(2016-08-07) Pete Meets Songbird Marie
Pete Meets Songbird Marie
Summary: Serenity has an attack of memory while Pete is listening to her play in the theater district. He helps her out and talks her into going to the park to play for him some more.
Date: 2016-08-07
Related: None
NPCs: None
Scene Runner: NA
Social/Plot: Social

Just down the sidewalk from the Ambassador theater sits Serenity on a tiny stool near the corner where 49th Street meets Broadway. The choice of music for this evening has no lyrics. Instead she is playing classical Spanish guitar while a handful of theater goers pause on their way to a show to listen.

Ah, passing from Times Square to the Theater District. Not a long distance at all. Even dealing with the sheer volume of tourists is something Pete Wisdom can contend with. Walking up Broadway is an excellent way to see the sights, and hear the sounds. And here there's a lovely Spanish guitar, which compels Wisdom to slow down… and then stop, to listen to those fingers dance along the strings.

Serenity does not look up from her guitar as she is playing. In fact she is currently letting her brownish blonde hair fall down around her face so that it mostly hides her face to the point where one wonders if she can see the strings she is playing. Isaac Albeniz's Asturias drifts along the street lightly but someone watching the guitarist carefully might just notice her breathing beginning to change, to quicken.

Wisdom saw the one playing, and he stepped nearby, stopping short so as not to get too close. Just to listen, quietly. Listen and watch the young woman with her hair spilling over her face, and her fingers making matching along the neck and body of her instrument.

Asturias fades away and a few coins fall into the cap laying in front of Serenity to join the ones already there. She releases her guitar and abruptly raises her hands to press firmly over her ears as she begins to shake her head a little.

Once Asturias fades away, a twenty is added from the man in the black suit. As the woman lifted her hands to her ears and started to shake her head, Wisdom observed… about four feet away. Out of striking distance, at least. If she's hearing things, he felt if he spoke his words might not reach her.

Serenity presses her hands more tightly to her ears as though trying to shut out something terrible. Her head shakes back and forth more violently. Her mouth opens as it she might scream but remains utterly silent despite that. Her long hair begins to tangle a little as the strands swishes against each other.

Unfortunately for the young woman, homeless folk in New York City behave in this manner all the time. Though sometimes they're more vocal. Wisdom still observed, however. Patient, watchful. Not yet curious.

Serenity's shoulders begin to shake as if she were crying but still she is utterly silent, not even her breathing audible. She finally shakes so hard that her guitar falls from her lap and she slips from the stool to scuff the knees of her already worn jeans against the pavement. The stool slips sideways as she settles onto her knees.

Approach the grungy-dressed woman? Or don't? Approach? Or don't?

Fine. Pete approached, knelt, and dared try to touch the woman on the shoulder. "Um, excuse me. You dropped your guitar."

The silence finally ends when Serenity is touched. She flinches violently then screams rather pathetically. Her face comes up and her tangled hair finally falls back to reveal her delicate features and soulful brown eyes which are currently so flooded with tears she probably cannot see anything. Even so she does not seem to hear him at first.

Doing the smart, cautious thing, Wisdom flinched back as soon as her voice pealed out in a scream. More than anything else, he didn't want to look to the populace like he was threatening her. Too often good Samaritans are branded as the bad guys in heavily populated zones. And too often people prey on vulnerable young women.

"Apologies!" was his response, hands up in a non-threatening manner.

Serenity stops screaming finally when he steps back. Fortunately the memory was a briefer one and she finally comes out of it. Her hands tentatively come away from her ears then quickly move to wipe her face which is covered with streaks from the tears. She's not really that grungy. It's just that her clothing is. She whispers an apology then gently begins to examine her guitar for damage.

"Are you okay?" Wisdom asked, first. Secondly, he asked, "Do you want me to leave you alone?" Every instinct wanted him to get away from this. He had bigger things to worry about than one young, skinny, tall girl.

Serenity takes several silent breaths before murmuring, "I'm sure I'll be fine. I'm sorry for screaming at you." She wipes her face again. "Please let me make it up to you. I take requests. What do you want to hear?"

"Leonard Cohen, the Sisters of Mercy, if you would. Though I think it might be a little loud, out here, for a song like that." At least he was quick to make a request.

Serenity glances around them and notices how many people are looking at her since her screaming. She winces faintly, "A little loud, yes. I would normally save that for the park. That's quite a hike from here though. I'll try." She strums the guitar briefly to make sure the fall didn't knock anything out of tune.

There's a deep breath from Serenity before she begins to play. Then the lyrics begin. If Leonard Cohen were a woman that is precisely what he would sound like. The song has been transposed into a slightly higher key to accommodate that change.

"Eh, only about eleven blocks to get to the bottom of Central Park…" 49th street to 60th street, and all. Still, Wisdom would move to sit down beside her. He'd drop another $20 in her guitar case, and he'd listen to her playing.

Serenity plays through the requested song without missing a note then says, "Well, I suppose I'm up for walking to the park if you want a quieter place to listen. You've dropped enough money in the hat for a walk."

"Pff. I'd buy your album if I could. If you could do Madeleine Peyroux's rendition of 'Smile,' or anything by Joanie Mitchell, I'd definitely buy your album. You have a quality to your voice…" Wisdom observed. "But sure. I'll walk."

Serenity hops up from the stool and puts her guitar in her case then gathers up the cap and the money in it is tucked into her pocket. She turns toward Central Park then nods in that direction. "I can do Joanie Mitchell, sure." She glances at him, "A quality to my voice? What kind of quality?"

"I dunno how to quantify it, I'm no vocal coach. You just have a way with it. It's different," the Brit said to the young woman, who Wisdom was surprised to find was almost as tall as he was. Still, they headed north, towards Central Park! "What's your name?" he asked her.

Serenity clears her throat once at the question of her name. "You can call me Marie. That's very nice of you to say about my voice. I mostly just copy other people."

"Copying so well, though? It's good. Almost proper mimicry. I'm Pete," he said. The further away they got from the very populated theater district, though, he said, "You were performing in Mutant Town, too, weren't you?" He was a spy, of course he'd remember something like that.

Serenity blinks and looks aside at him, "You were down there too? I don't often see the same people from one performance to another. I move around a lot." She definitely looks a touch wary now.

"I'm admitting I was there, which says something about me, too. So don't worry too much," Wisdom added. "Can I ask what was going on? In your head, over there?"

Serenity winces a little, "I… was remembering something unpleasant. Someone tried to jump me last night. Probably stirred that memory up to float around."

"I know the pain of bad memories. We all handle 'em differently. I keep 'em close," he said. Which, to many, would be an insane notion. Who would want to be near their bad times all the time? "But it's not my business to ask yours. Someone tried to jump you; did you stop them? Are you all right?"

Serenity admits softly, "No. I got saved by someone. I think it might have been Spider-man." She shrugs a little. "You have any other favorite singers?"

"Actually not too many," Wisdom admitted. "I'm more a fan of music than song. I could listen to Miles Davis all day and night. But I suppose…" Wisdom paused. "Tom Waits, or Nick Cave. But I wouldn't want you mimicking them. Especially Waits."

Serenity smiles at that. "I could maybe. I definitely could do Miles Davis. I'm good at voices. Singing is what I'm best at, but I can do straight music too."

"You can mimic horns?" Wisdom asked, stopping suddenly. He seemed very interested. And here they were, very close to Central Park now. "I'd ask about the hero who saved you, but they're everywhere. I see enough skintights on the telly."

Serenity hmms. "I've actually never tried to mimic a horn. Might be interesting to try now that I think of it." Now that she's speaking more naturally, her voice is softly husky with just the faintest hint of a Brooklyn accent. "And.. skintights?"

"Heroes. Specifically, super heroes. You've seen how they dress, yeah?" Wisdom asked. "And I'm guessing you're a mutant, as you performed in Mutant Town, and your voice is part of your packet of powers. Neat." He didn't seem to judge… or even really care.

Serenity shakes her head slightly, "No. I don't think so. I perform all over. The people in Mutant Town have money and places to buy food just like everyone else. I don't think I have powers. I just sing and play music. I'm nothing fancy like that." She turns into the park and finds a place to sit down.

"Oh. Well, I'm one. Nothing too fancy, though," he said, as when she sat down on a bench, he elected to join her. "Perform what you like. I've paid, but I paid for the pleasure of seeing and hearing you perform, Marie."

Serenity takes out her guitar again, "No one's every said it was a pleasure to see me perform before. I don't have very much in the way of showman presence. I know that." She closes her eyes then begins to play a medley of British and Canadian singers for him.

As soon as she started playing anything resembling prog rock, Wisdom would lift a hand and politely say, "Please, nothing about dragons or the past or ancient magical times or warriors of old. I know I sound insane, but please, no 'Battle of Evermore' Led Zeppelin. 'Dazed and Confused' sure. But no prog rock."

Serenity cannot help laughing at that as she stops. "I like it when people have definite preferences. No prog rock." She considers then goes for something everyone can agree on, Yesterday by the Beatles.

Oh, this song. Oh, of all songs, this song. To a man who keeps bad memories close… this song. Pete kept composed, but her rendition netted her another $20.

How much money did he have in his wallet?

As he produces another twenty Serenity smiles. When she finishes she says, "If this was last week I'd say that you're the largest tip I ever got, but this has been an interesting week for big spenders."

"Really? Dare I ask who put money in your case last time?" He did look into his wallet. "Only two twenties left. Eh, I still got plenty in my account." He just had $100 in twenties in his wallet? Is he mad?

Serenity nods, "Some crazy Cajun named LeBeau dropped two Benjis on me then other day in exchange for some blues. That is why your nose is not currently being obscenely offended." She taps her lip thoughtfully then smiles. He asked for a performance and now he's really going to get one. She begins to play Love Me Do with her lips just faintly parted. This time though when she sings it downs like it's coming from behind him.

At the drop of that name, Wisdom's face fell. "Oh, god. He's in New York?" Then she threw her voice - and it wasn't just a ventriloquism trick, she really threw her voice.

And Wisdom smiled. He knew she was a mutant. She might not know it yet, herself. But now he had confirmation. And he had to make a call, or send a text.

Serenity stops at the end of the song, "What's wrong? You know Mister LeBeau?" She takes the twenty most recently given and pushes it into a pocket. If it's crazy for him to walk around with that much it's downright insane for a street kid to. She starts to look really wary now, all the pleasure slipping away.

"If his first name is Remy, then yes, I have the misfortune of knowing him. He's… a rogue." Wisdom frowned. "He's not bad. But he skirts the line. Some would say I'd admire that. It just makes it hard to really identify what side he's on, from one day to the next."

Serenity frowns a little, "Yeah. He didn't seem like a good guy. Seemed like he was trying too hard to be nice. Not sure what he wanted, but no one's ever dropped a Benji in my cap before."

"He's… good to certain people. Say, folks like you. Some would say he's a Robin Hood from the bayou," said the British spy about the Cajun thief. "I don't like him. But, never tell him I said this. I do respect him."

That causes Serenity a moment of obvious panic. "Oh god. It's wasn't stolen was it? I already spent it." She begins to hyper-ventilate. "You're not a cop are you?" She's reaching for her guitar case and obviously getting ready to bolt.

"Likely as not. He's a clever one, and he's got friends. Such petty things like money are beyond someone of his caliber, don't worry," Wisdom said. "And god, no. Not a cop. Dad was, not me. I'm something else. What are you?"

Serenity still looks like she might bolt. "What do you mean you're something else?" Her breathing might begin to slow, but it's hard to say.

Pete Wisdom shrugged, before he said, "I work for the UK government, luv. Jeez, I'm just a pencil pusher." An abject lie, but he was good at that. "I've got no jurisdiction here, anyway, and why would you run? You look like a deer in headlights, petal."

Serenity swallows hard, "A paper pusher? You get paid awfully well to give away sixty bucks in a go." She lays her guitar case in her lap so she can put her guitar away. "Who said I was running?"

"You look ready to run. And the pound… well… isn't quite doing as well as it was, thank you Brexit…" He didn't really have a retort. "Sorry. Should I not have been so generous?"

Serenity flushes at that, "I uh…. well I'd have to be really stupid to say yes to that, now wouldn't I? She frowns, "What's Brexit?"

"A clever political ploy by spineless politicians to manipulate the fears of old and tired pensioners to have the UK exit the European Union," Wisdom explained.

Serenity makes a face at that, "Well that sounds terrible. You still work for them after that?"

"Well, yes. My personal feelings on the matter, and the asshats involved, aren't as important as my duty to the country itself." Which may be an admirable trait. "What do you do? Just street perform for a living?"

Serenity chews on her lip for a moment then nods, "Yeah. Just me and my music. I don't have any other skills worth marketing anyway."

"Ah," Wisdom said, crossing one leg over the other. "Is that so? You seem to have a talent with your voice. Ever try doing commercials? Or other sorts of voice over?" he suggested. "Or… maybe getting on stage?"

Serenity frowns, "You know any reputable recording studio or production or theater companies paying cash to a worker without id or documents? Because I don't."

"Ah, you're undocumented," Wisdom said. "So there's a problem. No wonder you'd thought to run." He sniffed, and observed the woman. "So. You've got some bad memories. No ID or documentation. And you're stuck in New York."

Then he probably asked questions he felt he'd regret.

"…Is there anything I can do to help you out?" Besides call Xavier's.

Serenity twitches a little bit at the question, "You've already given me enough to pay for food all day tomorrow. I think I'll probably be okay." She stiffens up. "And I'm not stuck. I've got feet. I can go anywhere I want."

"Not too far north or the Mounties will see you have no documentation. Then they'll send you to the INS. And you don't want to deal with them." Wisdom sighed. "So… Marie, right?" he asked.

Serenity shrugs, "I'm an American. I'm fine with remaining in the States." She nods, "Marie. That's right. Some of my friends called me Songbird."

"Songbird," Wisdom said. He was sure that name was taken… maybe. "Well. I hope I see you again, Marie. I'm Pete. Some of my friends call me… well. Don't ask them, they'll say rude things," he said with a wry grin.

That draws a smile back to Serenity's face. "I move around a lot, but maybe you'll get lucky." She chews her lip. "Some of the homeless kids snitch after all and if you ask for Songbird Marie someone's bound to point me out eventually." She doesn't sound happy about that. There's another chew of her lip, "I hope you won't turn me in."

"If I was ever going to turn you in, it wouldn't be to any foreign or domestic government authority." Of course he's going to turn a wayward mutant teen to Xavier's. OF COURSE HE IS.

Serenity gets up from the bench now, "Well that's a relief." Or it would be if she trusted it. Which she doesn't. Serenity doesn't have any trust left in her. "I should probably get going. Gotta figure out where I'm going to sleep tonight."

God dammit. "…I have a spare room." Pete sounded reluctant. "Or I can pay for a motel stay."

Serenity winces, "Yeah. That's what Remy said too. He was a little more anxious to get me to his place though." Or it's good act. Probably really good act. Soften her up with cash then take it back in trade. Damn. She picks up her guitar case and assures him softly, "I'll be fine. It's nice out tonight."

"It is a nice night. Like hell am I gonna force you," he said. "The last thing I want to be is caught harboring an undocumented minor. All sorts of bureaucratic problems, there." He shrugged. "You take care, okay, Marie?"

Serenity frowns thoughtfully after a moment then asks, "What day is it? I lose track sometimes. For that matter what month? It's summer, but that's all I'm sure of. It's been a while since I paid attention to a calendar."

"Cor, luv, if you use the subway you should see." He lifted his arm and looked at his watch. "Eleven thirty-seven PM on August seventh."

Serenity gives a wry laugh now. "Damn. I missed my own 18th. Well that's great. Now I can be an undocumented adult and get thrown in jail instead of going into the system." She hefts her guitar and nods, "Thanks, Pete. That actually takes a load off my mind."

"Fuck," Wisdom suddenly cursed. "You're just laying it on. I owe you a birthday dessert, sometime. If you stay around the theater district, I'll take you to Junior's. Best cheesecake in the city."

Serenity nods, "I'm around. Don't know if I'll be back to the Ambassador any time soon. I got some pretty nasty looks from that screaming." She turns toward the way out of the park. It's definitely too soon to try sleeping in the castle again. Especially if she might get thrown in jail if she were caught.

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