(2016-08-18) You Got the Part About Being a Prat Right
You Got the Part About Being a Prat Right
Summary: After wandering the city for nearly a day non-stop, Serenity runs across Pete Wisdom who is a right prat to her. It turns out to be just what she needed.
Date: 2016-08-18
Related: None
NPCs: None
Scene Runner: NA
Social/Plot: Social

Serenity has been wandering the city ever since she left Nelson and Murdock the day before. She hasn't stopped walking for a moment and it shows this morning. She looks entirely out of place in the financial district. Business people on their way to work are inclined not to see someone in shaggy attire who they know is probably homeless. With her guitar on her back instead of in her lap, that's Serenity.

The Financial District at about 9am. A HUGE bustling mess. People in suits everywhere. People pouring out of the subway stations. People in line at the food carts for coffee and bagels. Good luck getting in line at any Starbucks, Dunkin, or even the McDonald's on Broadway down here.

Zucotti Park, a very poor excuse for a park, mostly an area for benches, a few vendors, and some trees. It's where the original Occupy Wall Street people stayed for some time. But Pete was here, sitting with an iPad or something like it, a bagel half-eaten beside him. Across the street was the massive department store, Century 21. Just a short walk away was the new Freedom Tower.

There was also no shortage of beggars and homeless folk, trying to ask for money, or offer passersby or tourists little baubles and then asking for money for said baubles. But Wisdom, in all his observational expertise, saw Serenity. When she got closer, he swallowed down a bite of his bagel, and…

"Take a straight and stronger course, to the corner of your life. Make the White Queen run so fast, she hasn't got time to make you a wife…"

His voice was on point. The tune was appropriate, if a few octaves lower than what was necessary. The grating part was, as he was a smoker in younger days, he had a sort of rattle, a roughness to his singing voice.

"That's what you got wrong. Your pitch was a little too clear. You're *too* perfect to do imperfection, Marie."

Serenity stops cold when she hears Pete sing. She turns to look at him in surprise. Without her even realizing she is doing it, her feet move in his direction. "I can do imperfection, but I have to hear it first to know there is one. It's not the way it should have sounded. I didn't know any better." His approach was a good way to get her to admit it was her. That's for sure.

Pete Wisdom started laughing. "I assume you felt you had a good reason to try to secretly make me a celebrity? A mysterious singer, hiding behind bushes and serenading people?" He pat the available bench space beside him.

Serenity straightens her spine as much as she can despite her weariness and inner confusion, "That stupid comment you made before I walked away. About me not spending it all in one place. Like I was too stupid to know I should use what money I could get carefully. Because if I wasn't stupid I wouldn't be on the streets right?"

"You *do* know it's a tried-and-true expression, particularly when one gifts someone else with money, yes?" He then gave her a quizzical look. "So you're *smart* enough to be on the streets?" he retorted cleverly. "The way I see it, you're talented, and more intelligent than you let on. Which tells me something. It means you're on the street for a reason." He gave a small smile. "Your business is your business. But it's hard to play a pauper when you're clearly something else."

Any other day Serenity would probably have just shrugged that off and walked away. She knows better than to pick a fight or be aggressive at someone. But this morning is not any other day. It's the day after what happened at Nelson and Murdock yesterday. Before she knew it, Serenity was right up next to Pete, "PLAY pauper? How dare you? Where do you get off? What do you mean I'm clearly something else?"

"I get off saying the things I do because I'm a right prat," Wisdom said with that same, little smile. "And my observation is quite keen. You've certainly made enough money through your talents, and with assistance from folks like me, and others, to potentially afford housing. Yet, you tell me you're undocumented. In Chinatown and Little Poland there are people who would gladly accept money for a right shitty studio apartment, but housing is housing. Even my digs here are tiny," he said. "Besides, your pockets aren't bursting. So either you hide your money somewhere, or you have an account you deposit it into."

Pete was, of course, happy to continue on. "You also aren't missing any strings on your guitar. And though there's a bit of a rough edge to the case, it seems to be in good condition. And you're clean under those clothes. You wear the rags, but you're running from something. But like I said, your business is your business. But if you're trying to be homeless, in the words of Tim Curry, don't dream it, be it."

Serenity trembles, "My pockets aren't bursting because there's not much in them because I don't HAVE much. There are no strings missing on my guitar because it's all I have and when it breaks, I go hungry to fix it. The case is in good condition because when it got too ragged to protect my guitar, I replaced it. And I've been clean under these ragged clothes since about the day you saw me in mutant town. Because Remy Lebeau gave me two hundred dollars and I couldn't bear being filthy any longer when I had that much money in my hand so I bought a hotel room for a night. I'm not trying to be homeless, I just am." She shakes her head, "You got that part about you being a prat right though."

"Never said I wasn't. You're in a nasty situation. You certainly sound American, so you're not an undocumented foreign national. But you say you recently turned eighteen, and you have no ID to speak of. And the only name you've given is Marie. Now that you're of legal age, have you thought of going to any particular government office and giving them what information you *do* know, in an attempt to take responsibility of yourself? If you were born here, then you've got a birth-date, and I'm sure you may know where you were born. What state, at least, if not city. Some government zombie's whole job is to help look for people who've gone missing. I'm sure your face may be on a milk carton, somewhere. You're old enough to make your own decisions… maybe you should start to get your life back, instead of doing covers that sound as good as the studio recordings."

Wisdom cleared his throat after that tirade. "One Police Plaza isn't too far away. I can even walk you there, if you like, to have somebody help you on the path to getting ID. And once you have ID, you can get a lot of things, easier. Including an address. And since you don't have a job, you qualify for state-provided medical coverage, too."

Serenity shakes her head, "I don't even know why I talking to you. What would a government paper pusher from across the pond know about having problems." She turns and slowly begins to wander down the sidewalk. Her business is her business after all.

"You know why the UK has a ban on carrying firearms?" Wisdom asked, a little loudly, so she could hear him quite clearly. "In nineteen eighty-seven, a man named Michael Robert Ryan went on a killing spree in Hungerford, Berkshire. My mum was one of the sixteen that were killed." Wisdom cleared his throat again. "What was that about having problems?"

Serenity avoids those kind of facts about the world for a reason. They hurt. She turns to look at him again. She looks into his eyes and the pain there is so very raw. Her eyes fill with tears and she whispers, "I'm sorry."

Pete Wisdom shrugged. "Bit of local history, there." It was very clear that it bothered him. "She and I had a bit of a row the night before over the phone. I was supposed to visit her, that day. Stood her up. She was waiting by the window for me when she was shot."

He didn't smile. Not now. "Other awful things have happened since then. Come here," he said, as he futzed with his pad to try to pull up some news articles. "Please. Sit. Should show you some things."

Serenity is slow to begin moving. At first she simply stands there as though she were rooted into the ground through the pavement. She swallows hard then finally there's a step back toward him. She doesn't look toward the pad though. Maybe she doesn't want to see whatever it is.

Pete Wisdom lifted the pad and showed it to her. It looked like some clickbait article. But it was Captain America, shaking hands with Captain Britain, who is being hailed as an honorary Avenger. There are other heroes there, other Avengers, friends of Captain Britain…

…And in the background, was Pete Wisdom, who was looking a little flustered.

Serenity stops walking when the pad is lifted and shown. He knows Captain America and Captain Britain. He knows the Avengers. She licks her lips a little. "Just a paper pusher huh?"

"Someone has to make sure those idiots don't muck things up with their super heroics," was Pete's response. "The wheel needs to keep turning, after all."

Serenity judges the placement of her weight so as not to make a sound (at least not one she could hear) when she sits on the seat beside him. "Serenity." It's said without explanation.

"Thought so," Wisdom said, as he looked over that particular piece of clickbait like it was excrement. He closed that tab, and then turned off the screen. "Pete Wisdom. MI-13." Everyone's heard of MI-5, the police force of the UK, and everyone's heard of the popular version of MI-6, the secret service.

The instinct to bolt is so strong that Serenity jerks on the bench as she almost gets up and runs. Boy has this girl got a serious cop aversion. And MI-13 might not be cops and definitely not American cops but in her mind it's pretty close to the same difference. But… she's 18 and Matt Murdock confirmed no one can force her to go back. She forces herself to stay but it takes every ounce of will she's got. "Interesting. You said you were something else but you implied it was something far and away different from a cop. I'd call that a lie."

"I'm not a cop," Wisdom said. "Some might call me a…" he shrugged. "A leader? I disilike the term. I'm a diplomat." Sort of. "I deal with weird things." That was the pure truth. "But I'm not a cop. I can't personally arrest anyone. But I do have clearance to kick some arse if it comes to it."

Serenity doesn't relax precisely but the tension does lessen. "I'm not guilty of any crimes except breaking in to places to get out of the cold."

"And I'm not going to arrest or report you, anyway. Serenity, huh? Is that the name you use in costume, or…" Pete was only half-teasing, now.

Serenity actually looks pained at the joke about a costume. There's something awfully serious going on there. Finally she shakes her head, "No. It's my name. Marie was my grandmother."

"Sorry to bring up your own bad memories. But your business, as I said, is your business. I'm not a caretaker, I'm not a cop. I'm not a hero. I'm just me." Wisdom shrugged a little.

Serenity nods, "You really mean that, don't you. Most people say your business is your business then subtly grill you for details. You really couldn't care less about my details." She falls silent, thinking.

"It isn't that I don't care," Wisdom sighed. "You couldn't be more wrong. I care about every single person on the planet. The difference is the scope. My responsibility has me looking over so much more than having to really be able to devote my time to a new adult and her problems that she's already very hesitant to talk about." He shook his head. "I have so many enormous things to pay attention to. If you're not going to be honest with me, I can't devote the energy to picking you apart to figure out what you aren't telling me."

The way he said this really seemed to suggest that Pete did have a huge weight on his shoulders.

Serenity shakes her head, "It wasn't a criticism. When you're homeless, everyone tries to do one of three things: Ignore you, Take advantage of you or save you. Something different would be a welcome relief." She chews her lip then nods firmly, "You, sir, owe me cheesecake."

"I do, but we're nowhere near Junior's. The closest approximation would be the Financier, sort of a fancy place for pastries, cakes and things." Wisdom lifted a hand to his mouth, to stifle a sudden yawn. "Oh, sorry."

Serenity nods, "I don't normally get this far south in Manhattan. I just spent all day and night walking." The thought of pastries produces a rather pronounced growl from Serenity's stomach. "Don't think I can eat pastries on a stomach this empty. It will just come back up."

"I have an untouched half-bagel right here," Pete offered. "I already ate the other half, of course. But feel free. New York bagels are a wonder, I can't understand it." It was a simple, plain bagel. With butter, instead of cream cheese.

Serenity isn't going to turn down food. She just isn't. She holds out her hand for the bagel. "When I said I had no documents I might not have been strictly truthful. It's not that I personally do not have any documents attached to me. I just have no documentation of my own and getting some would involve people knowing where I am."

"So you are on the run," Wisdom said, handing over the bagel. "I honestly wouldn't want to get involved. There are more qualified individuals that I know of who can help with that, though."

Serenity stands up. "It's not your problem." She takes a bite from the bagel and swallows too quickly almost choking at first. "I'll get out of your hair. Sorry for making you sing prog rock. That was a bitch move on my part. Won't happen again." She turns to walk away again.

"You take care, okay?" A pause. "It was nice meeting you, Serenity." He'd let her go, this time.

Serenity walks several steps before stopping. She doesn't turn around but she tosses her voice behind her a little, trying without looking to place it near him. "Peter Parker gave me a cellphone so I could call him if I need help. If you give me your number I can let you know the next time I'm going to be near Junior's."

"You met Peter Parker?" Wisdom asked, sounding surprised. "Well. Uhm." Wisdom stood up, before stepping over to her and giving her one of his trademark business cards. "Number's on there. Now run along. I should get to work, myself."

Serenity takes the business card. She quietly reads all the information on it aloud then hands it back. "You don't want me to have that on me if someone murders me. Just a lot of trouble that." It's not really something to joke about so she's probably serious and she does walk away now.

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