2008-02-04: Strings Of Friendship

Starring:

Gene_icon.gif Mikhail_icon.gif

Summary: Dinner plans are cut short when construction workers create a tense mood, but Gene also learns of Mikhail's 'gift' through this situation.

Date It Happened: February 4, 2008

Strings of Friendship


Oldcastle Pub and Restaurant

Holidays were hectic, but there were spaces in between those times to breathe and relax for a while. Of course with college starting up again for a new semester, everything reset to 'busy' mode. Mikhail never liked how that happened, but he should have gotten use to it a long time ago.

He hasn't really been out and about lately. Between visiting his parents and a couple of extended family members and doing newly assigned art projects, there has been no time to catch up with friends. That needs to change immediately. Using the phone he uses occasionally, he calls up…Gene. Random meet-up, but why not? Mikhail waits as the ring tone drones on. "Come on, pick up…"

Seated at a Pinehearst desk, Gene Kensington pulls out his phone. There's a name he hasn't seen for awhile. "Mikhail?" Gene asks as he puts the phone to his ear. "Hello?" he inquires, standing up to move toward a less populated part of the office.

"Yo," Mikhail replies in his usual deadpan manner. He leans back in his seat after turning down the music playing on his computer. Eyes stare up at the wall of his room, squinting at it as if something was wrong with the way it was plastered. "I know this sounds weird and random at the same time, but are you free for dinner or something?" Pause. "Hanging out. Type. Thing." Nice recovery.

There's a brief pause. Gene looks at the phone with uncertainty. The 'sounds weird and random' was the thing that made it sound weird and random. Sadly, Gene will likley make the same mistake… The wonder that is social awkwardness. "Yeah, I suppose so. I get off work in a couple of hours," he answers, still walking down the hall. "Where you at?"

Mikhail takes another look around his room. He should really try cleaning one of these days. "I'm still at the apartment, but…there's this pub place I passed once. The Oldcastle Pub? I wanted to see what it was like inside there. Atmosphere and all." He shoulders the phone as he gets up to pick up a few things. "I don't think it's that far down, but yeah," the artist half-shrugs. "Sound like a plan?"

"Works for me… I'll see you there in a couple of hours," Gene announces. "Should I bring anything or something. I have your gift, but it isn't anything big."

A jacket is tossed back onto the bed. "Sure, that's cool," Mikhail says. Eyebrows lift at the word 'gift,' but he continues. "Nah, that's fine. I see you in a while, then."

"Works for me. See you then!" Click.

…TWO AND A HALF HOURS LATER…

Making his way into the Irish Pub, Gene looks around with a somewhat wary look. Most of the people are here for food and drink, but the well dressed Gene isn't sure what he's gunna have. At least he's here around the time he said he would be though. As usual, New York traffic was hell. Taking his peacoat off, Gene sits himself at the bar, more for a quick seat than hopes of getting himself a drink.

Good. One of them is here. But where is the other?

Apparently Mikhail lost track of time after the distractions of cleaning, internet, and finally getting ready for the hangout. Yes, he had to pick through his good clothes to see what would be 'normal' enough for a pub. No, he did not spend over an hour in doing so.

So enters the artist Mikhail, actually…normal-looking for once. His clothing still looks neat, but it's not flamboyant. The bleached hair dressed with little shiny hair clips is about the only thing that stands out. He weaves through the crowded pub, unsure of where to sit before spotting Gene at the bar. Eyes light up. "Genie," he says softly, failing at yelling and hopping on over. "Sorry about that. I should've been here sooner," Miki shrugs with a lopsided grin.

"It's alright, you know me, I don't mind a little quiet time here and there," the dark haired hacker admits with a faint smile. Reaching into his jacket, he pulls out a simple objected wrapped in a black plastic bag. It seems to be two feet by a two feet wide and couple inches thick. Should Mikhail unwrap it, he will find an electronic tablet. "I remembered something about you drawing a bit, so I got this thing for you. You can draw on it using a touch screen… And it'll show up on it. There are also a 156 colors and you can connect it to your computer. There are a few stylises that I ma-brought. Brought." Sure enough, there are three or four of the plastic sticks to simulate various mediums, pencil, brush, oil stick, and even spray can… Which is used by pulling back to the desired length and pushing a button, sending the 'paint' wirelessly through the air and hitting the canvus.

"It'll come out in a couple of years," Gene explains. "I just got one of the prototypes from having a few friends at Lancaster Electronics."

Dude. Mikhail's eyes seem to pop open once he gets the plastic wrapping off of the gift, continually staring at it as he gingerly turns and flips it around in his hands. He glances from the tablet to Gene, and back again, still at a lost for words. Wait, he's coming up with something. Hold on. "…Dang," he breathes, still keeping his grip on the present to make sure it doesn't fall. "Gene, this is….just…awesome." He forgets about the faulty start of the 'brought' statement, looking back up at his friend with a smile. Giddy? About a nifty prototype that can be used for art stuff on the computer? Digital mediums. Yes, please. "Thanks. I'll make sure it's put to good use."

"Cool" is all Gene really has time to offer. While he doesn't really get to do much in the way of inventing super cars or robots like he used to (new job doesn't give him a super lab after all), he still has the urge to create like any good engineering genius should. "Well, as long it works. If you have any problems with it, let me know and I'll try and get it fixed."

Meanwhile the bartender eyes the newest arrival, a construction worker who makes his way toward the bar. Nervously, he goes to take the guy's order… But not before glancing toward the opposite side of the bar to see another construction worker, who's already had three or four beers in him.

The artist bobs his head up and down almost like a little kid who promises to not wreck his super cool and expensive action figure within a week's time. "That will be done when the time comes," Mikhail answers, hoping that it won't. He's definitely going to stay up all night trying out this baby.

He re-wraps the present with the bag, folding over the edges before placing it between a sketchpad and whatever else he brought along with him in that messenger bag of his. Or, he tries to put it in there. It doesn't fit all the way. His brow furrows. "Hm. Guess I'll have to hold it for now." It's like a new security blanket, but not.

As for the construction workers and the general populace? Mikhail hasn't paid much attention to his surroundings. And he was planning to sketch a few people, too.

"So, I guess I'll have to get something to eat… Or else it won't be dinner, right?" Gene replies with a nervous laugh. He lifts a simple hand trying to summon over the bartender to take his order.

The bartender doesn't come over, merely wavering Gene off as the 'tender tries to speak to the recent arrival. Bad blood seems to be the order of the day, shouts involving 'spineless bastard' and someone beating up with someone's friend being loud enough for all to hear. The man that's had a few too many just tightens his grasp enough that his hand pales around the beer bottle in his hand.

Gene glances about, a confused look in his eyes. Clearly barroom drama is not something he's experienced first hand.

The response to Gene's dinner question also gets put on hold right when the shouting begins. The artist blinks and flinches a little, blue-gray eyes darting to look between the two men who are taking center stage. Talk about awkward. More awkward, anyway. Of all the times to start something, it has to be on a night in which Mikhail just wants to kick back from stuff. Strange how it happens this way.

"Crap," Mikhail mutters, placing the present on the counter top. His hands are still holding onto it just in case. Watching is all he can do at the moment.

The bartender just tries to talk down the first guy, but it would seem like that angry man wishes to everything BUT to make peace and let it go. "I've had enough of this man's bitchin'," the drunken man offers before he gets up. He still holds the mostly empty bottle in his hand, though he changes the hold on it in a way that it plans to use it as a club. He is soon followed by a second man, who just cracks his knuckles. The other people at the bar stare at the men, business men and women that watch the show unfold in a mix of horror and fascination. It would appear that the 'Bystander Effect' is still an important part of human nature.

Gene turns around and grits his teeth. "We have to do something or there is gunna be trouble." Is Gene actually considering getting into this? It would seem that the desire to do the right thing has grown over the months… Though the timing is far from perfect as well.

So much for peace-keeping. "Yeah, I know," Mikhail replies in a hushed tone, still observing the men. One 'armed,' one going to use bare fists. No, not good at all. He's never seen many real fights up close, and the only time he got punched out by a stranger was back when Fenton and Eric were there. That wasn't his fault.

Intervention seems to be the best way to go about things, but with guys who are use to doing hard labor and whatever else, there is really no chance to go between them.

Mikhail sighs. "Here, Gene, hold this for a moment," the artist murmurs, hefting the tablet back off of the counter and over into his friend's grasp. He hasn't been doing anything of late, but it's worth a shot. His right hand rises a few inches, fingers curling around air as if he's grabbing onto something. Most likely it's aimed at the guy with the bottle. Bottle = weapon = disadvantage and easier to cut people up with if smashed. And the punch isn't as deadly? Well, if these guys are built Ford-tough, they should be fine.

There is a long pause as Gene discovers what is going on. He is holding onto the tablet as requested, but the odder thing is the hand of his friend going up. He follows Mikhail's gaze, blinking for a moment. "What the… Mike?!" he whispers in shock.

At this time, the man who was being attacked already sees what is going on. Right before the fight appears to be ready to escalate and the man with the bottle is about to freak out, a police man from the street happens to walk by. He swiftly moves inside the pub and all go to their seats… Unless the man with the bottle is still in Mik's hold.

"Just a few more seconds," the artist whispers, not anticipating the arrival of a cop so soon. Anti-climatic? Well, it's better than an explosion of insanity sometimes. He does relax his hand after a long pause, fingers flexing out the cramps. The mundane explanation of this feat would be blamed on the drunkenness.

Breathing a quiet sigh, Mikhail leans against the counter. "Man, it's been a while," he shakes his head. "I need more practice." Eyes flick back up at Gene after the thought. Oh yeah. He just used his 'gift' in front of a friend. "…Um."

"…I dunno, I thought you used it rather well," Gene offers in a causal tone before he catches himself. Suddenly, a hand lurches out as Gene grabs Mikhail's shirt and prepares to drag out. "We need to go now," the young man offers, trying to get Mikhail out of the restaurant as quickly as he can.

He was going to tell certain people about his stuff. Really. But he hasn't been able to flag down anyone else of late. "Well, I- ack!" The explanation will have to wait now that he's being dragged out of the pub, giving a quick glance over his shoulder in slight alarm. "Whoa, whoa, hey, Gene, ahh!" Thankfully the noise level mixes with his yelping. Stumbling behind soon matches the stride and pace Gene is at, Mikhail gives the guy a quizzical look. "What's the rush?"

"We need to chat, but not until we get into the car." Gene doesn't look back, merely glancing around, making sure that no one has seen. After all, there are SO many people that he wouldn't want Mikhail's power to be observed by. Pinehearst, the Company, Sylar, guy with bottle… The list is long and involves people capable of hurting the pair really bad (or at least hitting them with a bottle).

Gene doesn't say another word until they get to his car…. Which looks exactly like Bumblebee from the Transformers movie (the old classic muscle car verison, not the hippie trendy one). He uses his key chain to unlock it before he opens up his door. "Come on," he offers, waiting until Mikhail gets in before Gene turns on the car. Mikhail might notice that there is a touch screen, GPS tracker and a lot more toys than most cars would have… But this is Gene's baby.

Mikhail doesn't get enough time to admire the Bumblebee car, practically getting shoved inside as Gene goes around to the other side. "Ow," the artist flinches, seating himself properly and placing everything else on top of his lap. He is distracted again, though, by the nice shiny technological devices and touch screens. "Wow. You really have time on your hands," he comments.

"I hear that a lot… Now, does Elena know about your gift? Did she give you the long rant about using powers, people that cut your heads open for your powers, and why I'm awesome?" the young inventor inquires with a very intense look on his face. It seems like he's all too serious about the subject matter.

He nods, looking at Gene out of the corner of his eye. "Um…y-yeah. She does. I had…to keep this guy from shooting at her when I went to visit during that isolation period." He's not exactly proud of that moment, but it was a start. "She and Peter did the talking on that. I knew that it can be used for anything, but I don't think I'll be going crazy with it…" Mikhail wrinkles his nose, giving Gene another glance. "And no, she said nothing about you being awesome," he adds.

"Oh."

A short pause as Gene knows there isn't much more for him to share.

"I'm awesome."

Gene just coughs as he rubs the back of his next in mild chagrin.

Silence.

Mikhail stares, but he just gives Gene a simple nod of acknowledgment. He'll believe that.

More silence follows. Finally, Gene takes a deep breath and hands Mikhail back his gift. "Well… Um, I guess here is where we talk about normal things… You like cheese?"

"Oh. Okay." Setting the tablet on top of the bag, Mikhail looks ahead. He gives a small shrug. "…Certain ones. Cheddar. Mozzarella."

"Cheddar's good when it's sharp." Gene folds his arms, thinking about this far longer than they should. "Is there dull cheddar? I mean, you'd think there would HAVE to be or they wouldn't sell the other kind."

Mikhail tilts his head to the side. "Well…there's a mild cheddar," he says with a slight twist at the corner of his mouth. "It depends on people's tastes." A finger is held up. "But. That's only if you eat it by itself, though."

"Mild cheddar? That should be DULL Cheddar. It's confusing if you have mild and sharp. It's two different kinds of adjectives," Gene points out as he leans back in his chair a bit. "So um… No mentioning of my awesome at all. Well, I guess she didn't want to share my awesome to protect me, I guess it's okay then."

"Yeah." It's about all he can say in response to that, really. Mikhail goes back to staring ahead, blinking every so often. "…Well, it's a good thing she did that. She did it for me," he says quietly. A thoughtful expression crosses his features. "But…I am curious."

"I'm real smart." Pause. "That's it. I made your gift from scratch," Gene announces as he puts his hands behind his head. He used to be really proud every time he announced his ability, but when you have people that move really fast, control other people's actions, or like Peter, just take everyone's abilities… It really loses a bit of the umph it once had.

Mikhail is quiet, but he seems to appreciate the talent. He looks back down at the tablet, touching surface of it through the plastic bag. "Wow. It's really nice, having the smarts. I had to struggle with everything in school. Save for, you know, art," he says with a small smile.

The Geek God gives a weak smile, tinted by an unspoken sadness. "It's got it's drawbacks, like most things in life." Letting his hands drop to rest on the wheel for a few seconds, he glances over to Mikhail. "So, how are things with you other than having your nift' gift? School been busy?"

Blue gray eyes flicker at the young man's expression, but he doesn't go asking about it. Sometimes it's better left unsaid. Lips putter briefly as he gives a small sigh, smirking. "School decided to be mean by giving us some crazy deadlines for projects, and there has been a set date for the art gallery thing. The profs want everything done before then so they can point out the mistakes." Perfection. "It's annoying," Mikhail adds with a weak chuckle.

Deciding to leave the lot, Gene merely turns on his car, figuring he might as well drive Mikhail back to school. "Sounds like it… Though if it's art, I thought mistakes were part of it. You know, human nature and all that jazz. I dunno, never considered myself an artist or anything."

"It is, it isn't. No one can make up their mind about it," Mikhail says, shaking his head again. He leans back as the engine turns on, going silent as soon as the car starts moving.

It's going to be a quiet ride back, but…that's how it is.

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