2007-12-28: Post Giftmas Revelations


AJ_icon.gif Ian_icon.gif Kory_icon.gif Randall_icon.gif Tyson_icon.gif

Summary: Friends show up with gifts in the post-holiday, and the conversations go from silly to thought-provoking and back to silly again.

Date It Happened: December 28, 2007

Post-Giftmas Revelations

The Secret Lair

The decorations are still up, but Kory has at least backed down on the holiday music. She's just dusting now, as she usually does on Sundays. She's humming happily to herself, and wearing a shirt that has a green dollar sign on it, and over that in white: THE REALITY CHECK BOUNCED.

The dancer makes his way downstairs and down the block a bit. Opening the door, AJ peeps in. Seeing Kory in there, he grins. Good. Just the woman he was hoping to find. Moving in, he shakes a little of the cold away. "Heya." He calls towards the woman.

"Oh, Hey, AJ. Happy last week of the year. Can you believe it? Where'd the time go?" Kory's almost chirpily cheerful at the moment. She turns to put the duster away, and then clears the space of the store in a quick gait. "Did Santa Claus bring you everything you wanted?"

"It brought me… some interesting things. A boyfriend and a gift certificate for skydiving." AJ nods brightly. "Though the latter is very… questionable. I'm frightened shitless of it." He admits with a chuckle as he tilts his head. "And your own?"

"Skydiving?" Kory repeats, wide-eyed. "That sounds …" Well, yeah. Scary. "It does sound scary, yeah," she admits. "But wow, what a great new experience. Are you going to try it?" She tugs on the shirt she's wearing. "I got a boyfriend too. And Cam got me this. And after the Orphans dinner, Randall and I had a nice quiet evening together."

"Yeah. I'm gonna try it." AJ says with a laugh, shrugging. He pulls an envelope out of his pocket with a grin. It contains a slip for two tickets on a day of her choosing during January for the show he's in.

"Well, at least you can have a date for something now." He grins sheepishly, offering it over.

"Oh!" Kory gasps. "You didn't have to get me anything!" she beams at him, though, and taking the envelope. Opening it, she gasps. "Oh, thank you! I haven't ever been to the theater before!" She kisses his cheek. "I…" she lowers her eyes, though. "I hadn't thought to get you anything."

"That's alright. I don't have many friends outside of my home. I mean, the dancers' world is competetive. Not friendly. So, don't worry about it. After all, I get tickets cheap." AJ winks. "I don't give gifts expecting something. I do it because I want to." He says, blushing at the cheek kiss.

"It's really nice of you," Kory tells AJ, tucking the tickets into the pocket of her jeans. "I forget to actually live, sometimes. Thank you for reminding me." She shakes her head. "It's been so busy. And so …distracted. It's been nuts."

"Yeah, but with the season coming to a close, now there'll be some free time again." AJ says with a grin. "Course, my weekend nights and some week nights will be taken up with work, but even I'll have lots of time when I'm not on stage or rehearsing." He nods. "Sounds like you're remembering to live, though, if you have a boyfriend now."

"Well, he's good at making sure I remember," Kory tells AJ with a blush. "We had a month where we both thought we thought wrong. About each other. And then he found me again, just when I'd been about to give up. It was like some romantic comedy movie." She shakes her head. "He called me, and thought I wasn't calling him back. And I wasn't. Because he had my number wrong so he was leaving voicemails for some other person."

There's no way for the dancer to resist a laugh at that. "Fortunately, Will already knew where I was living." He chuckles. "Since we kept meeting in this vicinity. We'd been seeing each other about and just decided to give it a shot." He pops his neck as he glances to the right. "And… he knows. So, it's ok."

Kory laughs along. "Well, he stopped coming to the Lair because he was afraid it'd look stalkery. Put a stop to that idea right quick." Not like some of the geekier customers aren't pretty stalkery already. "I live about five blocks from here myself, but other than here, we never bumped into each other except at the park." She nods, though, going a bit more serious as AJ mentions. "He knows, huh? Good for you. Rand…" she glances away. "…doesn't."

"Well, I don't even know what your… talent is." AJ shrugs. "At least some things can be kept quiet. I mean, with all my mistakes before I gained a little confidence, I had to be sure. And, he also recommended the book to me. So, I knew he at least felt it was feasible." He nods softly, glancing around and coughing. "Oh yeah. Store. No talkies."

"No, seriously, it's fine," Kory says. "We discuss theoretical stuff like this all the time," she says calmly. "Note the new section?" She gestures. There's a section now where comics are arranged not by publisher, not by title, but by the powers of the protagonists. "Lot of people come in looking to do research similar to yours. So how'd that paper work out, anyway? Your professor give you the C+ you said he would?"

"Ah, so things are a little more… talkative then." AJ says with a grin, nodding his approval. Though still keeping things on the downlow after all. He blinks, though. "The who wha? Professor? Ok, if that's code for something, I'm lost."

"Just talk about it like you're talking about research," Kory whispers to him. "Make it sound like you're working on it for school or something and nobody will bat an eye about the powers." So yes, on the downlow, and a little code, but safe to discuss if carefully approached. "And I guess you're right, that it's better to be able to hide it. But …my experiences say hiding it or not won't make a difference unless he's hella special."

"True. And actually, the professor gave me an A. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been allowed to get into the show." AJ says, as he finally gets it. After all, it works. Really. Sure. Something. "He is. At least, mine is." He runs a hand over his neck briefly. "Though, getting into the show itself has made all that I've done to practice a good thing. Some of the others are so sore when they get done they can hardly walk." he laughs.

"Glad yours works out so well, then," Kory muses. "I won't know for a little while if Randall is the kind of guy I can trust with this. We'll see. I hope so."

"Well, he would have found out eventually, so I was honest with him. And, like I said. He had already done a little reading." AJ says with a shrug before chuckling. "So it sounds like things are looking up, here, too." He says, nodding towards the shelf rearranging.

"Yeah. Lee's crazy parents set this place up to be a research mecca for this kind of thing," Kory tells AJ. "And to Lee's extreme displeasure, it worked out just like they hoped. I just hope they don't come back to take over. They're …a little dangerous is all. So — what other reading besides the kind you find here have y'all been doing?"

Entering from the cold outside, Tyson tries to shake himself warm unzipping his coat to make himself that much more comfortable. He looked at the rack of comics past the entrance and paused to look at the 9th Wonders a moment before noticing the familiar Kory, not in the reindeer outfit anymore…, speaking to some guy he didn't know, (Something about…) Tyson begins to think, but quickly shrugs off the thought and starts making his way towards them, waving when he thought Kory would recognize him, "Hello…"

"That book that you and Will recomended. I'm reading his copy right now. I still need to get my own. While… it is a little beyond my knowledge group, I can understand some of it." AJ says with a bright nod, but then Tyson comes in. He offers a quick nod and a grin before shutting up about things for the moment.

"Yeah, reading it with Google and Wikipedia open on your browser is helpful," Kory tells him. "That's how half my class in college got through it." She looks up, though, hearing a new voice. "Hey there. Happy just-after-Christmas-but-not-New-Years-quite-yet," she tells Tyson. "Ty, right?" She offers him a wave.

"Yeah, that's me. Happy-just-after-Christmas-but-not-quite-yet-New-Years, to you too!" Tyson heaves happy to be recognize and even looks back towards the other guy and waves slightly, "Sorry for interrupting… but yeah, at least you kind of know my name in case you have grudge?"

"To make fair fair. AJ." the dancer offers to Tyson before nodding to Kory. "Didn't think of that. Or keep wiki or dictionary.com open." He grins, wrinkling his nose. "Oh, and you would have laughed your ass off the other night. I almost hurt someone bumping into them, so I bought them a drink to make up for it, and he challenged me to a dance off. Right there on the street."

"You had a dance-off in the STREET?" Kory repeats, incredulously. "Oh, this, I have to hear. Did somebody you tube it?"

Tyson nods at AJ's response and then finds himself laughing out loud about mention of a dance fight. "Wow… that's kind of ridiculous… I bet it gets a lot less messy than an actual fight, so I guess I approve…"

"I… I haven't thought to check. And none of my friends have seen it, but it might be there." AJ laughs softly. "It was some dude named Mikhail. An artist. Dunno what brought it on, but…" He says, in response to Kory with a grin at Ty. "Well, I try to avoid fighting if I can. So, I don't mind it at all."

"Oh, too bad," Kory laughs. "That really sounds like it would've been hilarious." She shakes her head, letting the amusement fade down on their own. "So — you looking for anything, Ty?" she asks the new customer. "Me and AJ were just catching up."

Hearing who had done the fighting, Tyson chuckles again, "Yeah, … I guess Miki figured that out, too. He was auditioning at the Brawl Headquarters a while back and I didn't hurt him, but he definitely got beat." He recalled, "I mean, I had him over shoulders… Luckily, it was just an audition." Kory's attention however only serves to remind him why he came to the store in the first place. "Specifically? I guess I want to look up some comics with some sort of emphasis on the villain. Or at least where the protaganist is seen as a villain, so… Batman?"

"Oh, you know him?" AJ asks with a grin. "He was good. Definately worthy of a place in a show, but… he doesn't compare." Yep. He has a little bit of arrogance in that field. While he doesn't know what Brawl Headquarters is, or what's being talked about, he'll smile and nod.
"Batman is not generally seen as a villain," Kory corrects. "He's an urban legend at worst. But the Justice League membership lends him legitimacy. You'd want one of the Doom miniseries, maybe. Or the Punisher. Or one of the Vigilante series. Or Deathstroke the Terminator's miniseries. Or Deadpool…" She pauses, to see if Tyson's interest is piqued by any of her suggestions. "So auditioning? You're a dancer too, and had a dance off with this Mickey?"

"Yeah, well, hopefully you'll stick with your dancing and I'll stick to… whatever it is I'm doing now…" The statement seems to stir some mental concept within Tyson but he does not let himself dwell on the topic and then turns to listen to Kory's detailed Comic Lore. "Doom? Like the Dr?" He thinks about that a moment, "That'd be cool. The Punisher just seems to angry for me to want to read, but-…" Then Kory asks him if he's a dancer and he can't help but pause and actually consider that for a moment… he shudders, "Um… no, I /was/ a fighter with some legitimacy I guess, but I don't think I'm going to be doing that anymore. What I was doing with Mikhail was seeing if he would be worthwhile to put in the ring… I thought he'd get himself hurt. I think his art is a much better use of his talents."

"I'm staying right where I am. I like it. The only thing I wanna do is move from off-off-broadway to ON broadway." AJ chuckles softly, nodding. He's definately NOT a fighter, though he can run like nobody's business. Perhaps because people chasing him tend to get stuck.

"Oh, I see," Kory says, as Tyson clarifies. "Yeah. Doom. Oh, and these days if you want a hero seen as a villain, you could read Civil War. A lot of the guys are furious about it. Tony Stark and Reed Richards forgetting they're supposed to protect people." She beams at AJ. "I bet you'll make it. You'll be the next Bob Fosse."

"Broadway would be cool. I don't know if I'd ever do it, but good luck to you." Tyson affirms with a strong nod, listening more to Kory when she goes on, "Awesome, and Civil War? I think I heard stuff about that… isn't it where some of the heroes decide that they should be registered or something?"

"I've heard my brother talking about that. He doesn't like most of it." AJ says with a shrug. "Especially with what they seem to be doing to some of the minority characters. The ones he keeps trying to get me to read." He offers. "But then, as of now, the only comics I've read are the ones from the DP7 series that I bought a few weeks ago."

"Yeah, it's a big ideological divide," Kory explains to Tyson. "The government gets this cockamamie idea that knowing who all the powered people are, and being able to keep track of them at all times is going to stop disasters from happening. And half the heroes go along with this. The other half …not so much."

Tyson shudders, "Wouldn't that to happen where I'm living…" Then he actually considers that happening, apparently… "Well, at least some good can come of it?" He shrugs hopefully, "Not that I want you to go on spoiling the plot, but it definitely sounds like it'd be worth a read. I'm not even sure how the good old Dr would react to that kind of upheavel."

"I'm sure if people had powers, some of them wouldn't want it to be public knowledge. Some of them probably really appreciate their privacy. After all… who wants to be in the spotlight 24/7, ya know?" AJ asks. He ponders for a moment. "I mean, if I were one, I'd still want to have my life separate from the superhero thing."

"I don't know how it ended," Kory shakes her head, vigorously. "When I saw She-Hulk, free-wheeling party girl She-Hulk step into line on the pro-reg side, I stared. But when I saw Spidey side with Iron Man? I gave it up. And good thing, too." She looks at AJ and touches her nose. "Exactly. The idea that the government thinks they can treat people as resources." She looks a little spooked, though.

"I see how they would side with the government though… If you can do something to help, isn't that more important than just what you want? Sure, they should remember we are people, but at the same time, we should remember they are largely scrambling for ways to better protect us… right?" He looks between the two, kind of hoping to see some kind of shift, but he instead just lets the conversation go… "So, Doom… it'd probably be somewhere near the Fantastic Four?"

"I can see both sides, admittedly, but to force it… that's not right. To ask people to and ask those that are willing to to help, that's another story." AJ says. "And not all of them with powers would be heroic and WANT to help. Look at Voigt in the comics I was reading. He's hardly nice. Or that…" AJ cuts off. "I think the character's name was Mandy."

Kory frowns. "Except you can't count on the government to want to protect us, because they also want to use things and people as tools. They want to declare things dangerous and eliminate them. All those possibilities would need to be considered. So no — I wouldn't be behind a registration act. Never. Ever." She shudders, visibly, as AJ says "Mandy".

Tyson shrugs, "I guess it all comes down to what you believe to be the best path to the future you want to be a part of; because I'm starting to think that on a big enough scale, the boundaries between good and evil become blurred because everyone is really just trying to do the best for people like them… which is unfortunate because people usually end up feeling all alone in situations…" But no… Tyson isn't venting, he's just got the expression of someone trying to make a decision about something.

"However, despite feeling alone, people have to understand that they really aren't." Wait, when did the conversation jump from comic reading to what's more like what they're REALLY dealing with. "Some people just want to be who they are, and who they are doesn't have anything to do with their strange differences but with their everyday talents. Sure, they can do something neat. But that's not what makes them who they are. It's just icing on the cake that they already were."

"Did you not see Next?!" Kory squeaks, indignant. "Poor Cris. He could see the future, and if he took the wrong step, he'd spend the rest of his life strapped to a machine and his Eyes! Wired! Open! Just because it was a Spock sitch!" She puts her hand to her forehead. "That doesn't make it right, does it? To..to…" she slows down, seeming to realize what she's on about. "Do what Richards and STark wanted?"

"People /should/ understand that, but they don't." Tyson replies to AJ, "How alone do you feel in your house or apartment, knowing you have next door neighbors? They may not be your friends, but people are often just taught to not talk to strangers… so how do you get to be your friend if everyone is too worried about being turned against?" Cake gets his attention, but probably not for the reason intended, and he shifts his focus to the same one as everyone else in the moment. Frankly, I'd see it as the icing being on the inside with holes allowing the icing to come out be as elegant as one might want. It's all a design, our bodies, societies… someone just needs to get it right." Most of what Kory attests to goes over his head, but he tries to communicate anyway, "I guess… I'd want some group to know who has what ability and to monitor them; nothing too intrusive, but making sure nobody was living outside what is meant to be a polite style of living…" As Tyson spoke, he found his head was starting to hurt. "So no, I guess I haven't seen Next, to get that impression… I hope you can still sleep at night?"

"Nah. That's too much like 1984, dude. For someone to know too much about me and monitor me IF I was someone like that. That's just taking away basic human rights. It's taking away freedom. I'd never stand for it. I'd be yeah… no. Uh-uh." AJ shakes his head. "And if they did that, who would stop them from taking the ones they didn't like, and putting them in some kind of concentration camp and capping them when they didn't want them anymore? It reeks." AJ glances to Kory and bites his lip. Man, it started with gifts and turned to this. Scary.

Kory bites her lip as well, but nods in agreement with AJ. "Exactly. Even if it would protect us from somebody…I mean, look at the Hulk movies. Betty wouldn't need protecting from the Hulk if her dad wouldn't keep chasing Bruce! And who made the Sentinels? The freaking government! Why? Because some people hate and fear mutants, but most mutants just want to live their lives!"

There's Ian at the door. He's in his army parka and boots, and has his Jack Skellington watchcap on, bouncing on his toes eagerly. There are packages under his arm.

"We would just need to move beyond the fear that someone was going to try and use their power against us, to know that the good of society wasn't going to be hurt by letting people with abilities run around. On the other side, we'd have to help people with abilities understand how to better use their abilities for tasks of grand betterment, hoping they won't go on rampages…" Another winded speach from Tyson, he should be careful before he faints of oxygen deprivation. Decided to be silent for a moment, he turns to see a familiar face enter the store, "Yo, Ian…" Instead of bringing him into their conversation, however, Tyson just leaves his greeting at that. Maybe with the new arrival, a new conversation would be sparked.

"I'm just glad we don't have to deal with it. I don't like the idea at all." AJ says shaking his head. As Tyson says hi to Ian, he turns. "Hey you. Haven't seen you in a while." He offers, with a half-grin.
Kory is highly grateful for something else to talk about. And then she squeals like a five year old. "Iron Man!" She cries. "Ian!" And then she's weaving her way around Tyson and AJ to greet Ian with an enthusiastic hug.

Ian wraps Kory in an embrace, once he's set aside the goodies. At least one of which looks to be a tin of cookies. "Kory," he says, squeezing and stepping back, before grinning at the others. "Tyson," he says, after a moment's thought. "Happy Hogswatch, kids."

Tyson nods, "Right, I don't want to have to make that decision in real life." He notes Kory's excitement towards seeing Ian and smirks at that as well, "But it seems love really will keep us together. Maybe the right people just have to get together and have a mutant society? In the comic books…"

"After all, nothing like that would happen in life." AJ says firmly, following it with a cough. He rubs his nose slightly, making sure to not show his own emotions on things. After all… "Kids? Well, I guess to some I would be."

"In the comic books, and in books, it's a ghetto when that happens," Kory says. "Except at Xavier's, and that's because he's rich. In Wild Cards, it's Jokertown." She has decided she's done with the conversation. "I got your present behind the counter, Ian. C'mon."
He can't help himself. Ian waggles his brows at the other men. Look at me. Look at how lucky I am. He follows, putting his offerings on the counter. "I've a present for you. And…cookies as well," he announces, as if he expected a drum roll.

Tyson starts to think… there could be a place… "Thank goodness for Kory and her extensive knowledge. Frankly, I think I'd go crazy trying to keep all of it in." He shrugs at AJ and looks back over to where Ian and Kory were approaching. "To repeat the tradition, Happy After-Christmas-But-Not-Quite-New-Years!"

"Or perhaps Happy Kory-Gift-Mas-Day since everybody's bringing Kory gifts." AJ nods solemnly with a grin. "Though, I guess half of my gift to her is for her someone else now." He laughs softly, pondering. "But, I think I AM going to have to search youtube to see if that danceoff got put up there."

Randall always does pick the most interesting times to drop by. "What's that? I'm getting free stuff?" he calls out, just before walking around a display and into view. "I'm flattered, really." A silent 'hi' is added for Kory's benefit once he spots where she is.

"Hi," Kory lights up like a holiday appropriate display when Randall steps around the display and makes himself video. "Yeah, AJ surprised me with tickets to his show. Anytime in January we wanna go. Isn't that sweet of him?" She ducks behind the counter, though, and comes up with a large envelope shaped rectangle of wrapping paper. Snoopy skating with Woodstock flying behind him. The beagle has on a green toque, and is dragging a Christmas tree behind him. "Here you go, Ian."

"These are black cocoa cookies with peppermint filling," Ian explains, opening the tin. He hands her the package, which smells very distinctively of LUSH. And then he's tearing off the paper with all the fervor of a starving jackal, only to pause, and stare. He lifts up an image from the wreckage of the paper - it's an image very distinctive superhero, if you can call a well-meaning demon with a right hand of stone a superhero. Ian peers at it, look at Kory, back at it. And is clearly speechless.

Tyson looks a little out of sorts at the mention of giving Kory gifts, but soon realizes it to be a joke. "Well, I guess I'm just in time to give the gift of a child's laughter." He subsequently laughs in a quaint manner sounding quite entertained with himself for the duration before catching there was yet another person wandering the stacks coming out into the open. "Still, I'd pay to see you and Miki in a dance off. He seemed like he'd have good footwork."

"If I had access, I'd try to pull it up and see if I could locate it. I'm SURE someone got it. After all, there were a few cameras and phones out while we were steppin." AJ grins. "He does. Like I told him, he could easily go professional. It's just… I've been doing it longer. That's what I do for a living, ya know?" Glancing to the person that mentioned presents for him, AJ ahs to himself. That must be the Kory-boyfriend.

Randall arches a brow. "That /is/ nice. What sort of show is it?" he asks of AJ, walking over and offering a handshake. "I picked up 'dancing' but there's a lot of different types of that going around, especially the past couple years." Who knew that reality TV would ever serve an actual useful purpose?

Kory takes a moment to untin the cookies, because they sound scrumptious. "Oh, don't worry, Tyson, it's not like a requirement to shop here or anything." Though she does take a deep breath of her fragrant LUSH package. "Mmmm. I sense a long hot bath in my future." She plucks free a cookie and has a bite before catching Ian's wide-eyed expression. "Breathe, hon," she tells him. "Somebody on ebay fell on hard times and was selling his. I knew you'd like it and I didn't break the bank to get it for you, okay?" She takes another bite of the cookie, letting AJ answer the question.

"All I got you was bath bombs," Ian says, in a sepulchral voice, eyes huge. "Man," he says, holding up the painting to admire it. "This is an original? I shoulda brought my first born kid." He glances over at the others, lest he be totally rude.

"The only styles of dancing I know are Breakdancing, Tango, Waltz, and Capoeira, but I think that last one is more fighting…" Tyson thinks, before asking, "What style of dancing do you like best? Because after watching 'So you think you can dance' and that one on MTV, I figure I might want to see your show." When Kory responds to his laughter, he smirks, "And don't worry, I just don't usually get into buying people stuff for Christmas. It's like I'm the present… or cheap…"

Turning to Randall, AJ grins. "It's a new show. Local person wrote it. There's singing and dancing along with the acting. Mostly modern dance mixed in with the storyline." He offers with a grin before turning back to Tyson. "Capoeira does look like fun. I'm thinking of picking it up, just to have some kind of training." He says witha soft nod. "I prefer modern dance. Not really a fan of ballet or anything classic. I like doing new things that you don't see every day. Interpretive is alright, but everyone interprets it differently." He says with a slight stretch. "But, I think I need to run, so I can go see how my boyfriend is doing before rehearsal tonight." He says with a wrinkled nose. "I'll see y'all later."

"Thanks, AJ, and thanks for swinging by. We'll see you sometime in January. I can't wait!" She has another cookie, waving as he heads for the door. "Or broke," she tells Tyson. "If I didn't work three jobs, I wouldn't be this generous either, probably." She reaches for another cookie, then stops, with a visible effort.

"So it's kind of like interpreting one of those paintings with three splashes of paint thrown through an operating fan blade?" Randall nods to AJ - and, a man of his times, doesn't bat an eye at the mention of his alternative lifestyle. "Good luck, see you at the show, I guess!" With that matter settled, he wanders over to get a better look at Ian's new painting.

Ian urges, helpfully, "Eat them, they're good, and I don't need any more." Though he's still mostly caught in goggling at his new picture. He looks up at the mention of the boyfriend, and visibly bites back a question.

"Either way, it should be an interesting evening. I forgot to ask what time, but I'm sure the tickets have that." She offers Randall a cookie, waggling the tasty treat in his general direction. She won't devour the whole tin alone. No.

"Much like the rest of life…" Tyson begins, before silencing himself on any more philosophical talk. "But maybe they'll host a Capoiera seminar at the HQ someday… if they do, I'll let you know." He nods, not saying anything about having a boyfriend as the guy starts his exit. Kory's comment about three jobs gets to Tyson as he currently hasn't been to his job in over three weeks. "Well… at least you're kept busy."

"Later." AJ calls out, chuckling. "I dunno what that is, but sure. I'd love to know about it. Maybe I should just get some self-defense training from my other half." He mutters as he heads to the door.
Randall gets his eyeful and heads over to Kory (it's about time!), reaching for the proffered cookie. "What type are these?" he asks, just before taking a bite. "It was worse before the new hire," he adds, glancing over at Tyson, "I swear she needed a Time Turner to go along with the pep pills."

"How do you do it?" Ian wonders, glancing at them expectantly, even as he gives AJ an absent wave. Hey, cute, but he doesn't know the guy. "I can barely deal with being a full time student."

"Black cocoa and peppermint," Kory tells Randall, though it should be obvious now as he's taken a bite. "Pft. Pep pills. I have one guarana acai drink at breakfast. It isn't really that bad." Though her bright-eyed expression indicates she's delighted that Randall cares that much. "I've been doing it my whole life, Iron Man," Kory explains. "I was born insomniac. So it's not even a real big deal to me now."

"New hire?" Tyson's attention is attracted, as he thinks he knows who it is, "You talking about KeLyssa? I bet having her around is fun and helpful… for the multitude of hours you're bound to be up for." Then he hears Ian's admition and finds himself curious about the guy he barely knew, "So, you're a student? What are you studying?"

Randall peers at the half-cookie, finishing it off with a shrug. "Interesting— I would've expected 'black cocoa' to have more of a coffee-type taste to it. And yeah, it's letting her actually breathe some… I should probably pick her up something myself, thank her properly." Because he benefits as well (not that way, shush) from the arrangement, after all.

"That's the one," Kory confirms to Tyson. "Nah, black cocoa is just like 70% cacao or more, so it's a more intense chocolate taste, but not as sweet. Which is fine, because the peppermint is plenty sweet." She wrinkles her nose. "She worked the early shift this morning. I should ask her how she's doing. She was a little nervous the other night," Kory recalls, nudging Randall's shoulder with her own.

"Cool, I like her." Tyson adds, shortly; looking at the cookies, "Do you mind if I try one… I'm just kind of curious what 70% cacao tastes like." He shrugs, not caring if he was rejected.

"Biology," Ian has yielded to the cookie temptation, and swallows his mouthful quickly. "Who's Kelyssa?"

"By all means," Kory tells Tyson. A minute on the lips, forever on the hips. She tucks away the fragrant LUSH package, and walks over to Randall, just to keep her away from the cookies a moment longer. "KeLyssa's my new clerk. She helps Tito and me not have to be here twelve hours at a time or longer, so I actually have time for a life."
Randall slips an arm briefly around Kory's waist, just long enough to avoid drawing too many rolled eyes. "Was it just the two of you working shifts here before that? Two shifts a day, seven days a week— that really is a lot for just two people to cover. I get how you've been keeping up, but what's Tito been doing?"

Tyson reaches and munches a cookie and finds it almost too much for him, "Wow, that's good." He says mid-munch before swallowing the remains. "She's an acquaintance of mine…" The extent of which remains kept secret, "Biology sounds interesting though. Maybe he'll be able to discover why Kory can stand to be up and running like the energizer bunny." He chuckles softly.

"Me, and Tito," Kory answers Randall, with a grin at Tyson. "And Lee, occasionally, sitting in when one of us had other things to do." She winces comically as some of the geeks who have filtered into the back groan at the very mention of Lee's name. "Worse to worst, we'd just open later or close earlier."

There's an odd sounding chime from Ian's pocket - he yanks out a pocketwatch that looks like it should belong to Wyatt Earp, checks the time by opening the case, and winces. 'I gotta be going," he says, sounding rather grumpy. "Promised to meet a frriend at the airport."

"Good luck," Randall calls out to Ian, "the traffic's been a real mess lately. Can't imagine the airport'll be any better." Picking out a second cookie, he peers at Tyson and shrugs. "I don't know, it might be something to do with large-scale neural structure… looking at it at a biological level might be missing the forest for the trees."

"Catch you later, Ian." Tyson waves before the guy gets goin. "I don't know him, but at least people know when the shop is hopping." This is before Randall's expression flies over his head, "You may be right, but I think I had better to leave those questions for people doing actual research."

"Actually," quips Kory, "I'm from earth 555, and nobody there needs to sleep. I was shooting for 616 so I could try to join the X-Men, but I missed."

Ian dares give Kory a kiss on the cheek by way of farewell, waves at the rest, and heads out. He pauses at the door. "Kory, keep this for me for now, please? I dont' want to take it until I can head straight home."

Randall pantomimes swatting Ian upside the back of his head. "Lucky for you I'm sober," he teases. "So which version of Earth are we on now, or have we worked that out yet?"

Tyson just stares at Kory for a moment as she explains herself, "Well… it takes all kinds, right? At least we don't have people willingly jumping into our universe, as far as I know…" He eyeshifts between the two near him and elsewhere for other patrons still in the store; wondering what Ian was leaving behind…

Kory nods, "Of course. I'll tuck it away in bubble wrap in the back so you can get it home safe. And as long as Hellboy here is here, I know you'll not be such a freaking stranger." Her tone is affectionate and she blows him a kiss as he took off too quick to return the kiss. "You got me. Nobody seems to know," she tells him, affecting wide-eyed innocence.

Randall eyes Tyson darkly. "Not that I /know/ of. Why, have you heard something?" He's probably kidding, but for the moment at least, he's pulling off a good poker face about it.

Kory looks between her boyfriend and her customer, but decides to remain silent. Randall might be joking. Then again, he might not, so she has another cookie. And then catches herself having bitten it. She gives an exasperated little squeak and tucks the cookie tin in the back with Ian's painting.

"I couldn't tell you…" Tyson answers slightly, taking a step back, "I mean, I could… but then someone might get shipped off to an interdimensional prison…" Now, Tyson is joking and he subsequently starts laughing, hoping Randall was as well.

Randall shakes his head, leaning his arms across the nearest open stretch of counter and burying his face in them. "Stygian Penal Colony, Hades Universe. Not a fun place, unless you really like ultimate fighting."

"Not a word, Tyson!" Kory objects. "While I'm sure chasing Randall across the multiverse would make a great comic book story, it is way more strenous than I plan to spend the better part of 2009."

"Hey… don't blame the things that are provoked by things I say on me… I'm only the messenger, with a message that apparently gets people abducted." Tyson really should stop talking, "Since you've been so kind, though… I'll keep that portal closed for now… Superior combat is not on my agenda, either."

Kory chuckles; this was exactly what she needed to relax after the tense conversation they were having earlier. "Oh, good. I bet that young lady you were with wouldn't want to have to chase you across the multiverse either." The one who seems to make it hail.

"Just as well… my version of combat mostly involves the phrase 'glass jaw'." Yeah, Randall still remembers pulling off something like what Ian did earlier, and getting a very real punch in the nose for his trouble. "And what's this about a young lady? Is everyone around here pairing up this month, or what?" (The bard in the campaign over in the corner overhears this, and calls out, "I wish!")

At the mention of Ophelia chasing him, Tyson quiets immediately, picturing her throwing a tantrum just to find him. "Oh god, I don't need that… She'd track me down, just to beat for being captured." He alludes, turning to Randall as an escape from being reminded of that particular female issue, only to be dragged back in, "No, there's no pairing up." Tyson looks away with some modesty, "I mean… I think if I fell in love with her I'd be too worried about her…" If…

"It …does tend to work that way, yeah," Kory confirms to Tyson's worried confession. "But it comes with the territory. And according to song and story, it's usually worth those worries." She keeps her eyes demurely averted, though. That isn't some sort of confession. No, no, nothing like that; please don't get scared and leave a Randall-shaped-hole in the front window of The Secret Lair.

Fortunately, there's no danger of that today. First of all, Randall is way over here, there's like three or four shelves between him and that window. Second, either he's not paying attention, or… No, he definitely is. "Never an easy thing, that— but not finding it at some point in your life is a lot worse. Most people aren't wired to be hermits, at least not all the time."

"It …does tend to work that way, yeah," Kory confirms to Tyson's worried confession. "But it comes with the territory. And according to song and story, it's usually worth those worries." She keeps her eyes demurely averted, though. That isn't some sort of confession. No, no, nothing like that; please don't get scared and leave a Randall-shaped-hole in the front window of The Secret Lair.

Tyson considers both speeches and decides he should really go find that girl. Not that he loved her… or maybe he did… but they were friends if nothing else at this point… "Well, I think I'll go and see where I'm standing in that territory… See you later, Kory… and… you, too, Sir?" He realizes he does not actually know the guy he had been chatting it up with.

"Good luck," Kory calls to Tyson as he heads out. She holds a hand up in farewell. "You two make a cute couple…and friends is always better than not-friends."

"Randall," the other guy belatedly introduces himself, grinning at the situation in general. "And good luck with working it out, one way or another."

"Right on, Randall; call me, Ty." He replies, exiting the comic shop with a wave to go find Ophelia to make sure she wasn't the one actually in need of saving from multidimensional capture…

Kory comes around front of the counter, shrugging into her jacket. "Tito will be coming along to close tonight, since I'll likely be awake early on New Year's day, he's closing every night this week," she informs Randall. "Wanna polish off those leftovers, or do we need some variety?" She waves to the gamer group. They grumble and sort of halfheartedly wave back at her.

Randall scratches his head. "I could go for some variety, yeah," he replies, nodding to Kory. "Maybe go out and indulge ourselves with a good sit-down place?"

Tito obligingly shows up as if Kory had summoned him. Kory tosses him the keys, and kisses his cheek. She also passes him a small box. "And belated Merry Christmas." Tito smirks at her, then blushes as he looks down at the little gift. She winds her scarf around her neck and takes Randall's elbow.

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