Monday, January 16, 2017

Coffee Meeting -or- "Page, I'm Straight." (super people)

Mishap realized something and pulled herself back, stat up straight, and did her best to put on a serious face.  Then she said, "Page, I'm straight."

"That's disappointing," Page said, "but it is neither an unforseen possibility nor is it a deal-breaker for me.  I do not hold the fact that you are straight against you.  Some of my best friends are straight.  You can't help it if you were born that way."

Mishap was on the verge of cracking up.

"I do not find the prospect of being friends with you suddenly repulsive because of the revelation that you're straight," Page said.  "Truly I tell you that I'm not about to run off screaming because you are straight."

Mishap broke down and laughed.  When she was done she said, "I just thought, with how you were acting. . ."

The pause was, perhaps, a bit too long, but Page picked up once she knew that Mishap wasn't going to complete her thought.

"Yeah, I know, sorry about that," she said.  "I can't help it."  After a beat she continued, "Ok, that's not quite true.  I can help it if I'm watching myself for it but usually I don't think to do that.  Point is: I wasn't doing it on purpose.  When I feel like I have a chance with someone I'm interested in I just slip into flirty-mode without trying to or realizing I'm doing it."

"Ok. . ." Mishap said cautiously.

"Now that I know that I don't have a chance," Page said, "it won't be a problem.  If I haven't weirded you out too much, can we go back to talking about other things."

"Um . . ." Mishap found she couldn't remember what they were talking about.  She fell back on an old standby: when in doubt, ramble at random.  "I was walking down the street the other day and I heard this massive sound of wrongness at the intersection ahead of me; since I've been bumping into them so much I was half-convinced it was my old team.

"Fortunately it was just a giant ooze monster."

"Because that's so much better," Page said dryly.

"So I was going to ignore the situation and hope it went away, but then there were some kids --superlatively stupid kids-- that attracted the monster's attention.  Had to save them."

"That sounds heroic."  Someone who didn't know Page wouldn't have picked up on it, but Mishap knew that she was being needled.

"Don't.  Start," Mishap said.  "Besides, who is having coffee with a villain right now?"

"Civilians are just weird," Page said.  "It's hard to find people who understand what the life is like."

Mishap nodded.  "Given," she said.

"Plus you did save my life," Page said.

It felt like she should deny that, so Mishap asked, "When?" as if she didn't know.

"The park," Page said.  "When you shot-shoved Tinker in the back."

"Noticed that, did you?"

Page nodded.

"Well, not wanting people dead hardly makes me a saint," Mishap said.

Page held up her hands, "I'm not still on that.  It just seems like a peaceful coffee is . . . within an epsilon neighborhood of the least I could do in response to you saving me."

"What sized delta are we talking about?" Mishap asked.

Page chuckled.

Ah, math, Mishap thought.  Something so many people derided or took for granted, but Page got it.  A rare thing indeed.  Then she made a connection back to what she had been saying.

"Actually, back at the ooze monster," Mishap said, "I met a fire elemental who would understand that."

"How powerful?"

"Low raw power, but he could do the 'flames that don't consume the source' thing which allowed him to light un-lightable things like marbles.  Combine that with the fact that he's massively skilled with a sling and there's some real potential there."


"Said he was apolitical," Mishap said.  "Didn't even have a handle when I met him."

"Newbie with the right combination of talent and skill, then," Page said.

Mishap nodded.  "We had doughnuts after the ooze was dealt with."

"How did you deal with the ooze if he was low powered?"

"Water-main had an unfortunate failure; the city really needs to invest in infrastructure."

"That was you?"

"Who else?" Mishap asked.

"Ordinary wear and tear?" Page asked.

Mishap simply held Page's gaze.

"Ok, fine, this town is caught up in the epic war between good and evil to the point that nothing has a mundane rational explanation and therefore everything must be a result of people with powers," Page said.  "I concede."

"If only I could get you to give up that fast in a fight," Mishap said.  She let herself smirk.

"Not the best topic for pleasant conversation," Page said, "besides, I find myself intrigued.  Straight girl met a guy and had doughnuts.  Is there anything there?"

"No," Mishap said.  "There isn't.  I don't rule out the possibility, but no spark, no signs of anything other than companionship, no reason to expect anything else.  I am capable of meeting a member of the opposite sex without being infatuated.  I'm a bit suspicious of you for even implying that."


"Do Erratic and Squire have to worry about romance complicating the workplace?"

"No one needs to worry about me," Page said a bit defensively, "and it's hardly a secret that that wouldn't be able to come up even if I were worrisome."

"Tinker did the opposition research," Mishap said; "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Squire is so straight laser beams envy her," Page said; "Erratic is the quintessential flirt, and she's really good at it, but when it comes to anything else . . . well she's asexual aromantic.  I want romance and physical contact.  Preferably at the same time."

"How did we end up talking about the sexuality of more than half your team, with yours in detail to boot?" Mishap asked.

"Your fault."

"Usually is."

"How's solo life?" Page asked.

"Had to go apartment shopping," Mishap said, "that's a Hell I don't recommend.  Still, no boss means no schedule.  I'm not hurting for funds so I can take it easy for a bit.  I'll be a while before we meet professionally again."

"I've got no problem with that," Page said.  "Easier for when I'm not up a magic-cancelling adept."

"Ditto on both parts," Mishap said.  "Any chance I could convince you to lay off when next--" the look on Page's face stopped her.  "I suppose it wouldn't be fun that way anyway."

Both took sips of their coffees.  Mishap planned to let the conversation loose and allow it to go where it would.


  1. They're a cute pair, and friendship is the best ship.