Logs:Hard to Catch

From X-Men: rEvolution
Hard to Catch
Dramatis Personae

B, DJ, Steve


"I'll take my chances."


<NYC> NYPD 121st Precinct - Staten Island

The 121st Precinct station house is one of the newest in the borough, its unique top-heavy outline eyecatching where it perches at the top of its hill. There are no police officers in sight now, though, nor any cruisers out front, though some remain in the actual parking lot in back. There are instead quite a number of commercial vans (Strategic Pest Control and Mold Remediation, they read, beside an incredibly generic geometric logo) parked in the circular driveway, and workers in coveralls coming and going at regular intervals.

Though there are security personnel and a small site management team stationed out in the lobby of the police station now, the rift site itself has calmed down somewhat, settled into a tense post-disaster routine. Only a few S.H.I.E.L.D. technicians hand-picked by the team leader have come through today to perform routine inspection on the equipment. At some point they brought in a cot for the team leader, but it and the neatly folded blanket on it remain untouched.

Said team leader -- and currently only remaining team member -- is at the moment hunched over a hypermodern console projecting several holodisplays. The console as well as the array of emitters mounted in the empty jail cell beside it are, to anyone familiar enough to tell, obviously Tony Stark's handiwork, but Tony is nowhere to be seen. There's only Steve here, looking worn and frazzled but at least comfortable in a plain black t-shirt, blue jeans, and combat boots. His iconic shield is leaning against the side of the console, and his hand is in his hand, thumb and middle finger rubbing slowly at his temples.

B does not look exactly like she belongs here among the blandly-dressed agents and austere institutional surroundings. Bright and colorful, today, she's in a short silver skirt over thicker leggings, metallic purple and tucked into high black and silver boots; her sweater is larger, soft black and spotted with metallic stars. She has a coat draped over one arm, a motorcycle helmet held in the opposite hand, and she peeks in at Steve a little shyly before actually approaching. "Um --" Her smile is small, closed-lipped. "Hi. I'm -- told you asked for me."

Steve straightens up when B approaches, the weariness dropping away as he drops his hand from his head. His face does something complicated when his eyes light on her, and it's hard to pick a single emotion out of his expression until it settles on relief. "Ms. Holland," he says, at only a very slightly delay, smiling warm and polite now. "Thank you for coming so quickly, especially after all you've been through. I'm sorry we didn't meet under better circumstances -- somehow." He rises from the stool he had been sitting in. "Tony told me you were the gal -- woman he needed to help us figure this thing out, but I heard plenty about you before then."

"Well. My schedule hasn't exactly been packed lately. And I guess I have you to thank for -- being out here at all." B moves closer to the console, gently setting down her things before she takes a seat on a stool by his. "I've heard a little about you, too." Her hands fold in her lap, enormous black eyes fixing on Steve. "... mostly from Ba so that might be a little biased. Um." She swivels in the seat, looking at the console. "Mr. Stark might have too much faith, portals to -- another -- dimension," she still sounds veeery tentative on this part, "are kind of new to me too. Is this thing --" She waves a hand towards the console, "what made it eat your team?"

"You never should have been in there to begin with." Steve's jaw is tight and his tone tighter. "Shouldn't have taken this..." His head dips slightly. Shakes. Then he blinks at her. "'Ba'...?" But a moment later his eyes clear with understanding. "I've mostly heard about you from Jax, too. I'm sure most good fathers have no end of praise for their -- children, but he tends to be on-point with his." His smile goes faintly self-conscious, here. "Now, Tony isn't just on point with his praise, he's ah -- downright stingy with it, so I imagine you'll catch up faster than I did." To her question he nods, left hand turning up gracefully toward the console in front of them. "This -- setup was meant to close the rift, beyond which I honestly can't tell you much other than that it uh..." He swats at the holodisplay vaguely, and it switches to showing a nightmarishly complex line graph. "...appears to run on some form of electricity."

"I made the Sentinels." B shrugs a shoulder. Hooks one knee up higher, arm curling around it. "Don't expect they've looked for any accountability on the Guardians, no matter how many..." Her gills flutter quickly, and her gaze shifts rapidly aside toward the displays. Then back to Steve, her ridged brows hiking higher. "No kidding? Mr. Stark tell you that much himself?" The flutter of her gills is slower this time, one webbed hand lifting to start flicking rapidly at the holo-display. "Have you been through it?"

There's a blur of movement through the station, a small rush that ends with DJ hitching to a stop opposite B and Steve. DJ has cleaned up, changed; he has a backpack, now, a fresh warm flannel, a very new-looking brown suede jacket. His breathing quickens as he looks at B. Bows his head. "You all -- know about this stuff?" He bites at the inside of his cheek. Hesitates before looking back up. "How do I go home?"

"Yeah, it just --" Steve has plucked up his shield and -- not quite gotten it into position by the time he realizes what the movement is. Lowers it again, his other hand raised to signal he intends no violence, his eyes fixed unblinking on DJ. "Hey." His voice is soft and not altogether steady. "I'm sorry --" Then his gaze snaps to B. "That's not -- I mean he is Dawson, but..." He lets out a slow, pained breath. "...from the other side of -- that." A nod toward the empty cell in front of them. "Theoretically you could just go back through it, but we don't know what our attempt might have done to the rift, if it's still stable, or..." It seems to take an immense effort for him to look back at DJ. "I'm guess you weren't just milling about in an abandoned Staten Island police station, and my team sure sure didn't end up there, or they'd be back already."

B scrambles up from her stool, eyes wide and riveted on DJ. Her gills flutter rapidly, and even after Steve speaks it takes a while for her to so much as look away. "... what's with the beard?" comes out once she does speak. She drops heavily back onto the stool, hands bracing against the edge of the console. "I've gotten the impression your -- New York isn't exactly. The safest to go back to even if the rift was -- well. Stable."

DJ's brows lift. His hand lifts, too, rubbing at the beard, but drops again without answer. "If they went through the same place I did they have -- a long trip back. I was -- pretty far from New York." The flick of his eyes between the others is quick. "Your team." His teeth catch at the inside of his cheek, chewing briefly at it as he glances from Steve to the shield and then back. "Not -- the Avengers? Are you still with them?"

Steve nods at B. "I'm sure you know the risks better than we, and how to manage them, but -- I am worried about my people, too, and would like to know where they might have fetched up." His gaze follows DJ's to the shield. Back to the man. "...Avengers?" he echoes without the least hint of recognition, brows furrowing. "No, this team was gathered to deal with the rift, I've only been working with them a couple of weeks." His head shakes, quick. "But the thing of it is, one of them is -- our Tony Stark."

"What is an Avenger that sounds --" B's nose wrinkles up, her attention very deliberately pulling from DJ to look back toward the display. "Kind of edgelordy. Was it like. Name brand genocide. From the reports I've read your Stark was good at that." Though her voice is a little breathier here, gills still fluttering fast.

DJ opens his mouth but then just covers it with a hand, palm dragging down against his face. "Ah -- well. It --" His mouth has pulled down into a grimace by the time he drops his hand. "Didn't start out that way. "It was a team. Supposed to be for protecting the world. You -- led them," he nods toward Steve, only a small hitch in his words delaying the rest of the sentence, "before you died. After that Stark sort of -- well. Dove into the genocide." He shifts backwards, a step closer to the empty cell, and the look he gives the others is assessing. "If they came out where I left -- I don't --" Once more his teeth catch at his cheek. "They may not have survived. I -- don't think my wife would have taken well to Stark showing up in our kitchen."

Steve goes very still. It's a subtle thing, and it passes quickly, dissolved in a deliberate breath out. His eyes flick down to DJ's in-tact right hand again, before flicking over to his left, lingering just a fraction of a second on the wedding band there. "Well, I --" He hesitates, his jaw setting tight. "I sincerely hope it did not come to blows. Not just because we need Stark here -- our Stark -- but because Bruce Banner was with them."

DJ's sudden stillness mirrors Steve's -- but only for the briefest fraction of a second, at Bruce's name. In the very next instant he is gone, flashing through the cell bars and disappearing without another word.

B exhales a long slow breath. Stares into the nothingness that is the rift -- stares at the changing readouts on her display as DJ vanishes. Finally, quiet: "Wife?"