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Dramatis Personae

Doug, Eric, Hive, Jackson, Melinda, Micah, Parley, Ryan

Sunday, 17 March 2013



<NYC> 304 {Ryan} - Village Lofts - East Village

Similar in layout to many apartments in this building, the front door opens into a narrow entryway with a small coat closet. The living room beyond is wide and receives plenty of light from its high windows; floored in dark hardwood, it is separated from the adjoining kitchen by a half-wall counter, stools perched on the living room side and the sink and counterspace on the kitchen side. On the other side from the kitchen stands doors branching off to a pair of bedrooms and one bathroom; to the left of the entryway, a short hall wraps around past the kitchen to the second pair of bedrooms, a second bathroom at the far end of the hall. The apartment here stands often in a state of disarray, musical equipment or books or scattered notes spread among the pair of couches or coffeetable. The kitchen, at least, is usually kept neatly organized in contrast to the living room's clutter. At odd intervals from the walls, sturdy wooden poles branch out, somewhat akin to very large bird perches.

The apartments have been /slightly/ less crowded, if not much. With school term beginning soon, all the /teenagers/ have this weekend finally been trickled off back to Xavier's, to get oriented and settled in, to be taken out shopping for their supplies and clothes before classes begin, to get their paperwork all in order and their classes all chosen. And with Joshua recently renting an apartment of his own up on the sixth floor, the /remaining/ refugees have at least had a touch more room to spread out /into/. But less crowded is still crowded, and busy is still busy, and Jax is over here -- cleaning, actually. It's a compulsion. He's tidying Ryan's kitchen after a delivery of /dinner/, dressed bright-coloured as usual in a flowing purple skirt, a black fishnet top over a lighter pink tank. Bright socks, mismatched as ever. Fishnet sleeves rolled up to reveal tattoos as he Dishes. "/My/ break's coming up soon," he's telling Ryan, cheerfully. "Might even have a /house/ again by then --" But less cheerful, with distinct worry beneath the words: "I know a few places we can put everyone but." But. But the short notice they've gotten from management on clearing out their REFUGEE CAMP means Stress.

Ryan, meanwhile, is still sporting the cripple look that refuses to go out of style. Telltale baggy sweats and faded band tee comprise an ensemble that broadcasts lazy day in deference to the busybody over in the kitchen. So far, the only task the musician has roused himself out of idleness to do is lean over on the edge of the sofa cushion where he sits, meticulously cleaning an unrolled brown cigarette paper of its tobacco. The pile of ground weed heaped on top of an old magazine is a dead giveaway he's reappropriated the paper as a blunt wrap. Total opposite of stress. "Eh, we'll get it figured out. Nothing to worry about-- most people have homes. Just wish management wasn't a dick. Or whatever dumbass neighbor reported us wasn't such a giant douche." The tip of his tongue pokes out the corner of his mouth in concentration.

Somewhere outside the window and down on the street below, lights are flashing. Telltale red and blue. But this is New York. That happens approximately once every ten minutes, in a busy neighborhood.

Melinda is helping by putting whatever sparse leftovers there may be into containers for refrigeration. She appears somewhat more well rested than the people who live in this building, but only barely. She is dressed in denim and jersey, jeans paired with a baggy, long sleeved tee shirt that shows signs of cooking mishaps from earlier that day. She wrinkles her nose at the tetris game that the fridge has become and starts shuffling things around. "I've got a couple roommates moving out. We can put some people in my living room until the end of the month - then they can have their own rooms, if that would help. I'm pretty sure Tag and I can help them get settled and offset the rent for a little while."

It's always a slightly dorm-esque feeling in the hallways these days, so Parley's casual opening of the door as though he were on the LEASE and subsequent entrance is no huge shock. His hair is wet and his shirt currently off and draped over one forearm - he's giving his damp fur a chance to dry. It sticks up off his shoulders and back in little clump-spikes from a recent toweling. Speaking of towel - he has one, and from it he's withdrawing a package of cookies he has... rather unapologetically swiped from Doug's apartment. Unapologetic because Doug is RIGHT THERE behind him. He has one already gripped in his teeth, and he greets Jax and Melinda (who gets a curious-peering) with "Mrmph?" And holds out the package? Questioningly? You don't need empathy to recognize 'want one?' when it's gestured. Even if he is absently grooming along the minds of those around him in light touch-stone rasps that ease his dispersed-hazy presence more smoothly from one transitive point to the next.

Doug does not mind pilfered cookies, clearly, as he's reaching out to snag one for himself as he comes through the door. He's dressed in well-fitting (read: snug) jeans that are worn enough to have been patched a few times, and a cabled v-neck blue sweater under his battered denim jacket. Oh, and he's got a beauty of a bruise over his right eye. He offers a grin and a cookie-wave to those assembled. "Hey, guys," he says with a weary sort of cheer. "I'm back from Break." As if that weren't obvious.

"It would /so/ help," Jax agrees with a quick flash of smile to Melinda. "I mean, we're helping find everyone /jobs/ people'll probably be able to pay before long but -- but it -- it ain't easy. And the people who can't pass for human, well, the jobs is harder -- but we'll find them a place. We'll find everyone a place." He's just across the hall from his apartment at Ryan's place! Doing /dishes/ because of course he is doing dishes. Outside there are flashing lights but this is New York that's not alarming, right? Inside there are cookies. Which he is eying kind of uncertainly, because he is vegan and required to eye all mysteryfood uncertainly. One of those mental rasps prompts a smile but a faint shake of his head. "No, thanks," he says, and outwardly it's to the cookies but inwardly it's a withdrawing: please, no! Much like with the physical, Jax prefers his mental touches consensual. "How was break?" This is more chipper as Doug enters.

"Oh, We're no strangers to obvious mutants. Tag may pass, but not always." Melinda smiles a little and shrugs. "It... might be why I am running out of roommates. But no matter. This will help me out too." She finally packs everything in the fridge and closes the door. She turns around to see Parley's entrance and is initially fascinated at the fur and spots, but forgets about them easily enough in the face of cookies (and his mutation). "Welcome back," she waves a little to Dough as she takes a cookie or two.

Micah knocks at the door with a foot, /thudthud/, because his arms are full of /things/. He is in his typical patched jeans, with a black T-shirt that reads 'I'm here because you broke something' in white text. Apparently he has been conscripted to re-home some supplies from Jax's place, where he had been meeting with Liza to discuss options in post-residual limb revision, pre-prosthetic, care.

Parley's gentle touch instantly recoils from his parameter-touch to Jackson's mind, smoothing over and vanishing with a small whisper of apology. He ducks his head and lowers the cookies away from Jackson's dubious stare, a motion masked under a lifting of towel to scrub at his shoulders and, once Melinda has picked out some treats, he turns towards the door. He has probably seen Micah around - and is rather fond of Liza, so he offers a small smile from behind his towel. "He got assaulted in a bar," he helps answer FOR Doug. See. He's a helper. "This city is fraught with dangers." He sounds quite casually-sincere in informing Micah of this. While offering him a cookie. A DANGER cookie, maybe.

"It was okay," Doug answers with a wrinkle of his nose as he bites into the cookie. "Last night wasn't so great, but otherwise I can't complain about it." He grimaces, and swallows as he waves in Parley's direction. He's got it. "Well, my mother sprung a fancy dinner on me Friday with some senator and his wife, but that actually didn't suck." He says this in a way that conveys that this is a Big Departure from the Norm. He grins as he moves further into the apartment, towards the kitchen, offering another cookie-wave in Ryan's direction as he leans against the wall. His own thoughts are weary, and not really focused on any one thing beyond classes resuming in the morning. "Parley says it's been busy around here. Everyone getting settled all right, then?" Micah's arrival gets a cookie-wave, as well. "Hey Micah!"

<< fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck. >> This is the earliest warning that Everyone Downstairs /gets/; it whispers in a multitude of echoing voices that ripple into all their minds at once. Quiet, but no less clearly agitated for it. << Fuckfuckfuckfuck/fuck/ guys we're getting company. >> A mental image to accompany this: Police, swarming into the building. Also some other people -- not police? Maybe police? Suits. But no less urgent for the lack of tactical gear. << Coming your way like. Now. >>

Jackson has been doing dishes; at ths mental alarm he drops the plate he is washing, though, back into the sink. There's a notable /crack/ as it breaks into pieces. That he does not even spare a glance for the pile of week Ryan has been rolling in the middle of the living room is probably testament to how many different things he is on edge about, right now. Also the fact that he doesn't pay much attention to the broken plate, shutting the water off and zooming back to the living room, wiping his hands against his skirt as he grabs his phone off the table to dial. "Settled, uh, everyone's getting evicted -- well I mean not evicted just the -- everyone else whose not on the leases, um, they don't use a SWAT team for that do they?" He's looking more antsy as the phone is Not Answered.

Melinda blinks at the sudden mental warning and looks around the room, attempting to find Hive after hearing him. She draws in a deep breath and stands stock still, pursing her lips. "Should... um. Should we leave?" She looks around confused and baffled. Leaving is probably not going to work if uniforms in question are arriving /now/.

"Hello!" Micah offers in greeting to the room in general from behind his pile appears to be mostly folded clothing. Someone must have done laundry, or dropped off new-used goods. Micah deposits this on a surface that seems clean and not actively in use. "Ohwow. So many cookies!" He accepts the cookie from Parley once his hands are free, only to be drawn up short of nibbling at it by Parley's announcement. "Assaulted?" His brow furrows in concern, eyes running over Doug as if inspecting for visible signs of injury. "Are you oka--uh, I think that Hive is noticing some trouble and we should make sure that all the locks are as locked as they get." Brow furrowing: it has even more excuse to happen now. "Remember, you don't have to let anyone in unless they have a valid warrant."

Booted footsteps, several of them, jog up the stairs to assemble just beyond the door. Men in kevlar vests and black helmets with "NYPD ESU" emblazoned across the back of it line up against the wall, assault rifles in hand. One of them carries a long, thick metal tool - a pneumatic battering ram - in two hands. Behind the members of the emergency services unit are a few others, in kevlar vests and business wear with pistols in their hands and golden badges around their necks. One of the officers nearest to the door bangs on it, hard, with his fist, three times. "NYPD, we have a search warrant. Open the door, /now/, or we will break it down!" the voice from the other side commands, harsh and demanding.

Visible signs only in the spectacular bruise that covers Doug's right eye. "Got clipped in a bar fight last night," Doug answers, before wincing as the alarm comes, Then he too is whipping out his phone, typing in a fast text and sending it. "Um, I think evictions are handled by someone other than the police," he answers Jackson, casting a worried glance at the door. << Shit. Hope that went through. >> "Like, constables or something. Which I guess /are/ techinically law enforcement." He's shifting into nervous babbling as concern for...well, /everyone/ (almost at once) floods his thoughts. Adrenaline spikes do not help this condition, a cold trickle of fear beginning in the back of his brain. "If they're already in the building, leaving is kind of pointless. They'll just question everyone, eventually." His tone says he speaks from extremely recent experience in dealing with cops. The pounding gets a wide-eyed look, and Doug pulls back, frowning. "Yeah. I don't think locks are going to work."

All the damp clumps of fur mostly dried down Parley's back begin to slowly separate as they stand up in their follicles, and color slowly fades from his face. As the agitation around them begins to rise and wash through his inner channes, however, his own remains... flatlining. << - >> Is the sense of almost reaching out by default to Jackson, then stopping and withdrawing. He swallows the rest of the cookie in his mouth and begins slowly to lower himself to his knees, hands behind his head. "Open the door," he says, face gone blank, voice flat. "The messier this gets, the more the others might panic."

"Fuck!" Ryan, hither-to-now rolling his joint to tight-packed perfection shouts, up to the most immediately criminal activity behind the banged-on door. His reaction? Bolt-stumble-hobble-trip towards the bathroom to flush his on-person drug paraphernalia down the toilet. << ShitfuckI'mgoingtojail. >> races through his mind. "Someone open the fucking door!" Flushing sounds are heard from where he calls down the hallway.

Jackson is getting more agitated, as his call is not answered. Not to Shane, nor Sebastian, one going /straight/ to voicemail and the other ringing before voicemailing. He is shoving his phone back into his pocket as he heads over, oddly calm after his failed phone calls are over, to open the door in silence.

Melinda continues to purse her lips and try to melt into one of the walls. Unfortunately, she has no mutant powers, so just stands there, looking awkward.

Micah sighs heavily at the announcement of Warrant, raking his fingers through his hair agitatedly. "Just...don't say anything if they ask questions. Except that you won't be answering questions without a lawyer." He moves to help hold up the wall next to Mel and look /Non-threatening./

Doug wrinkles his nose, and fishes out his wallet, pulling out his I.D. card with a sigh and folding his arms across his chest. Again, recent experience.

As soon as the door is open, the police are inside. "Police, down on the ground, get /down/!" "Down, down, hands behind your head, get down!" There is a chorus of voices as ESU sweeps into the apartment, grabbing people who are still standing and forcing them to the ground. One police officer grabs Jax and briefly frisks him before pressing on forward into the room, guns out. Two of them head straight for the bathroom where the sound of flushing has come from. They do not stop to ask for the bathroom door to be opened - rather,it is shouldered open, halfway off of its hinges, as they point guns at the musican. One of them swings out speedcuffs from behind them to grab Ryan and ziptie his hands behind his back. With, perhaps, a little bit more force than necessary. Everyone else in the apartment is pretty much ignored, as long as they are non-threatening.

Frisking Jax turns up -- not much! His cell phone is pretty much the only thing he has on him. He is very stiff and very tense through the frisking, though, a sharp swell of panic in his mind that has entirely zero to do with the threat of arrest and everything with the ohgodtouching. He swallows, once he is released, leaning back against the wall by the door before he remembers to get down. << OhgoshRyan, >> runs through his head. He takes in a deep breath. Lets it out again. His head turns, slightly, taking quick once-over stock of everyone in the room. Check, check, check. All fine. Okay, except that whole arrest thing. Frown.

"Mr. Holland." This is not a police officer, or at least the woman saying it does not look like a police officer. She is dressed rather more simply in a grey pants suit, a tablet in her hand and a clipboard in the other and a decided frown on her face. "Is one of /you/ Mr. Holland?" This comes with a -- still frowning -- sweep of gaze around the apartment. At the cops. At Ryan. Her lips press together thinly.

Melinda gets down on the ground when ordered, firstly, just because her knees collapse beneath her at the sight the entry of officers, and then with a more conscious effort, bowing her head, getting her hands up and behind, and kneeling on the ground. She looks over at Micah, scared and nervous, but then focuses on the ground again.

"Woah, woah, woah," Ryan cries out when the police officers batter down his bathroom door, holding up one hand in surrender while he leans against the sink. "I've got a /bum/ leg," he protests to the gruff handling, almost falling over when apprehended and his hands are bound behind him. << Shitshitshit, HIVE I'm DEFINITELY going to jail. >> goes his mental exasperation, racing thoughts already picturing prison bars. Mouth shut tight, he enacts his right to silence.

Micah is actively working to be obedient as quickly as possible, to avoid causing any trouble. He stakes out the bit of floor next to Mel, offering her a little, reassuring smile when she looks over. Because smiling pretty much /always/ helps, right?

Doug gets on the floor when instructed, although his expression says he is not happy with this. Or maybe it's the treatment of Ryan, as most of the darkness in his expression is aimed that direction. When the woman enters, he twists his head to watch her through his elbow, eyes narrowing slightly before he closes them and lowers his head to the floor.

<< Yeah, you're definitely going to jail, >> is broadcast to the -- well, not the cops. But his /friends/ down there, at least. Hive doesn't sound anxious, anymore. He sounds oddly blank-calm. << Sorry, dude. We'll bail you out. And by we that means Jax. >> Because this comes with a flash of imagery of his own. Not the ESU team and their guns, but Hive's apartment one floor up is having company, as well, in the form of ICE officers. Not pointing guns at him. But leading him off all the same.

There's silence from Parley as well. He looks so blank it's almost mellow. Relaxed. He was already down on the ground, as though this were all routine to him. All save the subtle tremble of his hands.

Hive's words make Jackson /pale/ even before the woman gets through to him. << noquestionswithoutalawyer, >> runs through his head, but aloud: "-- I... am?" He's looking the woman over with a distinct sense of uncertainty. Turning over in his mind who she might be or what she might be looking for. The look he throws to Ryan is deeply apologetic. The look he throws to the /others/ is -- somewhat more at a loss. He's keeping a waaary eye on the cops as, still kneeling, he turns to look at the woman. << hive. >> It's in a small voice. The flood of sentiment that comes with it says so much more than the one word: /no/, they can't, we're coming for you /too/ -- and beneath it, more reluctantly: << wherever they take you. >> Because let's face it, there is no question in his mind this is not about drugs. Or Hive's visa. Or -- who's that woman, again?

Almost as quickly as they have come, they are going. ESU has bundled their gear up and left, leaving only the nice members of the NYPD narcotics unit to do the search of the apartment. "If you don't live here, you should leave." One of the detective says, glancing around at the people in the room. "You're free to go. Apologies from the City of New York that you got caught in the middle." He does not sound particularly sorry.

Down the hall, Eric stands, watching the woman standing in front of Jax's apartment, as he hisses into the phone. "Just get here as soon as you can, Nina. Things are happening /now/." He hangs up the phone and strides forward, flashing a badge to get past the line of police officers blocking up the hallway.

Melinda gets up slowly when the rest of them are dismissed, hands moving to grab at one of Micah's arms, the movement is awkwardly supporting herself and possibly helping him up too. It's a very confused movement. "Why is this happening all at once?" she asks quietly, watching in horror as they take Ryan away and another person approaches Jackson... and Hive. Her lips purse, still unable to make eye contact with any of the officers.

Micah stands up next to Mel, resting an arm around her shoulders and squeezing softly in reassurance and solidarity. "Because someone's got a bug up about somethin' an' is trying to make life difficult," he whispers to her.

Doug is also getting up, when dismissed, although he frowns deeply as he does so. He tugs at Parley's arm gently. "C'mon, guys," he says to the others. "We can go up to my apartment and wait," he says, looking over his shoulder at the cops.

Coke, ecstasy, marijuana, various prescription drugs -- it's all there in the apartment, in various stashes. Multiple, because apparently Ryan was holding onto the shares of a few others (Shelby, Shane) for safekeeping. There's also the bewildering specimen of a cactus sitting on the windowsill in his living room. It smells like pot. The musician is going down, that much is clear; it doesn't take long to turn up any of his illicit goods. << What the fuck. Hive. Now would be the time to Borg everyone if there ever were one. I'm gonna be locked up /forever/. >> So, some of that inveterate lying is lending itself to dramatic exaggeration. Undercutting it all, is a very real panic and fear, but he's at least trying to play off the vocal exchange to try and calm the others in the room via his empathy.

"Margaret Grenier, Mr. Holland," the woman introduces herself. No handshake. Just a flash of ID -- a caseworker from OCFS. "Mr. Holland, your home is due for inspection." She glances around Ryan's apartment, glances at the departing police, glances at the /drugs/ being turned up. Glances back towards /Jax's/ where a face (one of many refugees inside) peeks out of his door at the commotion before disappearing guiltily when he is SPIED. "Where," she says, with an air of tried patience, "are the children."

The muscles in Parley's arm constrict when Doug tugs on him, but shift over one another to make it a tension that also expedites his journey back to his feet. He places a shaky hand over his mouth, pressing down hard with closed eyes. Breathing slowly inward, then out. "They others should be gathered," he says, quietly. "Some of them will want to," he eyes the door. "Run." Ryan's empathic affects are felt, but their affects flow past him like a water current at first like sunlight passing through an atmosphere. Then, hesitantly, he contracts. And lets the calming empathy flow into him. And then through him. Like a prism, his channeling focus and streamlines its affects to a wider dispersment. With arms crossed, he begins to drift towards a far wall, carefully extracting himself from the middle of the room.

Jackson manages to pale even further, at this question. /His/ glance around the apartment is slightly helpless. He gets to his feet slowly, and for a moment the lights in the apartment all shiver, unstable. Dimming, flickering, then returning to normal as Ryan's empathy is felt. "They -- I --" His voice is getting kind of small. Jax: not a good liar.

Eric steps quickly along the corridor to give Jax a quick once-over with his eyes as he comes in close. "Hey honey, you alright? What happened?" he glances up and down Jax with a look of concern as he glances into the previously raided apartment and at the police walking down the hallway as one hand settles against Jax's back and he turns to face the OCFS woman. "Oh, sorry, where are my manners?" he says, Georgia accent thick and apologetic. "Eric Sutton, a friend of Jax's." He gestures to the badge at his waist and extends his free hand to the social worker. "I'm just glad Shane and Sebastian decided to go to the library instead of come back home. A police raid right across the hall is no place for children, ain't that ri'?"

Ryan is quickly bundled off towards the stairs and down to the waiting paddy-wagon, as the ESU slowly trickles out. There is a steady stream of police hanging around Ryan's apartment, however, taking pictures, putting drugs into bags, and generally making a search-y nuisance of themselves.

Melinda gives Micah another squeeze and looks at him. "Go see what's going on in Hive's place, maybe get the others to Doug's place. I'll uh..." she glances over at Jackson and finds herself perturbed. "I'll get people out of Jax's place." She swallows a bit of her fear down and straightens up. She moves over near Jax and catches his eye before mouthing very noticeably 'I'll go take care of Spencer' - in a way she hopes the CFS woman doesn't see.

Doug doesn't hang around as things get offical-sounding, and Eric shows up with a tidy alibi. He's already moving out the door, frowning down at his phone as he leads whoever follows back towards the elevators. "I'm going to give my mom a call, and see who she knows that can do something about this," he says in a low voice to no one in particular. Fuck. Ryan and Jax and /Hive/? His brain can't /quite/ wrap around anything other than Set Up. "And yeah. Get those who need to hide out to my place, if they can get there without any trouble. Then we can figure out what to do after that." It sounds more confident than it feels.

Micah has been watching the woman questioning Jax intently. Uh-oh. Jax is not holding up to inquiry well. "Mel, I'm kind of more used to dealin' with CPS an' associated folks for work than I'd like to be," Micah explains, still in a whisper. "You can head out if y'want, but I'm gonna see if I can at least moral-support-presence Jax through this if I linger a bit." He wanders over to the small group gathered around Jax. The social worker gets a warm smile. "Now might not be the best time for an unscheduled visit, Ms. Grenier. All of this excitement is bound to confound folks a bit. Is there any chance you could postpone...?"

"--I'll help." Parley says behind Melinda, looking a touch more ragged oddly, with the initial adrenal /shock/ wearing off the other people in the room and nothing so loud to be channeling. He gives Doug a small nod, indicating that he'll get whoever they can, pulling a small disposable cell phone from his own back pocket. He does this around climbing up into his shirt. The moment of startled recognition when Eric appears recedes when he steps in on Jackson's behalf, and he reaches out to touch Micah's arm in appreciation - hesitates, and then withdraws. His features hollow and oddly more resolute for it, he slips in behind Melinda.

"The point of an /un/scheduled visit," Margaret says, patiently, when Micah speaks up, "is to see what sort of environment the children are usually living in. Not what sort of an environment is fabricated to pass inspection." She gestures a hand across the hall, towards Jackson's apartment. "Shall we?"

Jackson has stiffened, when Eric touches him; this is not /visible/, his posture not noticeably changed, but Eric can feel it where his hand touches Jackson's back, tense and instinctively withdrawing from the touch. "Yeah," is what he /says/, with a wan smile up to Eric, "s'good they didn't get caught up in this mess." He catches Melinda's eye with a quietly grateful exhalation. And when Micah steps over, he -- well, doesn't move! At least it doesn't look like he moves. But there's a brief press of his fingers to Micah's, before he just nods. "Yes'm," is less small-voiced than before, as he slips off the LONG WALK home.

Eric falls back a little bit as Jax lets the cluster of people into the apartment, leaning in to murmur into Micah's ear, "The lawyer is on her way." It is barely an audible thing - practically a breath of air, rather than words, and he is straightened up and smiling at the member of OCFS in the blink of an eye. Once they enter Jax's apartment, he lets his hand drop and pulls out his cell phone once more, finger scribbling at the keypad.

Micah's fingers press gently against Jax's, for that brief moment they are present. He nods appreciatively to Eric at the announcement of lawyer. But! He has the convenient excuse that his /stuff/ is still over at Jax's from earlier, so he has to go over there before he could leave, regardless. He trails along unless someone actually tells him he has to get lost.