2019-04-15 - On the Boardwalk


Kai and Bucky meet up again and talk about Alfheim, innovation, and what it's like to go through the partiuclar Hell that is war.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Apr 15 02:02:14 2019
Location: RP Room 5

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Theme Song



It's a sunny day at the boardwalk. And the brown-haired boy is there again, sketching - looking down the boardwalk so the surf is on one side and the attractions on the other. He's working with some kind of markers or brush pens, hand moving in quick strokes, eyes shaded by a Cyclones cap.

Kai is in a long-sleeved, pale yellow tee and jeans. His clothing looks new. It looked new yesterday, too. Casual, but well-made, quality stuff. Elf's not hurting for money, but he's not showing off, either. He's got a latte in hand, and there's a spring in his step as he takes in the sights. This place once brought him immeasurable joy, and just soaking up the memories seems to put a smile on his face. He slows when he spies the brown-haired boy, and his smile broadens. "Fancy meeting you here, stranger."

Buck looks up from his pad, and grins. "Hey, Kai," he says, turning so he's oriented in the usual way on the bench he's sitting on, rather than sitting off one end. "Yeah, I love it. I like being by the ocean, and all this reminds me of being a kid. Only better, in some ways."

Kai comes to sit beside Buck, mindful of his light. "I love the ocean," he says. "I can't wait for beach weather." Of course the Elf gets glances from passerby. He's an ethereal being, sublime to look upon, and there's something about him that makes predators notice. Not all the glances are predatory. Hell, most of them are perfectly innocent. He tucks a lock of hair behind his ear and fails to notice (or is good at pretending not to). "I'm thinking of getting a place in Brooklyn. I was going to go with the Village, but I don't know. Brooklyn is nice."

"I'm biased, I think it's great," Buck allows, as he folds the pad up, tucks it into the engineer's bag he uses in lieu of a backpack. "But I honestly can't imagine really living anywhere else, if I had a choice. It's home." His hair's bound back in its usual ponytail.

"I've lived on the Upper West Side," Kai says. "Hell's Kitchen, too. Rags to riches, then one bad breakup later I went back home for awhile." He sips his coffee. "Too many memories on that side of town. I think Brooklyn is sounding better and better." He smiles, then. "I'll at least have a couple friends in the area. I come here a lot, so that's less time on the subway."

"What's your original home like. Alfheim, you called it? Like Asgard, but not?" he wonders. He takes off the cap, rubs at his forehead, looks up and down the boardwalk. There's a waterbottle down at his feet, and he stoops to pick it up, swallow a mouthful.

Kai gets a distant look as he says, "Oh, it's beautiful. The mountains are tall and proud, windswept peaks with snow at the top and endless forests. As you get into the valley, the hillsides are covered with vineyards and farms, some of which have been there for many millennia. A river runs through the Valley of the Moon Elves with the bluest waters you've ever seen. On nice spring evenings one can sit outside and watch the stars come out one by one in a sky like sapphire turning to onyx." He sighs softly. "It really is breathtaking."

"Sounds like Oregon," muses Bucky. "I mean, what I've seen of it. Never been, that I remember." Which is a loaded question - how many places has he been that he doesn't remember? "Why….here, then? mean, this place is grubby and full of mortals."

Kai's smile is quick and warm. "I should go to Oregon," he says. "I haven't traveled on the West Coast much." He looks around, watching people with perky interest. "I was born in London," he says. "My parents traveled to Midgard to hide out for awhile. They made some questionable decisions, it's all water under the bridge. But they had me while they were living here. Then they took me to Scotland, and around the time of the Revolutionary War, I came to America. Fought with the Yankees. Then I nipped off to Alfheim for a bit, came back to Britain in the twenties, decided I liked New York better."

There's that silent laughter from the mortal, eyes going squined with amusement. "Man. You guys and your lifespans. I feel old 'cause I'm a hundred-plus, and that's a long lifespan for a human, but….hell of a change, isn't it? From then to now."

Kai says, "I'm just over four hundred and still considered irresponsibly young." He shakes his head. "It's amazing, how quickly it all changes. Last time I was here, we were considered fancy because we had a color television. Now you have all the world's sum of knowledge right in your hand. Back at home, it didn't seem like all that long. People were saying 'you're leaving already?'"

"Perspective," he says, spreading his hands. "I imagine it doesn't seem that long, but then, you guys have lifespans numbered in the thousands of earth years, right?" Curious, by the look Buck gives him, sidelong

Kai nods. "More or less. My people make a point of living each day, and appreciating it, but we change very little. The vintners at our winery have each dedicated hundreds of years at ''least'' to perfecting their craft, and that is what they do. Day in, day out they make wine. But the wine they make! Such perfection takes longer than the span of a human life to master. But humans are great. What they lack in technical skill they make up for in new ideas."

The idea that humans might have anything at all to offer near-immortals is….novel, clearly. Bucky peers at him. "We do?" he asks, after another swallow of water. "I woulda ….I wouldn'ta thought that was the case."

"You're always coming up with new ideas. I mean our technology is, I don't know, godlike. You wouldn't be able to tell it from magic. But we develop very few new innovations compared to humans. You're always inventing new gadgets and gizmos. I leave color televisions and come back to cell phones. It would be more Elflike to, say, spend a thousand years on making the perfect color television and not even think about watching movies on a communication device."

"Huh," says Buck, clearly caught by the idea. "I'd like to see the kind of perfection that sort of dedication could produce, to be honest." He leans back on the bench, lays the 'tattooed' arm along its top, lazily.

"You could come visit Alfheim someday," Kai says. "You could stay at the manor, of course. We'll spend our days unwinding, eating some of the finest foods you'll ever taste and drinking the finest wine ever made. We could go for a week or whatever. It's not ''easy'' for me to get there from here, but it's not impossible. Might be easier if I make friends at the Embassay, though I don't know that they'll have much use for a provincial Elf like myself."

James gives him a look. "I could bring Steve, right? 'd love it. He needs a vacation, and he'll never take 'em. I should make up some mumbo jumbo about diplomacy or a mission, maybe we could trick him." Steve, the Golden Retriever of Freedom.

Kai says, "Of course, bring Steve! We'd love to have him. He deserves to relax and eat good food and drink fine wine. We'll come up with something," Tricking Captain America is so okay with Kai there's zero pause for thought. "Diplomacy is good. Alfheim has virtually zero contact with Midgard. I mean, you're looking at it. I've got a modest title back home, there's some politics connected to it."

"Yeah, I figured it'd be something like that. And I will….." It could be a honeymoon, he doesn't say. Depending. "I'll find a way to get him to go. Time runs the same, though? I mean, it won't be like…a week there and a century here, right?"

"Gosh, I think so," Kai says. "We don't age slower or faster there. We just live longer." He pats Bucky on the knee. "I'm not trying to rope you into any tricky Elf magic. It's just a great place to have a vacation, and it'd be good for you both to get away for awhile. Midgard will survive a week without its savior. Especially when everyone's wearing a cape these days."

He grins. "I didn't figure you were. It's just….you know, mighta been one of those things that you forget. I'm glad to see you alive. So few guys are left from the War here."

"Time eventually does what the Nazis couldn't," Kai says, shaking his head. He takes a drink of his coffee, his eyes closing briefly. Espresso is brilliant. Adding steamed milk to it is genius. Small things make life worth living. "But for those of us who remain, we'll remember and reminisce. We'll say their names and honor their sacrifice." He smiles a little, lowers his gaze, and says, "I'm the oldest surviving soldier of the Revolutionary War. I still remember them though."

"God, that's right," Buck says, caught by it again. "Did you ever see Washington? Or meet him?" How strange to think of - that for Kai it was like a trip home…..one that holds the entirety of the US's history.

Kai grins and says, "I saw him at a distance. I was actually under Alexander Hamilton in the battle of Yorktown. None of us expected to get out of that one alive, but we did it. I was just a grunt, no one anyone would take notice of. I didn't want to be noticed. I was hiding from my family. But I saw them. I delivered messages, did my job. At the time we weren't thinking about being famous or becoming history. We were just trying to kill more of them than they did us."

The look he gives Kai at that….suddenly, there's that enormous, terrible sadness there. "That's every soldier in human history ever, I think. That's how it was for me, for sure, in every fight I was ever in."

Kai nods solemnly. "We're not thinking about history, just getting through the next time minutes alive. What they write in the books, that's not what it's like. I mean we knew the General was a great man, but he was the General. He was just trying to survive with the rest of us. Any stray bullet could've turned the tide. Then, when it's all over, someone else tells the story. Which is fine, I suppose. No one but us should understand what war's really like. Let them have that innocence."

There's a mute nod from him, after he swallows hard, once. "Right," he says, quietly. It's so strange to think of - that for those decades, he and Steven were stories someone else told. In some cases…horror stories.

Kai tentatively lays a hand on Bucky's shoulder. "But we don't have to bear it alone. We have each other. You and Steve have your years of friendship, and I was there in Belgium. We get it. And we get to know we made a difference, for whatever good it's done." He glances at the people walking past. "Their ignorance makes me feel better. I feel like we paid for it, so we should appreciate it."

Buck's grin has gone wobbly, but he nods again. "Yeah," he agrees. "It's kind of weird….to get to see the world that results from what you've done, if that makes any sense…"

Kai glances down at his coffee cup, then slips his arm around Bucky's shoulders and says, "Come on, let's go get something a little stronger than water and coffee. I know it won't get me drunk, but it's the thought that counts, isn't it? And if we're going to reminisce, it should be over a pint of something that comes in pints." He moves to get up so that he can lead the way to the nearest bar.

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