1965-02-24 - Hanging At Pops
Summary: Kai and Kevin Cole get to know one eanother.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
kevin-cole kai 


Kai sits in one of the waiting chairs, proving he can behave like a civilized human being instead of glomming onto the barber chair while people are trying to get their hair cut. He's cadged himself a chair in the corner, remote from the few customers who come in. Perhaps he's laying low given the current tide of political events, even if he is a familiar face around here. He's so white he practically glows. He's got his sketchbook out, and he's sketching Pop from the picture hanging on the wall.


For the last half hour or so, Kevin had been hanging out across the street on top of a building where he could watch the door to Pop's. The coming and going of people - 'normal' people - let him know it was just a fluke that the three 'team' mates were there by themselves when he happened by. It does seem to be a genuine barber shop. Curiosity satisfied, and wariness abated, he returns to street level and steps inside, heading over to take a seat next to Kai once he spots him.


Such a cat. Kai looks up and grins as he sees Kevin. "Hello there," he says, greeting the man like he's an old friend. "I haven't seen T'Challa, but he's bound to come by at some point. I mean, like, his hair grows, right?" He closes the sketchbook and puts it in his satchel. "How's it going?"


"I'm not looking for him." Kevin replies, his tone conversation but low. "I was curious about the shop and you three." He nods toward the ones getting their hair cut or waiting for it. "I see it's a real barber shop so that answers that. It doesn't answer the rest though."


Kai's voice is low, too, so as not to disturb the somber tone in the place. He sits up a bit and says, "Oh! What else do you want to know?" Fortunately, Kevin's found the member of the team who gives zero damns about his own secrecy. Not when Kevin seems to be a standup guy. "I can't speak for the others, but if you've got questions, ask away."


"Not to many specific questions yet. Just a general curiosity to learn more at the moment. Why don't you just tell me what you think is important to know? Or interesting?" Kevin suggests. The choice of details will also tell him something about Kai.


Kai considers, chewing his lower lip as he thinks. "Well," he says, "we work in the shadows. People don't know who we are, for the most part. We do things like break up gangs, and if some super threat came our way, we'd deal with it. Harlem and Hell's Kitchen get a lot of flack from gangs, you know?" He smiles crookedly and adds, "And in my free time I make sure some of the more housebound residents get what they need, food and medicine and stuff. People should respect and help their elders."


"That gang problem has been getting worse over the years." Kevin agrees. "It was one thing when it was mostly the Italians. They didn't want to rile up the police - the ones not on their payroll - and mostly took take of their own problems. But then others moved in, like the Irish and now they're in competition. Makes it easy for civilians to get caught in the crossfire."


Kai nods quickly. "Exactly, and innocent people get caught in the crossfire. When you have the ability to help and you don't, you're practically abetting, dig me, cat? You can either turn a blind eye or do something. We decided to do something." He glances at the few people getting haircuts. "Their lives are so fleeting. They should be as happy as possible."


Kevin turns to look at Kai when he's called 'cat' but looks back at the customers without saying anything. "Fleeting? Should I assume you live longer than a normal human?" he asks. "Just what is it you can do, besides being bullet proof?"


Kai nods as he says, "Yeah. I've been around awhile, and I'm still really young for my kind." He half-smiles, and there's a touch of sadness in his eyes. So many lives that just come and go. "I'm strong," he says, "and tough, and quick, more than most humans." He curls a lock of hair around his finger, giving it a tug. "I can summon darkness, see in the dark, glow like moonlight." He laughs a little. "It's not all that impressive. I can create illusions and manipulate water. I've got a pair of knives I fight with, but I don't like to kill if I can avoid it." His fingertips stray to the pendant he wears. "So far, for the team, I've done recon and lockpicking."


Kevin idly nods as he takes mental notes of Kai's recitation of abilities. "Impressive enough." he says. "Useful for spying if that happens to be your interest. What about Reno? He mentioned it himself but maybe you can go into a little more detail. And how many of you are there?"


Kai says "Oh yeah, I'm definitely espionage and recon. I can handle myself in a fight, but we need recon." He rubs the back of his neck. "I don't want to tell Reno's secrets too much, but he works recon with me. We make a good team. He scopes out the location, I break in." He then counts on his fingers. "Danny, Reno, Robbie, me, T'Challa. There might be more. I'm kind of new."


"So T'Challa actually works with you." Kevin muses, more to himself than to Kai. That was one of the things he was fishing for without wanting to hint that T'Challa /could/ work with them. Difficult to tell who know what to what degree.


Kai nods, hair bobbing. "He's impressive," Kai says. "He went with us to raid a building that was housing the leader of a gang that was doing some damage. He's all precion and grace." The admiration on his face isn't hard to pick up. "I hope he works with us all the time."


"He is." Kevin agrees without hesitation. "He is the favored of Bast. But he is also king so I don't think he'll have the time to work with you all the time. He takes his responsibilities seriously though, even those he's taken upon himself, so if you have need of him, he will answer if he can."


Kai says, "That makes sense." He lowers his gaze. "Royals and nobility have a lot of responsibility." He pulls a face. Not big on responsibility, this one. "He must be a good king, though. He's just…" Kai sighs. "Dreamy. I don't mean that in a bad way. I just think if he was in charge of this country it might not be falling apart."


"A king can do things a President can't." Kevin points out. "Fortunately, T'Challa is a good king but history is full of bad ones. As powerful as the US is, a bad king could cause a lot of damage. A bad President is limited in what he can do but so is a good President."


"The real power is in Congress," Kai says. "I take your point. I'd want a king if it were T'Challa, no one else." He swings his legs, childlike in a way. "I've lived under worse governments in worse conditions. It's just such a tense time. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I think change is inevitable.


"One way or another." Kevin agrees, his tone a bit grim. "For too long, white men have oppressed everyone else and lorded it over them. But the times are changing and people have begun to realize that it's not right, it's not inevitable, and they're not weak."


Kai says, "Truer words, my friend. Where I come from, the color of your skin doesn't matter. It just doesn't. We find normal reasons to hate each other. Rivalries and insults to honor." He admits in a lower tone, "I missed the Civil War, but I was here for slavery. Things did get better, but it's not enough."


"No, it's not." Kevin states grimly. "Here in New York it's better than elsewhere but even here it's not good." Which makes other places horrible. "Growing up in Harlem, my options were very limited. And I could pass as white." Which caused its own problems. Shrugging a shoulder, he settles back in his chair. "It will be as it will be."


Kai tilts his head, studying Kevin a little closer. Then he nods to himself. He's lived long enough to know sometimes people just turn out white-looking. "It'll change," he says with determination. "We'll make them listen." He's quiet a moment, then admits, "I wasn't too keen on you being a cop because most of them are pigs."


"My father was a cop." Kevin explains. "It was his step up the ladder. But he wouldn't play ball so they framed him and got rid of him." Or so he tells himself. "So I joined to carry on the tradition and not play ball either. I avoided being framed." he adds dryly. But he's no longer a cop so they won anyway.


"I get wanting to join an organization to help out," Kai says with a wry smile, which fades. "It's just so corrupt, and there are stupid laws, you know? Like outlawing weed and arresting people just because who they want to hang with doesn't fly with the squares. Trying to keep colored peole and mutants down." He shakes his head. "I just avoid them."


"There are some good people there." Kevin points out. "They just keep their head down and try to help where and when they can. Most guys join the force to try to make a difference. It's just that it beats them down. Still, avoiding them's probably a good choice."


"I've outrun the cops so many times," Kai says. "I've had to pay a few fines, though." He smiles, almost like he's proud. "There's just some who join to wield power, though. Or they think they're doing the right thing, but the system locks them in. Looking the way I do, I get harrassed a lot." He does look pretty fey.


Kevin just nods. Kai would be a prime target for the macho cops who like beating in heads. "There's some." he agrees. "But not most." A pause and he looks over Kai a moment. "Tell me about your people."


Kai sits back, and his eyes get a distant look about them as he says, "We're long-lived compared to humans but not Asgardians. We come from Alfheim, which is objectively the most beautiful place in all the realms. We have pristine forests, majestic cities, and where I'm from, the finest vineyards. In fact my family owns one. They've got a minor noble title. While the Asgardians find honor in battle, we find beauty in art. We live in peace, but we'll fight to defend what's ours. They call us ljolsalfar, light elves."


"Elves." Kevin studies Kai a moment but doesn't comment on it further. "Do they all do the same things you do or are you a mutant elf?" Can elves be mutants too? No idea but why not. "Where is this place actually located? Somewhere in the Arctic?"


"I don't think we have any mutant elves," Kai says. "But there's different kinds. I'm a moon elf, which is why I can glow with moonlight and manipulate water, because of the tides. People are born with their own gifts, I guess. The darkness, that was done to me." He hangs his head. "It's a mark of the svartalfar, the dark elves."


"I sense a story there." Kevin says but doesn't push for a telling. "Though this is not really the place for it. "Over a beer, maybe." Not that drinks have any effect on him any more. Fortunately, he just likes the taste.


Kai grins. "I'd like that," he says. "Sometimes we hand out at the Cigar Factory, but to be honest, I'll drink in any bar that'll serve me." There's a law on the books currently making it illegal to serve homosexuals. Not that it's hard to pass for most people. Most, not all.


Kevin nods and stands up. "Soon then. Now though, I should be going. You can leave a message for me at the embassy if you need to." He could give it to T'Challa too but he's not going to suggest turning the king into a message boy.


Kai nods quickly and says, "It was so good to see you again, man. You take care of yourself out there." Not that the mood is tumultuous right now so much as somber. Kai gets to his feet and shoulders his satchel. "I've got some work to do in SoHo, so I'd better get going. See you soon."


"I'll be fine." Kevin assures Kai with a small grin. He'd love it if someone tried to mess with him, in fact. Good way to release tensions. "Talk to you later."


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