25 February 2014
A cold night in the park.
<NYC> Tompkins Square Park - East Village
Small but popular, this tree-lined park is a perfect centerpiece to the eclectic neighborhood it resides in. Home to a number of playgrounds and courts from handball to basketball, it also houses a dog park and chess tables, providing excellent space for people watching -- especially during its frequent and often eccentric festivals, from Wigstock to its yearly Allen Ginsberg tribute Howl festival.
Alas for the brief stint of teasingly-warm weather over the weekend! February has decided to remind everyone that it is quite certainly /winter/, temperatures barely topping freezing all day long. It is frigid after nightfall, and Micah has broken all of the layers out once more: olive puffy coat, Jayne hat with earwraps beneath it, doubled-up gloves, and coils upon coils of Fourth Doctor scarf nearly hiding his face. His lined jeans are the only clothing visible beneath the outer-wear, ending in a pair of hiking boots. Evening finds Micah over in the dog park, throwing a squeaky rubber ball for an over-excited Obie to chase, the beagle's tail wagging in a blur whenever he trots back with his quarry. Apparently some well-needed puppy exercise is the excuse for being out in the cold tonight.
Over-excited might be the theme for the night; Jax is half-bouncing, half-sprinting through the park as he makes his way away from the subway. His messenger bag bounces on a hip, rattling quietly with the supplies inside. He is bright, as ever, stripy red-and-black cap pulled down over his lime-green and purple hair, silver jacket, shiny purple Doc Martens, stripy scarf and fingerless gloves to match the hat, black jeans laced corset-like up the side-seams in velvety red ribbon.
He doesn't stop at the gate to the dog park but /vaults/ himself over it, hurtling towards Micah to wrap an arm around the older man in a tiiight squeeze. Just one arm -- the other hand is occupied with a large purple steel thermos. "Micah! Obie! Two of my most favouritest people!" He's /stealing/ the ball on Obie's next return, too, to ruffle the beagle's ears and then toss it himself. "/Gosh/ we found some winter again didn't we?"
Meanwhile, a band of three birds are swooping down over the park, in some sort of plane formation. They're all pigeons, the one in the center wearing a teeny tiny ushanka (where the hell did it even get that?).
Spotting the familiar faces, the birds swoop in, landing, as the one in the hat waves a feather to halt the others. And then trots up to the trio. And speaks. "Micah! Jackson! Doggie! Hey!". Rasputin grins, under hir hat. "I am now the commander of the bird army. I can get these guys to do almost anything, like, seriously. It's amazing.".
Micah braces himself for incoming Jax, arms already held wide to fold the other man into a tight hug. "Hey, love. How was your day?" He relinquishes the ball-throwing role without complaint, letting Jax take over the never-ending game of fetch. "I didn't find nothin'. Winter tracked me down like I owe it /money/." His nose crinkles over the top of his loops of scarf. As the birds arrive, Micah watches this over Jax's shoulder, his head tilting a little to one side at the formation and a little further at the tiny hat. He nods as the lead bird /speaks/. That solves that. "Rasputin, hi. Did y'rob a tiny Russian doll?" There is probably a grin hiding under that scarf, too.
"/Do/ you owe it money because oh gosh I bet winter's got some /pretty/ nasty repo men." Jax nuzzles for a moment against the side of Micah's -- well, /scarf/, there is a lot of it to SQUISH his face into. He presses the thermos into Micah's hands -- still half-full of hot very chocolatey mocha! -- so that he can stoop to /wrestle/ Obie to the ground for the ball when the beagle returns.
"Hmwhat?" He spins on a heel after sending the ball flying towards the other end of the dog park again, stopping when the trio of birds is reflected in his oversized sunglasses. "Bird army," he echoes, amused. "/Uh/-oh, don't tell Horus. He's already co-opted your cyborg army." He nudges Micah lightly in the side with this statement. "I bet he'd love t'steal hisself a bird army too. Join forces. Take over everythin'."
"Oh man, I need to meet that Horus dude now that he's out of wherever he was. BIRDS 4EVER." Rasputin grins again. "Yeah, it was crazy. I was talking to Dusk and the telepath whose name I keep forgetting, and these birds started stalking me. And I accidentally sicced 'em on a guy. Now they'll listen to me! Only when I'm in a bird body, though. I don't know much about my powers but I think I got like, a Level Up?” Rasputin grins again.
"Yeah, stole this off one of those things. Shows my commanderness."
"Fortunately, no. 'Less y'count the heatin' bill," Micah amends ruefully. He accepts the Thermos, all the better to /steal/ mocha goodness. It's fairly immediate that he's unscrewing the container to pour a small serving into the lid. He half-blows, half /giggles/ over the steaming surface of the hot liquid as he observes Jax's antics. "Got an appointment at the Clinic for 'im later this week. Hopefully we can get 'im back /in/ the cyborg army sooner rather'n later usin' their medical equipment fund. Provided he /goes/ t'the appointment. Y'all are hard folks t'convince t'doctorin'...riskin' extremes of understatement. Would've been a good idea either way after that /experience/." He nods at Rasputin's desire to meet Horus. "Surprised y'all /ain't/ met before. Seems like you'd travel in similar circles."
"He hangs out on the roof a lot," Jax advises Rasputin cheerfully, waving a hand back towards their building. "Could probably find him sooner or later if y'search up high. He ain't probably quite as skittish 'round bird-you as he is 'round most people. -- Wait, sicced?" His nose crinkles up, though from his grin this looks more amused than shocked. "Should -- /probably/ be careful with that, yeah? I mean, army'a birds could get pretty devastatin', you give 'em the wrong ideas."
He grimaces at the mention of the heating bill. "-- Oh /gosh/ winter's been kinda murder for the gas bill don't remind me. I hardly even want to look at that thing each month. An' I always run the electric up like nobody's business." He ducks his head sheepishly at that, scuffing a toe against the ground with no small measure of guilt for his ridiculous plethora of lights and sunlamps at home. "I'm jus' hoping," he adds lightly, "that doctoring all kinda balances /out/ so everyone /else/ goin' to so-crazy-much doctorin' means our collective doctor-quota's full-up an' I get to weasel out a while longer."
"Eh, can't control that many. As far as I know, three at a time is my limit." Rasputin grins, before walking back into formation, a wave to the two. "Well then, I'll have to try and meet him sometime. TALLY, HO!".
The Echo Squadron takes off, UP UP AND AWAYYY!
"Mmn, yeah. We definitely don't want a Hitchcock situation. S'bad for all involved." Micah shudders slightly at the mental images /that/ conjures up. "An' y'need all the light, hon. S'like /food/ for you. Nobody fusses at folks for needin' t'eat, an' I'm not gonna fuss at you for your lights. Wouldn't mind spring hurryin' along a little bit, though." He takes a long drink from the Thermos cap before stepping closer to Jax, bumping his shoulder into the other man's. "/Mightn't/ hurt t'have some leadin' by example on the doctorin' front, actually. I know y'can do it. Y'made it through the whole...zombie plague experience. I'd go with you, y'know." He lifts his cap-cup in a sort of farewell salute as the bird squadron flies off.
"Oh, folks fuss at the pups plenty for needin' to eat," Jackson says with light amusement, "an' I been plenty used t'fussin' on account of --" He shakes his head, stooping to swipe Obie's ball; he waves his hand, ball still held in it, as the birds take off. "-- I don't know I think when your dietary requirements are all /kindsa/ outta the norm folks feel well enough justified in givin' flak over 'em."
He rests his shoulder back up against Micah's, turning to nuzzle his face in against the oversized scarf again. "OK that was /necessary/ doctorin', we had a whole world kinda at stake there. -- Ohgosh. Ohgosh Micah, you noticed s'/cold/ out here?" Against Micah's side, he shivers and presses closer, radiating his usual complement of heat but evidently not much warmed /himself/ by it.
"Guess I ain't 'folks', then. People gotta eat, for goodness sake." Micah curls an arm around Jax's shoulders when he nuzzles close. "World at stake or not, y'proved y'could handle it, hon. Ain't like I expect you t'have t'go often. Once or twice a year, tops." Snuggling even closer, he offers the remainder of the cap-cup of mocha back to Jax. "No, really? S'cold?" he answers, tone clearly teasing, eyebrows lifted playfully. "Obie was fit t'burst if he didn't get a good run in, or I'd be back inside already. Wanna head home?"
"Once or twice a year's still /infinitely/ more doctorin' than I tend towards when there /ain't/ a world at stake," Jackson says with an exaggerated /huff/. "I /know/ doctors, they're horrible folks what take your /eyes/ out an' lop your fingers off if y'don't cooperate."
He leans more heavily into Micah's side, lifting his hand to take the cup and down the rest of the mocha. "I'm gonna steal /all/ your warm when we get in just so's you're forewarned. -- Though I'd'a done that anyway," he allows cheerfully, stooping to collect Obie's ball again but this time just rest it atop his bag, "ain't like I hardly need much excuse t'get my hands on you. -- S'Shane home?" he suddenly adds, turning on a heel to face across the park towards their building. "He weren't at school all day."
"Jackson, that's hardly fair," Micah scolds at the villainish characterisation of doctors. "That was creepy government lab doctors. Ain't near the same as your average real-world doctor. /Most/ of 'em take that whole Hippocratic Oath thing serious. An' you /know/ doctors as ain't like that. I certainly know plenty who're out t'/help/ folks." He gives Jax's shoulders another squeeze before moving to clip Obie's leash on for the walk home. "He wasn't? Again?" The disappointment is clear in his voice. "We just...had this talk again. I wish he wouldn't keep givin' /up/ on everythin'." He puffs a breathy sigh into his scarf. "How does he seem t'you...when y'talk to 'im an' I'm not there? I'm not sure how much of what I'm gettin' from 'im is on account of /me/ an' how much's actually /him/."
"OK but those creepy government lab doctors had t'come from somewhere, right? I mean they didn't go to creepy government lab doctor school they just gone to /regular/ old doctor school and prob'ly did regular old doctorin' afore they got hired on to torture folks so it don't /inspire/ a lotta trust." Jax stays tucked in close to Micah's side as Obie is re-leashed, taking the thermos back and slipping his free hand into Micah's non-leash-bearing one. "He seems -- stressed. An' not always real happy. An' --" His brows crease, breath exhaled heavily. "I'm fair concerned 'bout him. I mean -- I think you kinda been gettin' the /worst/ of it when he flares up lately but it /ain't/ just you. I mean, he's takin' it out on you a lot, but even when s'just the two of us he's. Not. /Happy/."
"That's true, honey, but you're treatin' the exception as the rule. I know it's hard. When the exception was...what it /was/. But y'gotta work with these folks. I'll be with you the whole time when y'do go. Promise." Micah's hand squeezes back at Jax's as best it can through its double layer of gloves. "I'm not upset with 'im. If he needs t'vent at somebody, I'd rather it be me than...his teachers or classmates or random folks. I just...worry. He keeps talkin' about droppin' out of school as soon as he turns 17. Or at least as soon as B finishes. An' he /won't/ apply 'imself to it at all. S'got 'imself convinced that everythin's hopeless. No school or jobs or internships. He doesn't want anythin' t'do with any of the places we /know/ employ people with physical mutations. When I try t'be supportive, he thinks I'm bein' naive 'cause I'm not...like you all. An' when I try t'give 'im practical advice, he acts like I'm tellin' 'im he'll never be good for anythin'." He looks skyward, shaking his head slowly. "I just don't know what t'do. An' things...ain't been the same since Mel told us she was pregnant. Think he's angry at me for bein' supportive of her. An' for tellin' 'im /not/ t'tell her t'kill that baby when it's so far along an' she's decided t'keep it. Not sure which upset 'im more."
Micah chews at his lip, though this may not be visible at all through layers of scarf. "Has he brought up t'you that he wants t'buy Evolve an' open it back up? I didn't even...discourage the idea. Just told 'im with 'im bein' so young an' havin' no business experience, he'd need t'get a business partner who's of legal age an' who has the required knowledge t'keep the whole thing from collapsin'. You'd've thought I'd /slapped/ 'im the way he responded to it."
"I'm healthy, though. I don't really need no doctorin' anyway." Jackson tips the cap back onto his thermos one-handed, slowly screwing it back on as they walk. "This whole thing with Mel did upset him somethin' /fierce/." His teeth scrape against his lower lip, the heavy breath he lets out frosting thickly into the air. "It's just hard to -- I mean, everything those boys've been through, I've honestly been surprised he been goin' as long as he /has/ without some kinda breakdown. S'jus' hard to know how to convince him to keep some faith in the world when the world seems to have been doin' its level best to stomp it outta him his whole life long." His hand tightens in Micah's, and he rocks to a brief stop to tip his head in a puzzled cant at this last. "-- Evolve? He ain't said nothin' 'bout -- seriously? I mean, it'd be cool if /someone/ did but -- since when's he -- I mean, how would he even -- I mean. Is he serious?"
"An' regular doctorin' helps make sure y'stay healthy an' gets you a good baseline t'know what's goin' on if you ever /aren't/ healthy. 'Specially for a person with unique physiology, it's important t'know what's /normal/ for you." Micah's hand squeezes against Jax's again. "I want you t'be here an' healthy as long as y'can be. Selfish that way." He brings the hand up to his lips, brushing a kiss to its knuckles, gloves or no. "It's just hard t'watch 'im limit 'is own options even further. When the world wants t'limit 'em enough already." He shrugs slightly at the question of how serious Shane is. "It seemed like it was a /new/ idea for 'im, but he did sound real serious about it. Enough that he was pretty /hurt/ when I tried t'temper 'is plans a bit. He wanted to...buy the place an' /then/ figure out what t'do with it. Food service industry's risky when you /know/ what you're doin' an' you're old enough t'sign contracts an' y'/aren't/ caterin' to a limited an'...unpopular audience. With high security needs."
Jax wrinkles up his nose at the continued talk of doctoring, squeezing gently at Micah's hand again with that small kiss but /totally subtly/ -- ignoring the doctor-talk and moving straight on to Shane. "I mean. OK on a scale of one to crazy it's probably not really all that much /worse/ than B marchin' up to Io an' /informing/ Io that he needed t'hire him. At least -- when it comes to plungin' into jobs way outta your depth of experience. We know -- people in food service, right? He could. Talk to them about --" He scowls, though, exhaling heavily again. "Only but /Evolve/ that place is askin' for trouble." The scowl doesn't last long before he's just back to thoughtful: "... it sounds like a positive, though, him talkin' serious about doin' /anything/ at all with his future though, yeah?"
"Goin' into business for yourself's a much riskier prospect than just acceptin' employment that's a little out of your experience. Y'gotta be able t'keep the whole ship runnin' or you go down with it. An' this is a...tricky ship." Micah nods once. "He /was/ excited, an' it was good t'see. I wouldn't object to 'im doin' it, but that he'd need someone who has experience in the field an' is old enough t'sign contracts an' such t'sign on with 'im. If they're plannin' on runnin' the club an' havin' a liquor license, would be /preferable/ for that person t'be over 21, too." He gives Jax a little sidewise look. "Don't s'pose y'got any friends who're up for a risky business venture? Trouble's gonna be that this place is a hard sell. S'why it's been just /sittin'/ there as it is."
Jackson digs in his bag for keys as they approach the street, fingers a little numb as he pulls them out. "S'gonna be a real tricky ship. But -- I mean, t'ain't like he's gonna be left out on the streets if he fails at this. S'gonna have a roof over his head an' three squares a day even if his business ideas jus' crash an' burn --" He grimaces at this turn of phrase. "-- gosh though hopefully not /literally/ again. Uh. Not that that means we still shouldn't encourage him t'do all proper plannin' an' go into this prepared an' eyes-open, jus'. Ain't gonna be the end'a his world if he screws up, neither." He teeters on the edge of the curb until a pair of taxis pass, taking advantage of a lull in traffic to hasten across towards their building and badge the door open, holding it for Micah. "Friends with business experience who're crazy on /top/? I mean, I can ask 'round. Helps I don't even /know/ anyone sane, I guess."
"I just don't want 'im puttin' all 'is eggs in this basket an' then...havin' it fail spectacularly. He doesn't give 'imself much hope of things. Could be devastatin' if he finally /tries/ an' it falls apart around 'im. I'd like t'set 'im up t'have a /chance/ of success if he wants t'try it." Micah takes the Thermos back to free up Jax's hands for key-searching. "He ain't gotta lotta hope. /Can/ be world-endin' t'have what little is there get squashed." He turns back slightly once he passes through the door, so he can still see Jax. "Crazy'd prob'ly be a bonus in this case, yeah."
"That's -- true." Jax gnaws on his lip at this, still shivering even once they're inside in the warmth and the door has shut behind him. He glances towards the stairwell door, and then across the lobby towards the mailboxes. "-- y'got the mail yet, hon?" is an absent question, keys jingling still in his hand. "'kay. So I guess we look into crazy entrepreneurs we know an' also see about gettin' him maybe some kinda business classes. Some'a the community colleges 'round here'll let you take all /kindsa/ stuff online even."
"Yep. Nothin' /too/ strange t'day," Micah replies to the mail question, moving to the stairwell to hold the door for Jax this time. "I'd love t'see 'im do somethin' like that as dual enrollment. If he could get credit at XS for takin' college business courses, an' get credit for whatever job he's workin' as an internship or work study? Might be he'd actually finish with 'is diploma. An' it would be /such/ a help for 'im t'have if he's lookin' for other people t'hire 'im ever. S'hard t'do much as a drop-out. People just assume y'got no follow-through an' don't go past the resume stage usually. 'Less you're lookin' t'work fast food or dishwashin' at minimum wage forever."
Jax slips his keys back into his bag at this assurance, trotting after Micah into the stairwell. "Oh, gosh, that'd be a blessing. I mean, if he's set on leavin' school I ain't gonna /force/ him but I think he'll come t'regret it down the road. /He/ don't seem to think so but he is /way/ too bright to spend his life workin' jobs like that, he'll go crazy. Crazier. He's brilliant, just needs -- to give himself a chance t'show it. I'll talk t'him about it. An' the school. Cuz regular school don't really seem t'be workin' for him but maybe a less traditional path --" He opens the top flap of his bag to slip his thermos back inside along with Obie's ball, teeth a little chattery as he rests his hand heavily on the staircase railing to start pulling himself up the stairs.
"Prob'ly time t'talk t'the administration about...maybe settin' up a more vocational trainin' path. I'm sure Shane ain't the only kid who has these concerns." Micah chuckles a little after he proposes this. "They sick of me over there yet? Feel like I ain't been nothin' but poppin' up t'tell 'em what things they /should/ be doin' since I moved in here." He settles in at Jax's side opposite the railing to give him a little more support in going up the stairs. "Let's get you some sunlamps an' sugar. Looks like you're startin' t'fade a little."
"Psh Micah we're a posh boardin' school dealin' with hovery parents, /pretty/ much par for the /course/." Jax slips his hand around Micah's elbow gratefully, tipping his head in to press a kiss to the other man's temple. "Mmm. /And/ I'm puttin' my hands all over you. Don't forget that part, s'important."