From X-Men: rEvolution
Dramatis Personae

King of Dragons, Ion, Tian-shin




<NYC> Chinatown

One of New York's oldest neighborhoods and the oldest Chinese enclave outside of Asia, Chinatown is a vibrant ethnic community, which draws throngs of tourists annually as well. This neighborhood is packed with Chinese-owned businesses, from restaurants to groceries to theaters to fashion.

Gray clouds hangs low and dour over the city, their precipitation long spent. Low temperatures have kept the snow from becoming a slushy mess, and instead it lies in heaps by the side of the road, trampled to nearly solid ice on the sidewalks. With nightfall the cold has sharpened, and the very air seems brittle with frost. This has not dissuaded the evening restaurant crowds in Chinatown. Together with the snow, some pre-emptive Lunar New Year decorations lend the neighborhood a festive air, red and gold, black and white.

Tian-shin emerges from the subway station and walks right into a sharp blast of wind. She leans forward, as if she could shoulder her way through the cold. She wears a red motorcycle jacket festooned with nonfunctional zippers and black lacing up the sleeves. Skintight black jeans hug her legs, and the modest heels on her black boots click against the ice with each determined step. Her long red scarf whips out behind her like a banner, and she reels it back in to shield her face.

Parked by the curb on the block up ahead there is a somewhat familiar motorcycle -- black-and-chrome Harley chopper, its vanity plate and ridiculously shiny rolling-fire-wheel rims easily identifiable even for those who /don't/ pay much attention to the rest of the bike itself. Ion is not /with/ his bike, at the moment. Walking back towards it, heading down the sidewalk towards Tian-shin. /His/ motorcycle jacket is nothing but functional, warm and zipped up right now, a(n also bright red) scarf flying against his face as well. He has a couple plastic bags in hand, and a /bundle/ of some sort wrapped up against his back, half-hidden behind a dark shawl. He stops by the side of the bike, unzipping one of its saddlebags so that he can stash his goods.

Tian-shin notices the bike first, and casting around spots its owner. She walks a touch faster, sure-footed despite the slick sidewalk. "Hey! Ion, right?" This a bit more exuberantly than one might expect from recognizing a half-stranger in the street. "I don't know if you remember me..." She pulls one black-gloved hand from the slash pockets of her jacket and waves, belatedly. "How're you doing?"

"/Eyyyy/ shit, fucking lawyer right?" Ion's /grin/ is bright and wide and immediate, his tone exuberant as well. "You not took off yet, huh?" He cinches his bag firmy closed, clomping nearer to offer a fist out for knuckletapping, in answer to Tian-shin's wave. "I busy, maybe. Tired maybe? Got myself a new /job/. How /you/?"

"Yeah, I'm sticking around after all." Tian-shin bumps fists with Ion, grinning. "Have to care for my aging mother and my kid brother, right?" She bounces up and down in place, perhaps to keep warm. "I shouldn't keep you chit-chatting if you're busy. What's the new job...or, for that matter, what was your /old/ job? I don't think I caught it that in between the hitting and the joy ride."

"Yeah-yeah-yeah. Family, that's important. Just so long as they don't send you on more shitty-ass dates. You thrown down with any new date-boys?" Ion's grin stays brightly in place as he leans back, half-sitting against his bike. "Old job, shit, I didn't really got no old job. Sometimes I fight people --" His brows furrow like he's giving this matter serious thought. "Or play guitar or steal shit?" One arm is curling kind of protectively against the (very slightly squirmy) shawl-bundle he carries. "{New job, I'm a fucking /dragon-trainer/.}" There's an excited -- proud? -- light in his eyes as he leans in to confide this.

"Mom hasn't set me up on any dates since I challenged the last one to a fight." Tian-shin shoves her hand back into a pocket, nestling her chin into the folds of her scarf. "He refused, anyway. But now I have more time to rabble-rouse, which suits me fine." She tilts her head, eyes flicking to the bundle. "{Wait, dragon-trainer.}" Then, in English, incredulously. "/Dragon?/ You are not kidding me?" She peers at Ion's charge.

"Hells-yeah. I'm down with that. Rouse /all/ the rabbles. Which ones you rousing?" Ion bobs his head, nodding. He spares a quick glance down to the bundle in his arms, then gestures Tian-shin nearer as though about to show her a /secret/. Really, though, he's just turning his body to use it as a shield against the wind as he pulls back an edge of the scarf, revealing the misshapen lump of teeth and wings and claws and huge eyes blinking sleepily awake in a tough leathery wrap-carrier against his equally tough jacket. "Fucking bad/ass/, right?"

"The mutant kind." Tian-shin doesn't look /embarrassed/ exactly, but she does glance down briefly. "I'm helping to start an X-Gene mutual aid group--going to do anything from housing support to protesting registration. A lot of students involved in it right now. You should come to a meeting some time. There's free food!" She leans in closer and gawks at the small creature wedged against Ion's jacket. "{Mother of God, you were not joking! Where did it even come from?}"

"Shit I ain't no student." Though Ion does look kind of /intrigued/. "Fuck registration, though. It's a goddamn bullshit. {I do have a lot of connections? Freaks, I mean. You /are/ one-of-us, sister?}" Even more intrigued, here. "And I always down for the free-foods, where your hippie-group meet up at?"

He bounces slightly on his toes, rubbing a finger against the top of Eridani's head. "{Came from an /egg/, that's where you get dragons!}" He's outright beaming, with this. "Don't breathe no fire but he eat every-damn-thing in sight, tinymonster. Maybe later the fire will come."

"It's not exclusively students--/I'm/ done with school, certainly--just a lot of the people initially interested are NYU or Columbia." Tian-shin shrugs, unperturbed. "Some of them are pretty sheltered, but you have to start /somewhere./ Speaking of which, we're meeting wherever we can for now--people's apartments, mostly." She arches one black eyebrow at Ion. "{And the egg came from a dragon? This world is way weirder than I imagined!}"

"Huh-huh-huh. Your helpy-group it got a name?" Ion scrounches into a pocket now that the shawl is pulled back, pulling out a very-tiny fleecey cap (it has a skull-and-crossbones logo on it!) to pull down onto Eridani's head, kind of misshapen over the nubby horns. "Is for only-freaks to join up?" He grins at the question, see-sawing his hand back and forth in the air. "Ehh-sortof-maybe? Egg it come from a kind of, a, dragon. Gargoyle. Monster. I think what you mean, it's the world is /fucking awesome/."

"Genetic Equality NY," Tian-shin replies, "G-E-N-Y, pronounced 'Jenny.' That one's not mutant-only, but there's a subgroup called GENY-X that is. I haven't been to those meetings yet though." This thoughtfully, after a pause. "I keep /meaning/ to." She laughs off her own mild discomfort readily. "Yeah, it's pretty amazing in all its weirdness. Guess I best be keeping an eye out for dragon-gargoyle-monsters overhead!"

"Oh good-good-good. Is like, sometimes you know I just ain't got no /time/ for flatscans up in my --" Ion frowns. "Shit, you know? Maybe that group. Sound better. You check them out, maybe, come back and tell me. If they for real or just --" Another grin. "Fucking /sheltered/." Against his chest Eridani is beginning to wriggle, squirm against the thick wrapper holding them in place. "/Hah/ ain't so many of them I don't think. Rare-breed. {This little one, he's /special/. King of the dragons. Prince of the dragons? Maybe princess of the dragons? I don't really know that how you tell on a dragonling.}"

"I don't mind working with allies, but I think I will be checking the X group out." Tian-shin brushes her fringes from her eyes where the wind had tossed them. "I need some...mentoring, I guess. {At least enough so I don't accidentally kill my family when someone says something horrible at New Year dinner.}" She shakes her head, cheeks flushing pink. "You're training dragon /royalty/, huh? {Remind me not to get on your bad side, especially if he-or-she ever figures out breathing fire.}"

"Your family that bad?" Ion snorts in amusement. "Maybe you just kill one extra-messy, be a lesson to the others?" He's probably teasing. His eyes are twinkling like he's probably teasing. "What's it you do? You need you some mentor, I maybe know..." This trails off, his expression oddly thoughtful (in contrast to the jittery bounce of his /posture/, leg twitching against the foot rest of his bike, hand tapping restless (at Eridani's /head/ as the nearest available surface). "{I think if you're the only dragon you get to be a royalty by default? I'm gonna train him up fierce anyway. Case a challenger ever comes along, tries to steal the damn throne.}"

"My brother hates mutants," Tian-shin, admits, "and looks down on damn near everyone, really, maybe it shouldn't come as that big of a surprised. But whenever he opens his mouth, I kind of want to...well, what I do is..." She looks around. "{I make chemical reactions. It's not easy to do, but once I figure out how to do any given substance it can kind of just...happen?}" She bounces up onto her toes and settles back down. "If you have someone to recommend, though, please do." The smile returns to her face suddenly. "Dragon Monarch has to know how to fight, yeah?"

"Ho/shit/ yo that's fucking badass {as hell, /damn/, you get some teaching into you and /you/ can rule the fucking dragon kingdom.}" Ion's whoop at this is sheer delight. He adjusts the wrapping around Eridani, letting the infant's wings have a little more freedom -- even if this means they are promptly batting against his hand, trying in a sort of flaily-uncoordinated manner to hook it inward for chewing. "Dragon Monarch?" He echoes this with an uncertain look down at the biteling, one finger rubbing against the delicate thin membrane of wings. "Ain't they all -- black and orange, oh fuck maybe I get the Frittata all painted-up. Be the /flyest/ damn butterfly dragon ever."

"If the dragon kingdom is one tiny hatchling, it's not much of an accomplishment!" Tian-shin smirks. "But yes, I have some learning to do. {Just don't know who I'm going to learn from.}" She inches yet closer, watching with no small curiosity as the tiny creature tries to capture Ion's hand. "I think your tiny dragon is hungry. Frittata?"

"Dragon always fucking hungry." Ion doesn't sound put out by this. Amused, really. "Frittata, shit, yeah. Like you crack-open-a-egg, make something goddamn /fantastic/." He deigns to let Eridani /catch/ his hand after a minute, fingerless leather gloves unbothered by the snag of talons against them. His actually uncovered /fingertips/, though, /they/ bleed when Eridani nips at them. "You need some freak-teachers, I know some guys. Pretty decent. Is like a fucking /job/ for them, help be all you can -- fuckow." His breath hisses out at a nip a little too hard.

"You could probably use treats? I don't know, never saw that movie, about training dragons." Tian-shin watches with mild alarm as Eridani latches onto a cut on Ion's index finger. "Or blood, that works, too? But, agreed, on the teachers front--I've been poking around quietly, but if you know people who do this for serious, point me their way. I'm not sure if anyone really wants me to be /all/ I can be, but I'd like to move beyond parlor tricks and toxic tabletop explosions."

"I'mm'a point," Ion promises, tugging his finger back but then returning it to Eridani's mouth to /let/ them suckle. "... what /is/ your way? They maybe they look at me funny, I tell them {just hang around Chinatown, wait for a gorgeous woman who can fucking wreck you in a throwdown. Plus it won't narrow it down enough? Maybe something more reliable would help for the pointing.}"

Tian-shin's eyes fix on the hatchling. "Has a taste for blood, huh?" She shakes it off, though, and points down the block at the corner of Mott Street. "Right that way. I'm living above the family book store, the Jin Hua Yuan." Her other hand produces a business card with lettering in Chinese on one side and English on the other. "Also, more specifically, this way. {Thanks, man. It's been bothering me.}"

"Vampire dragon," Ion explains, casual as though this is Totally Normal. He takes the card, frowning at one side and then the other and then tucking it into a jacket pocket. "Shit yeah. Make you into a /aim-y/ kind of bomb, right?" His grin is bright again. He wrests his hand from Eridani's mouth (which comes with a displeased series of ratcheting-clicking noises), holds out his hand once more for a fistbump. "{We should get-going, I'm supposed to be picking up dinner? Mine /and/ the Omelette's. Don't want the damn butcher to close. I'll get back at you though, yeah?}" He pats at the pocket where he stowed the card before getting onto his bike /properly/.

Tian-shin's only reply to /vampire-dragon/ is to raise both eyebrows high, though she does not look incredulously so much as circumspect. "Prefer to not be a bomb at all, if I can help it. Maybe a sword? I'm old-fashioned like that." This with a lopsided smile as she bumps fists with Ion. "Let's throw down again sometime, huh?"

"Oh, for /damn/ sure." Ion is tugging on his helmet; his grin disappears behind it. He checks the wrap, situating Eridani more securely in it. "Don't know nothing about sword-fight though. I just blow-up all the shit." He jerks his chin upward, starting up his motorcycle and tucking Eridani's shawl snug and warm around them before roaring off.