to do, now?" The needle shuts off again. Jax wipes carefully at Sunset's shoulder, and squints thoughtfully at the skin.

“What do I /want/?” Sunset repeats, thinking on that. “Are we talking in the near future, or what do I want right at this moment?”

"Both. Right now. In life. With everything y'could possibly want," Jax says, a bright smile curving his lips.

“In the near future... I’d like to be known as alive. I’d like to try and work on getting my school started. And I’d really like a chance to meet some of Warren’s ‘peers’, just to piss them off.” Sunset answers, laughing. “I wish all three of those answers were as nice as the second. And right now... I really want Japanese food. Apparently, getting a tattoo makes me very hungry.”

Jax laughs easily and sets his machine down. He wipes again at Sunset's skin, then carefully rubs it with a small bit of ointment. "Well. I can't help jus' at the moment with the /first/ ones, but we can go out for Japanese food, if y'want t'keep me comp'ny on my dinner break." He pushes his stool across to the counter to grab a large hand mirror, wheeling his way back to Sunset's chair to hold it up, tilting it so she can see the fresh tattoo now gracing her shoulderblade in vivid color. The design is just as he had shown it in the hologram -- the Lovers tarot card, the winged blond man reaching down to the redhead kneeling below, the image rendered in perfect detail in Jax's whimsical style and careful hand. "How d'you like it?"

Looking at the tattoo, her smile becomes ever brighter, eyes lighting up. “Oh, Starshine. That’s /perfect./” She answers, head tilting to get a better look at it. “It’s /gorgeous./” Looking back to Jackson now, her arms wrap around him in a quick head, pressing a kiss to his forehead. “And I’d love to grab a bite to eat with you, of course. I’ll even pay, as a thank you.”

"I certainly ain't gonna say no t'company /and/ my dinner paid for." Jax beams and squeezes Sunset back tight. "-- D'you mind if I take a picture of it 'fore I bandage you up? For my portfolio?" he asks hopefully.

“Of course not! It’s your work, after all.” The witch answers, back to her nearly obnoxiously cheerful tone of voice from earlier. “It’s just so /pretty/, Starshine. I didn’t think it would end up looking /near/ as beautiful as it does. I believe you have a regular, if I ever want any more in the future.”

Jax laughs, and peels off his nitrile gloves, dropping them in the trashcan as he bounces to his feet to get a digital camera. He snaps a few shots of the tattoo, then gets a fresh pair of gloves so that he can dress and bandage the new tattoo, taping the gauze carefully into place. "There! That should do it, then. An' I'd be only /too/ happy t'have you in my chair again. I hope t'wasn't too painful? I /like/ being people's first time. I try t'be gentle."

Turning her head and craning her neck to look at the bandage, Sunset shakes her head after a moment. “It wasn’t! You did a really nice job at keeping me distracted. I barely felt it, after a while.” Gathering up her purse and the tarot card, it’s placed back into her purse before her wallet is taken out. “So, how much is it?”

Jax chews on his lip, pulling a pad of receipts out from a drawer and scrawling something down on it. "Here. If y'take this up t'the front counter they'll get y'all squared away. I jus' gotta clean up in here, an' then I'll meet y'in the waiting room for dinner?" The price he's written down for her looks to be rather less than the tattoo would normally cost -- but then, Sunset is /family/, after all.

Taking the receipt, he receives a bit of a scolding, if not amused, look once she sees the price. She doesn’t comment on it, however. “That’s fine. Thank you again, Jackson.” Hugging him one more time before she leaves the room, Sunset gets everything paid, making sure that a very large tip gets set aside for Jackson as well. Just because she’s family, it doesn’t mean she won’t pay her share in one way or another.

It takes about ten minutes before Jax gets finished with cleanup and trots out to the waiting room to join her, but when he does he is bright and cheery, smile wide and steps bouncing. He dances his way over to Sunset, hooking his arm through hers as he waves to the person at the counter -- apparently, that is good /enough/ to count as announcement that he is taking his break. "Japanese, then?" he asks with a grin. "I know a /delicious/ place t'ain't far at all."

“Not far at all sounds perfect.” Sunset teases as they walk out the door, matching his smile and the bounce in his step. “But what other way is there?"