ArchivedLogs:Family Time

From X-Men: rEvolution
Family Time
Dramatis Personae

Ion, Egg, Tian-shin

2017-02-01


"Good enough, shit. Family's just fucking hard sometimes."

Location

<NYC> Hua Family Residence - Chinatown


This apartment is cramped but tidy, perpetually redolent of incense. Two small windows look out on the crowded street below, but do not admit much natural light. Chinese calligraphy scrolls, sumi-e paintings, and colorful auspicious prints decorate the peeling walls. The dining table is inside the kitchenette, and the living room is circumscribed by bookshelves packed with Chinese volumes. One corner has been set up as a shrine, a low cabinet supporting a bronze statue of Guan-yin, two red lotus candle holders, and an tripod incense pot. A bamboo bead curtain demarcates the hallway that leads to three tiny bedrooms and a single bathroom.

The whole neighborhood is bedecked in red and gold this week: lanterns hanging in shop windows, banners strung from building to building, and auspicious posters pasted on every door. The Hua family home is not as gaudy as some of the others in the area, but there are still a few red streamers hung over the windows and an ornate paper rooster hanging above the television. The dinner table is covered with a scarlet tablecloth and laden with delicacies in colorful serving plates and bowls.

Hua Mei-lan is dressed in a long red brocade tunic covered with golden phoenix print, her gray hair pulled back into a neat bun and held in place with a red lacquer comb styled like a hen. She wears a stony look of patient forbearance on her much-lined face as she loads her bowl with dumplings. "So, then," she says quietly, with a heavy Shanghai accent, "what is it you do for a living, young man?"

Beside her, Hua Tian-yi is smartly dressed in a tailored black satin jacket with a subtle geometric pattern in a shinier black, and outlined in bright red trim. His own bowl is piled high with roast duck, dumplings, and stirfried watercress, but at the moment he's passing condiments to his mother and side-eyeing their guests.

Tian-shin is just returning to the table with freshly brewed tea in a black teapot delicately painted with bright red peonies. She wears a bright red brocade tang tunic, much shorter and more fitted than her mother's, and decorated with stylized black bats arranged in rosettes of five, and tight black jeans with red stitching. At Mei-lan's question, she hesitates, but keeps her expression neutral and proceeds to fill all the teacups at the table. This done, she seats herself, darting a sidelong glance at her date.

At the table, Ion is wrangling Egg into a booster chair beside his own. Egg has a bright red wrap shirt of their own, though they've half wriggled out of their little MONGREL PUP-patched cut. Ion is in a crisp red button down, his own cut worn over top of the dress shirt. He gets Egg's vest settled more or less back into place, gets /Egg/ settled more or less back into place, and then looks up with a bright smile. "Oh well, you know, I used to do some uh, some construction work mostly but. These day now things in the club they been busy ain't had time so much for that no more right? Full time job just between managing the garage and the club's work."

Egg looks as though they might go right back into squirming-out-of-clothing mode, but is distracted by Tian-shin passing by with the teapot and fortunately forgets their struggle against the tyranny of garments. 'Dad busy, always busy,' they add, bobbing their bulbous head earnestly.

Mei-lan dips a small nod at her daughter as her teacup is filled, murmurs a soft "{Thank you}" in Mandarin. To Ion, her response comes at a delay. "Oh, is that so?" The impassivity of her face lapses just for a moment into a perplexed frown when Egg adds their contribution. "And what is the work of this...club of yours?"

Tian-yi rolls his eyes. "He means motorcycle club, Ma," he explains, and it's hard to say whether he's more exasperated with his mother or with Ion. "A gang. You don't talk about that kind of business in polite company." He lifts his teacup with one hand and drinks from it without pausing to blow, trying to disguise his wince as the hot tea scalds his mouth.

Tian-shin seems to take this turn of the conversation in stride, though her calm might as easily be a species of despair in disguise. "Ion is extremely competent, Mother. He has plenty of skill and motivation and he gets by just fine." She smiles, not showing any teeth, lifting her cup with both hands and blowing across the surface of the tea gently, watching her brother sharply as she does so. "Be nice, Di-di."

"Oh yeah no we do great. I mean you ain't gotta worry about nothing like that I ain't gonna mooch off none of Tian-shin's lawyering money or nothing. Way I growed up, I've had plenty practice hustling. Not afraid of work, you know?" Ion picks up his chopsticks, poking up a piece of roast duck to chomp it down. "Oh man this all delicious."

'Work work work work work,' Egg signs rhythmically, bobbing their head to and fro so that their long, pointed ears flop up and down.

"It's good to hear young people respecting the importance of hard work." Mei-lan sounds a little uneasy, but her approval is genuine. She finally starts in on her dumplings, dressed up in spicy garlic dip and soy sauce with minced scallions. "And I am glad that you like the food. Sometimes it is not to the taste for people who are not used to it." Then she glances at Tian-shin, thin eyebrows raising high. "Oh? Have you actually started /charging/ for your legal services again? I am glad to see that you have come to your senses."

Tian-yi had been digging into his food, but takes a break to stare incredulously at his mother. "Come /on/, you can't be seriously considering this..." He waves his hand vaguely in Ion's direction. "Tian-shin only brought him along to stop you nagging her, she ain't never gonna get married--certainly not to /him/." He snickers, takes a swig of his tea, cool enough to drink now. "You ask me, she's a {lesbian} like Tsai-hong."

Half under his breath in an aside to Tian-shin, Ion's expression genuinely uncertain: "{... who the fuck Tsai-hong?}"

Tian-shin groans under her breath. "I told you, Ma, I never /stopped/ taking paid cases, if my clients are able to pay. Often I get donations through legal aid orgs even for the ones who can't." "{He means Tag,}" she replies, also in Spanish, but does not bother keeping her voice low. Then, back in English. "/Tag/ isn't a lesbian, and neither am I, but that's got nothing to do with.../anything/." Though she's blushing a little all the same.

"Oh /Tag/." Ion's eyes widen in sudden understanding. One hand claps down on the table; he shakes his head, looking at Tian-yi intently. "No, man, Tag ain't no lesbian. I know sometimes he wear skirt and all but you know," he's explaining earnestly, "you can still be a dude and wear all /kind/ of thing. Anyway I think you gotta like only women to be a lesbian? He like many people." He picks up his tea, slurping down a gulp. "Anyway who say anything about marry you don't have to be /marry/ to be --" The cup waves in the air. "Not-a-lesbian."

Mei-lan sighs, shakes her head almost imperceptibly. "Honestly, at this point I don't care who any of my children date, if they will only do it /properly/, settle down, and give me some grandchildren." She lifts her teacup and drinks, watching the two young men with a kind of detached interest.

Tian-yi sets down his cup harder than altogether necessary, sloshing a bit of tea out onto the tablecloth. "/Tag/ isn't a 'he'. I think I know my own big sister a bit better than you, whatever she's wearing." His jaw tightens. "Crazy dyke won't even come over for a new year dinner, I'll call her what I like."

The clunk of Ion's cup down onto the tablecloth mirrors Tian-yi's -- a little too hard, a little too sloshy, spilling tea down onto the red tablecloth. In Ion's case, though, it's swiftly followed by the scrape of chair legs against the floor, and a curled fist swinging hard straight for Tian-yi's jaw -- with a not-inconsiderable amount of force and a startling shock-zap accompanying the blow.

Tian-yi surges to his feet as well. Considering that he started moving after Ion, it might be impressive that he manages to get a hand up in time to block the punch. The jolt that comes with the punch, however, still stuns him for a fraction of a second. Enough that his returning blow comes at slight delay.

Egg, for their part, also tries to stand, though they are much less successful in this regard than the adults. They settle for flailing their wings in the air and signing 'FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT' in huge, sweeping gestures, clicking loudly all the while.

Tian-shin looks for a moment as though she has of half a mind to punch Tian-yi herself. Though since Ion solves that particular quandary for her, she still stands up, if only to put herself out of the way. She lifts Egg out of their booster seat and settles them easily in the curve of her arm, whether to keep them from being caught in the middle of a fight or to give them a better view. Or both.

Ion's eyes light when Tian-yi's hand comes up. The return punch elicits a broad grin from him, teeth bared fiercely as he turns his shoulder in to meet the blow. It's answered almost immediately with a hard swing of elbow toward Tian-yi's chest -- yet again his actual strikes come not just with force but with an additional brief but noticeable muscle-seizing jolt. "You know what /polite/ fucking company do is call their goddamn brother /brother/."

Hua Mei-lan does not look overly surprised by the sudden outbreak of violence at her table. She also stands and moves aside, though not /too/ close to Tian-shin and the enthusiastic toddler in her arms. "{Even absent, Tsai-hong manages to cause trouble,}" she tells her daughter, though there's no real reprimand in her tone.

Tian-yi's punch lands solid and he carries it through well. He moves his left arm to block again, though does not succeed this time (perhaps not expecting an /elbow/), and when Ion's blow thuds against his ribs, he visibly spasms. His eyes widen, and stay wide even after he'd recovered from the electrocution. He jumps back, actually getting into a fighting stance. "You--you're cheating! You're a f--" His mouth clamps shut, his expression twisting through anger, disgust, and finally settling on a sort of awkward dismay. "Mutant." But then he seems to claw his way back to the anger and charges Ion, seemingly intent to tackle him right into living room.

Tian-shin glares sidelong at her mother. "Tag isn't causing any trouble. Tian-yi was the one hurling insults, and if Ion hadn't hit him first I probably would have." She arches an eyebrow at Tian-yi. Then looks at Ion. Then back at her brother. "Thank you, Captain Obvious."

In her arms, Egg is bouncing happily up and down. 'Hit him first hit him first! See Dad is so good at hitting, he hits with LIGHTNING!'

"No fucking /shit/ yo?" Ion /snorts/ at this, eyes a little wider as his free hand gestures down at the -- large MMMC insignia emblazoned proud on his vest. "Your siblings they got the manners /and/ the brains shit." Unfortunately taking the time for retorts means he's left fairly open when Tian-yi tackles him -- not that he seems to /mind/, tumbling back into the living room with a whoop. His arm comes up as he goes down, striking upward for the underside of Tian-yi's chin.

Tian-yi lands on top of Ion in the small patch of open space in the middle of the living room floor. The impact gives Ion's strike rather more force than he had actually put into it, snapping Tian-yi's jaw shut so fast that he bites his lip, hard. "That's right!" he sputters. "No brains, no manners, but who's on top huh?" Blood trickles down his chin as he winds back a fist aimed at his opponent's cheek.

"{It's true, the boy needs someone to put him in his place,}" Mei-lan says equably, still in Mandarin despite Tian-shin's pointedly English reply. "{Too bad your father isn't around anymore...}"

Tian-shin's eyes snap back to Mei-lan, blazing with fury. "Put in his place..." She cradles Egg a little closer. "That's all Father ever wanted to do, with any of us. And if you think that's what a parent should do, I--" She give a quick, vehement shake of her head. "I'm glad he's gone. I just wish it'd happened earlier."

"S'where you like it, huh? We better make this some /fun/ then." Ion's wide-manic grin doesn't actually fade when Tian-yi's fist thwacks into his face. The strike is met with a solid jolt -- his elbow swings up and in in the spasm that follows, slamming toward the side of Tian-yi's head. "{Starting to feel like /proper/ family dinner now,}" he calls out, delighted, to Tian-shin.

Slowed by the jolt from his /own/ attack, Tian-yi completely fails to block the blow to the side of his head and topples over onto his side. He kicks out at Ion even as he's rolling back up to his knees. "You are fucking crazy!" This sounds equal parts impressed and incredulous, and he seems to be fighting back a grin.

Mei-lan just sips her tea and shakes her head. "You will understand us someday, when you have children of your own."

Tian-shin ignores her mother now, turning to follow the progress of the fight. "{I guess we've been doing our family dinners wrong all this time,}" she says, her tone perhaps surprisingly light--even fond.

In Tian-shin's arms, Egg strains for a better view of the fighters as they go down. They stretch their skinny neck and open their toothy mouth wide--the clicking grows louder as they do so. This probably facilitates their echolocation better, but it has the side effect of making them look exceptionally excited.

Ion's breath pulls in in a sharp hiss-gasp -- teeth clenching down harder but smile not really leaving. There's a little bit of a stumble as he scrambles back and up, leg a little slower to move where he's just been kicked, but he pulls up into a crouch when Tian-yi rolls away. "Yeah maybe you eat a nice /polite/ meal the rest of dinner, huh? Show your family some respect, enjoy this delicious fucking food -- 'scuse ma'am," KIND OF APOLOGETIC to Mei-lan, "but I mean damn yo some work gone into this table you know? And you mouthing." He straightens his vest back out as he gets to his feet. "/Ain't/ this about family time? Did I get that wrong?" The look he gives Tian-shin is suddenly /uncertain/.

"Yeah, it's about family," Tian-yi agrees through gritted teeth. He's settled into a fighting stance, finally, but isn't attacking for the moment. "But Tsai-hong--/Tag/--ain't here. She--he, whatever!--left us." His breaths aren't coming any easier, and his shoulders hunch up. "With--with--" He struggles for a moment, then shakes his head vehemently. "We needed him and he left us and he won't even come to a fucking new years dinner." He blinks hard, dark brown eyes bright, and begins to straighten up. "I guess we're just not good enough." And very, very quietly, glancing sideways at his mother, "{Sorry.}"

Mei-lan's eyes widen beneath already uplifted eyebrows. "This /is/ about family, yes." Her expression is difficult to decipher, but her frown almost looks pained. "Tsai-hong has plenty of reason to stay away," she says at last, uneasily. "You should respect his choice."

Tian-shin is staring at her brother with blank amazement, a look she shortly turns on her mother, as well. "Wait...wh--what?" She opens her mouth and closes it again. "This is family time but I mean yeah, he has--his reasons. Did you both just--are you--wow." Shakes her head, incredulous. "Alright. Um, so, let's...have dinner, yeah?"

Egg's clicking has quieted somewhat, though they don't look particularly disappointed by the subsiding fight. 'Family time is best time,' they add helpfully. 'Eat food now?' /Now/ they look rather a bit /hopeful/, perhaps meaning something a bit different from everyone else in reference to dinner.

"Shit, man, that's --" Ion shakes his head, slower than Tian-yi. "Good enough, shit. Family's just fucking hard sometimes. And you gotta get your own feet square on land before you pull anyone else outta drowning, eh? -- Family time," he agrees with Egg with a sudden /fiercer/ cheer, "is best time, complicated or /not/. Soon you eat, yeah yeah yeah. I heat you up some nice fresh tasty -- we /all/ eat."