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Mairead O'Connelly

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a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by Imehal

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Image accredited to anikakinka of deviantArt, whom I am currently asking for permission to use the image in this way.

So begins...

Mairead O'Connelly's Story

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#, as written by Imehal
So this was Gambit's? It did not look too shabby, which surprised the young woman after traversing what she could only describe as a dingy backalley to get into this apparently popular watering hole for residents of Terra and even further afield. It was that last group that Mairead seemed to have trouble admitting to the existence of, outside of science fiction and high fantasy novels. Not that she could dispute that truth when forced to look inwards, for no matter how the young woman looked at it, she was special.

And wasn't that just grand? With a huff of indignation, she finally slipped away from the entrance to the spacious, yet heavily furnished, area across the counter to order a drink. Rum and coke seemed like a good idea right about now. After all, she was celebrating a victory tonight!

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#, as written by Imehal
Abruptly, Mairead spun on her stool to see if she had been imagining things. There was definitely a guy sitting over there who had not before, she was almost certain. Gifted humans or mythology come alive? It was anyone's guess, hers included, attention taken away from Uriel momentarily by the arrival of her drink, which she could surprisingly pay for with what was in her purse, tucked away in her coat pocket.

So, good alcohol, no one asked questions and they took her money without complaint. Victory indeed. Maybe, just maybe she'd made a clean getaway. One could always hope, right? Now, the only trouble was being alone in her celebration, raising her eyebrow at both Spiral and Triplicate. Neither of them looked like a good time at all and thus, eyes turned on Uriel once more, judging.

He looked bored. Bored was good; it meant he would not mind her doing... this. With merely a thought, the lighter ignited, even with the lid closed. Mairead wondered how long it would take before it heated up enough for the stranger to notice.

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The immediate acknowledgement gave Mairead pause for thought, but she had wanted to know if he was amiable enough to be approached. It took not a moment to slide down from her seat at the counter, giving Spiral a cursory glance at his smile, jovially grinning back before turning hazel eyes on the stranger, questioning with a glance.

The fiddling with the menu only suggested further boredom. Or hunger. Either way, Mairead felt she had an in now, ice tinkling in her glass as it tipped cool liquid down her throat, waiting patiently.

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That was different.

Still, it was an invitation if Mairead ever did see one, stepping confidently along the lengthened shadow that came from the flame she had created herself, a little intrigued. A success so far, especially seeing as the man appeared to have a sense of humour, heel tapping twice against the shadow covered carpet to find that yes, it was indeed just that.

"I believe that is what people call showing off, stranger," Mairead commented, setting her glass down with a thud and sliding into the pro-offered seat. Permission had already been given as far as she was concerned.

Then the flame went out without warning, Mairead watching the shadows carefully to see what would happen next in their little display, leaning her chin on one hand. She hadn't stopped grinning either, positively thrilled.

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Ah, a man after her own heart.

Mairead was clearly pleased by the display made as the shadows, having lost their focus, rolled like waves back towards the table, tapping at them once more with her foot. "I can't say I disagree with that sentiment." she answered, waiting until after the waitress had departed before saying anything more. "So, if you like to flaunt what you've got, why don't you? Only reason I wouldn't show off was if there was someone just waiting to get at me if I did."

The fact that there was and that Mairead conveniently ignored that was an irrelevant and unknown point.

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"Oh, and what source would that be?" Mairead questioned without regard for privacy on Uriel's part, believing that trouble someone brought upon themselves was the only kind worth having. It was a philosophy that had got her in some deep drama quite a few times, but she was a survivor and always came out fine, if not entirely undamaged by the experience.

Almost tempted to relight the little object once more, Mairead leant forward over the tabletop to clasp his hand, shaking it firmly. "And you may call me Mairead O'Connelly, Uriel." She could not help but be reminded of 'The Little Mermaid', no matter how hard she tried, smirking. He had the red hair and everything.

It seemed that the strange woman's look earlier had been a passing glance rather than anything more, watching her movements towards Spiral out of the corner of her eye. Good, she rather liked her mood intact right now.

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After her blithe question, Mairead supposed she had rather asked for that. Creature of the night? Vampires were real? Her released hand almost reached forward as if to prod at them; check they were real and not some really good prosthetics. Self-preservation told her that this was probably a really, really bad idea.

"I can tell this is going to be an experience, Uriel." Unable to resist the obvious temptation any longer, the lighter re-ignited with an appropriately sized flame, Mairead grinning wickedly. "I wonder, do people normally run away when they find out you're what goes bump in the night?"

This woman had fire. Nothing would ever catch her unaware at night whilst she could create light from nothing.

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"Cowards."

It seemed to be all that Mairead seemed to want to say on that subject and whether she had noticed his disapproval at all; indeed, it appeared that she could not care if her words inspired negativity in him. All she cared about was that she got a reaction. Besides, he was being a killjoy on her celebrations.

But he persisted and thus, her own loose lips delivered their piece, waving a hand towards him with a stunned expression. "If they run away, why do you care? You are what you are and if people cannot handle that, then quite frankly, they're not worth having around."

Mairead, for all her blasé reaction to his vampirism, thought she was taking the news that the fellow across the table should not exist and might be considering her for dinner quite well. "You're not going to eat me, are you?" Better to be safe than sorry.

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"Good to know. I'm rather fond of live, contrary to popular belief and Uriel, if you hang around me, you'll find I'm often right. It's just a matter of time before I talk people around to my way of thinking."

I bet everyone in those films where vampires chat them up and then drain them dry had had such considerate attackers. Wait, had he just called her a gem? Where did that come from? Damn it; that's what she got for getting lost in her own thoughts.

Old ways. Something about that had been mentioned, so best to go for clueless? "Old ways? Whilst I'm flattered that you consider me so highly, what does that mean?" If she hazarded a guess, it would be that she could create fire but that was not really anything astounding here, right?

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"Ironically, tThey called me juvenile y

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"Ironically, they called me juvenile when I told them I was quite capable of handling this on my own." This was clearly a debate that Uriel had a strong opinion about and Mairead reckoned that he belonged firmly in the 'true power' category. Just a hunch though. "Runes and incantations? I suppose they say the greatest power of all is of words."

Her smirk was so feline by this point that he wouldn't have to even wonder if her words was serious or not. It was pretty plain that they were not. "So, because I can just 'make' fire, I'm up in the old ways box? I'm content with that."

His kind? He must mean vampires, or maybe those with powers? "You're disappointed no one is trying to kill you any more, after complaining earlier that you want to let your hair down? Jeez, make your goddamn mind up Uriel."

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Natural predator suddenly losing its circle of willing prey, finally leaning back off her hand to settle in her chair, sipping at her drink. The ice had melted over time, leaving the alcohol watered down. The taste now was not quite as satisfying but it would do for now. "You could try not telling them until they can't escape?"

Mairead suddenly decided to stop herself before she gave the vampire too much advice; after all, she was an escapee herself and definitely not in the maiming or murder business unless given no other choice. Thankfully, the conversation steered back towards her abruptly, surprised at the personal question for a fraction of a second.

In half answer, Mairead created some sparks just a few centimetres from Uriel's eyes, clearly relaxed with their conversation. "It found me. I always had it, though it was a little more difficult to explain why the stove's flames tended to go haywire when baby Mairead was having a tantrum. However, singing the arm of a boy who pushed me too far in primary school... That was pretty much a dead giveaway." It had always been there; a warming comforting presence in her life so that even when the men had taken her away, judged her as insane and incapable of living in normal society, she had never ever been alone.

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"Fire has no master; only those with whom it is willing to co-operate, I tend to find. I call for it and it responds. Never has it denied me its power at my fingertips and I do respect my gifts, especially now that I know that others have to try infinitely harder to do what I can do with a thought." Incantations and alchemy? That sounded about as fun as schoolwork. Mairead gave Uriel an amused smile, wondering at whatever Fates had deigned to let them meet. It was an intriguing notion, to be sure.

In all honesty, Mairead did not believe that what she did was magic. It was a simple give and take relationship with one of the most uncontrollable and powerful elements. "Well, you've ruined my celebratory mood, but replaced it with something equally fun. Not sure what to make of you Uriel. Tell me, does your gift with shadows come from being a creature of the night?"

Naturally gifted? Mairead liked the thought of being special like that. After all, it only confirmed what she had been told all her life. That she was powerful, insane and a liability.

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Wait, what? Mairead nearly spat out the mouthful of rum that she had been about to swallow, instead resorting to choking rather inelegantly upon it for a matter of seconds, slamming a fisted hand into her chest to try and ease the pain. "Bloody hell. Dracula? I wonder what he thinks of all those media representations of him out there."

His development of power was intrigued, to say the least and in a bid to pass over her unexpected and naive comments, Mairead drove forward onto the next topic with zeal. "So, by merely feeding and surviving, you grow stronger? That's... quite morbid really. I mean, good for you of course." Greed indeed.

What they desired, eh? Mairead leant forward back towards the table, elbows resting near the edge of it. "And what, pray tell, do you desire?" She expected a cliché answer; power, respect, to be feared but wanted an interesting one. A sly smile slipped out, waiting.

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Perched at the end of the long bar counter, Mairead looked to all the world like a normal, unremarkable patron of Gambit's, clothed in jeans and a non-descript black shirt, partnered with black walking boots and a practical ponytail. At the drama that was unfolding across the room none too quietly, she held back a grin. Normal people went to their friends' houses or see family when they're having crises, but no, people of Wing City seemed to think that a bar and hotel were a perfectly acceptable place to deal with your problems.

Sure, she thought with a shake of her glass, tipping it to her lips to down the remaining contents, if you wanted to drown yourself so far in alcohol that you couldn't remember them.

It seemed that she was not the only one who thought the situation less than sensible, noting the laughter coming from Rio a little ways down the counter, raising her glass to the stranger with a bemused grin before setting it down and moving to order another from the electronic menu before her.

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Mairead had seen enough low budget horror films to know a Chelsea Grin when she saw one, hesitating in a reply as she perused the appearance of Rio shamelessly. Interesting, she finally decided, storing away knowledge garnered with a sly smile that suggested that she knew the path this conversation was about to take.

“Trust me, can't be any worse than hers.”

Shifting to click 'purchase' on the menu, Mairead recalled that this was her third drink of the night and only now were the effects beginning to set in. Praise be to big lunches.

“What can I do for you?” Charitable for the young woman, but hardly out of character, for putting in a little effort here would surely be worth whatever she would get out of it in the end. Even if said reward was simply a night's good humour.

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Unperturbed by the level gaze Rio sent her way, Mairead looked away from her for a moment to the couple in question. They looked nervous – more so than most 'normals' who tried this bar out for size – and that led her to an answer to Rio's query. “Young and uneducated, I'm afraid. So many of them in the world and not a damn thing anyone can do except hope that someone takes pity on them.”

And that would not be her. That was a job for parents, family, friends, not random strangers in the bar, though Mairead wagered that knocking a girl up was probably common practice in this godforsaken place.

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Mairead, having been only vaguely acquainted with vampires since coming, did not quite connect the dots about the missing teeth, wondering just how other ways this woman before her might be damaged. Of course, that train of thought was entirely lost as her companion got an impressive bout of the giggles, and the young woman did not bother fighting the grin that was turning her lips upwards.

“Now, that entirely depends on what you think you heard, don't it?” Mairead said cryptically, nodding towards the bartender who had just set down another rum and coke before her. Didn't look like she was going to need much more alcohol to end up like Rio though, chuckling absently at the other's inability to keep a straight face.

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There was a properly dressed man's eyes passing over towards them, but if Mairead noticed it, she paid it only brief mind, eyes flashing mischievously before going to try and tell Rio that she was making it sound like a blinking bad daytime soap opera... just at the moment that Otsana decided to deck Felix good.

“Bloody hell, I actually feel a little sorry for the fool. Only a little, mind,” Mairead breathed out, unsure whether to laugh or be appalled by this couple's lack of restraint when it came to public displays. “Control yourself girl, or she might be after you next.”

Okay, Mairead conceded, now she was laughing.

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“Oh, a million times yes!” Mairead agreed with a enthusiastic nod; this was precisely the emotionally charged drivel that men like Jeremy Kyle (sanctified problem solvers to some, charming men with shit jobs to the rest of sane humanity) thrived off. “I think all he'd need to do something is come in here with a camera crew and he'd be set for life.”

The bustle of the bar did not seem to bother Mairead, who was currently taking another sip of her drink whilst pondering the short, but thought provoking statement that Rio had uttered. Kids, eh?

“I'm nineteen and I'd 'ppreciate you not lumping me in with those kinds of people, thanks,” she replied back with a half-grin, as if although Mairead did not appreciate it, it wasn't bothering her as much as she let on. “D'ya have much time at home to watch television, or do you have a job like most of us poor souls?”

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Character Portrait: Mairead O'Connelly

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Whomever Rio was, Mairead quickly realised that she was a person who inherently treated situations like this as ripe for disaster to take advantage and really, who could blame her? The whole place, between the lovers' spat, the firefight that she was already rising to step away from and general mayhem hardly looked like a great place to be.

“It's a bloody bar, not an arena.” The muttering was below her breath and would only be heard by Rio, if anyone. “Yeah, I'm not a fan of whiling away my days in front of a big box that pretends to give me things I want to see either. I recommend that people watch stuff online to sift out the crap that advertisers try and spoon-feed to the general populace.”

There was too much going on for Mairead to figure out what was potentially friend or foe, but with drink in hand and lighter reassuringly in her back-pocket, she felt like she could handle most things that came at her.

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“Yeah, same to you.” Brief fun had been had and now the strange-looking but decidedly chirpy woman was leaving Mairead to her own devices in the bar once more, and sadly, between the laptop geeks, men with the guns and... well, she didn't know what that was, there wasn't much to do.

Unless she was looking to cause mischief, as was her wont. Mairead was just weighing up the odds of her getting shot to bits for it in her mind along with the risks, smiling slyly as she turned so that her elbows were propped up against the bar counter's edge, looking out to the patrons without a care in the world.

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And turned straight to face Ayamo, watching idly as Rio made for the door and nodding towards the properly dressed man with a grin. Bye Chelsea. “Hey there yourself. Sorry about her; she has somewhere to be. What do you need?” she asked politely, gesturing to the seat beside her that the strange woman had just vacated.

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Pretty sure that she had just pointed towards the seat beside her, Mairead raised an eyebrow before grinning and shaking her head, deciding that crossed wires were hardly a rare occurrence about this place. “Perfectly alright,” she assented, swinging around on her stool so that she was nearly facing the bar again. “On both counts, stranger.”

And peculiar he indeed was, talking to her all proper and dressed like she should be trying to drag her back to the laboratory, rather than treating her all polite-like. World was a funny place sometimes.

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Polite, but perhaps not quite up-to-date on all social etiquette Mairead assessed, thinking it was pretty damn rude to introduce yourself and then try and continue a conversation with some other people before anyone else got a word in. Luckily, the young woman neither craved attention nor appreciated politeness when it came to those of the business world. They were all a bit stuck up their own arses, if she was honest.

When (if) attention came back to her, Mairead smiled warily, recognising that even if he was being shockingly rude, he seemed to be someone with clout and knowledge. “Mairead O'Connelly. It's a pleasure to meet you Mr Nervena, though I'm wondering two things about you straight off the bat. One,” she raised a finger on her left hand, “what possessed you to come to this bar when you're obviously a person of notable wealth and affluence. Surely you can do better than this dingy backwater bar?”

Only when a response came forth would she address matter two; why the hell was he talking to her, out of all people, Mairead glaring across at Marlene with a half-smirk. Charming.