ArchivedLogs:Catnip

From X-Men: rEvolution
Catnip
Dramatis Personae

Ghost, Jax, Jim, Melinda, Tola, Violet

2014-06-18


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Location

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Courtyard - Lower East Side


This courtyard is the lush central hub of the surrounding Harbor Commons, bound in on three sides by rows of duplexes and triplexes, cutting upward at the sky with the sharp thrift of a minimalist's style, neat lines and bountiful windows, boldened with accents in wood towards the upper stories, stone towards the base, the whole of the compound sealed in by a low stoneworked wall that opens entrance gates to the streets beyond at its two far corners, smaller gates at building back doors.

The fourth side of the courtyard is open to the East River, the ground forming a slight decline, controlled on one side by micro-retaining walls to form wide steps where picnic tables sit beneath the nominative shelter of a trio of dogwood trees, accessible by ramp. The other side is allowed to slope at its natural angle, a wide open yard space, until its cut off at the river's edge, where a massive pair of oak trees stand, a staircase leading away up one of their thick trunks.

The yard itself is carpeted in an organic flow of emerald grass swirled through with wending channels of smooth-paved cement walkways, flowing naturally away from the building's front entrances, where some are arced by trellis, some flanked by hosta plants, fern and lilies, a few laid in gentle switch-backing ramps for wheelchair access, before forking off at matching angles to sites of small garden installments. Bird feeders and baths suspended from the necks of small lamp posts, a rock-lined koi pond, a sleek gazebo tucked to one side in simplistic varnished wood, its southern side overgrown with a mass of thriving grapevine and a caged-in barbecue pit under its sheltering roof. A play area and proper garden are within sight off another branch, until finally all paths spiral in like wheel spokes to a shared common house at the center of all traffic flow.

Another toasty-warm day, with temperatures predicted to climb up to ninety though here before noon it hasn't quite reached /there/ yet. Jackson /will/ be heading off to work soon enough -- not that you can tell from his attire. Heavily paint-splattered jeans, a bright yellow Funshine Bear t-shirt -- at the moment he's eschewing /shoes/, his sneakers and socks set off to the side of the gazebo. He is perched sitting /on/ the wall at the edge of the gazebo, facing outward rather than in, heels swinging lightly against the wood. A pen spins in a rapid blur, twirled deftly forward and back between his fingers. /In/ the gazebo there's the remainders of -- brunch? Very late breakfast? Strawberry waffles and hash browns and tofu scramble together with a pitcher of sweet tea whose ice is rapidly melting. At the moment Jax is engaged in conversation with the purple-skinned teenager out here with him, an easy smile on his pierced lips. "-- Can't really make the /most/ solid promises when it comes to Mir, ze's kinda -- reclusive? But I think ze's more likely to help for someone from hir lab than just. Some random stranger. So I'll give hir your contact info."

While sunbathing might be one of Violet's favorite hobbies, safe spaces to do so are at a premium in the city. That fact has led her back to the Commons garden--in spite of the lack of catnip in the garden--in order to take up residence in one of the oak trees. For a time she'd stretched leopard-like on one of the branches, one leg and her tail trailing down, the other leg and her arms tucked in under her. She's stripped down to a dull tank top, a pair of black boy-cut shorts; her other clothes are piled among the oak's roots. The combination of hot weather and sun-dappled shadows has left her in a drowsy frame of mind but not so drowsy that she doesn't--after an hour or so of this--finally crack one orange eye open to peer sleepy like over at the gazebo. The owner of the voice heard is found and finding Jax there leads, a moment later, to the catgirl simply rolling from the branch and dropping to the ground to begin ambling in that direction. As she goes, she yawns...immensely.

Ghost smiles, nodding. Definitely very noticably a mutant, purple skin and yellow eyes, dressed for the weather in a gray t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans, without shoes but none in sight either, Ghost replies with a grin. "Either way, thank you! It's atleast worth trying contacting hir, I'd say.". She brushes her hand through her long brown hair, looking around. "Place is really nice. Much better better than the Lofts, in my opinion!".

Mel comes wandering out of her building wearing a bright blue bikini top and a black and purple sarong around her waist, the positioning of the sarong is perhaps a little high, hiding some of the stretch marks that peek out from above the fabric. Mel's feet are bare and she looks a little exhausted, dark circles under her eyes, the cause of that perhaps being the little green child in her arms. The child is a little wilted, wearing nothing but a diaper, her own petals plastered to hir head. The kid raises an arm and wipes at an eyebrow with her wrist or her finger - it's hard to tell from the clumsy way in which she does it. Mel responds by misting Tola with the spray bottle in her other hand. Initially heading toward the river, she starts veering away when she sees people at the gazebo.

"It /is/ better than the Lofts. Mostly on account'a Hive kinda customized it for everyone special. I guess in some way we got the zombies to thank for that." Though Jax has a distinct /grimace/ at this notion. "I mean, would never'a gotten this property so cheap if not --" There's a faint shiver, the light dimming around him briefly. "But s'home, now. Which is pretty rad." He curls his fingers around the wooden wall so that he can lean back and swipe a quarter-waffle (gone cold, now) off the plates behind him.

He misses Violet's descent but notices her approach when he straightens back up, sunglass-shaded gaze turning towards the catgirl and his brows lifting. Surprised but not displeased -- at least, his smile doesn't fade. "Woah, hey. You're --" He glances from Violet out towards the river. "-- here." This is a little more puzzled, though still amiable enough. "You visitin' someone?" He waggles his piece-of-waffle in hello to Mel and Tola. "I got lemonade," he offers, in addendum. "Think it's still fair cold."

Violet /is/ here. And in the manner of her people, she does not hesitate to make herself at home. Dark fingers are waggled in sequence at Jax, with an accompanying grin to match that leaves the tips of her pointed canines dimpling her lower lip. But this is a greeting given as she oozes past the seated pair to look over the spread on the table. A chunk of hash browns is nabbed switchly, pinched between her fingers to be popped into her mouth. "Not looking but got told I could visit," she says through this mouthful, continuing to circle the table. "Skinny fella with a cane and the guy with wings, yeah?" These credentials offered, she lets her gaze wander on to the incoming woman'n'baby--the latter's greenness causing a pause, and the pricking up of her ears.

Ghost also missed Violet, turning towards her as she approaches. "Oh, hello! Didn't see you approach there.". She tips her head, introducing herself. "I'm Ghost. Nice to meet you.".

Ghost nods to Jax, a grimace herelf. "Yeah. Didn't mean to bring that up. Maybe once I'm settled with everything I'll eventually apply o live here. Can't stay at the school forever!". Ghost waves a hand to Mel and Tola herself, smiling.

"Mmmm. Lemonade. Thank you, love." Melinda comes wandering in to the gazebo, leaning toward Jax as she passes him to press more of her cheek to his as opposed to her actual lips to greet him. "Brunch? Mind if I make some of these leftovers disappear too?" She gives a little nod to Ghost and Violet, setting down her spray bottle as she checks out what is on the tables. "It's a service, right? How will you store food for your next meal if you have so many leftovers taking up space?" Brows raised, she smiles as she questions, turning her attention back to Violet when she seems to take interest in the baby. "If skinny, cane guy and Wings said she should come by, then she has to be welcome." Whether the food is offered to her or not, she settles down on one of the chairs inside the gazebo, settling Tola in a different position, her arm getting hot.

"Food's gone cold but y'all're welcome t'whatever. S'um -- strawberry waffles an' kinda. Basily -- mushroomy -- scramble." Jax shrugs, waving a hand in genric invitation to -- everyone, really. "Skinny cane guy. We got a /couple/ winged boys around was that birdy or batty? They both hang out with Hive." He nibbles at his waffle, legs swinging again. "S'a great place t'live," he says cheerfully to Ghost. "Once y'get work figured out I'm sure that'd be -- well. Probably helpful t'find a roommate though. But there's a passel'a folks graduated just recent so that probably won't be too hard." His smile brightens at the mention of leftovers. "Mel we got a /industrial/ kitchen now! We got so much room for leftovers. -- There's community dinner on Thursday," he adds this lightly to Violet. "If y'swing by, eveningtime."

"Vi," says the cat woman. It is an all-purpose introduction; everyone may partake or not as they choose. But Ghost receives a finger wiggle similar to that offered to Jax a moment ago. Then she too is occupying a chair, swinging it backwards to settle with arms folded across the back rung. Her tail trails down behind her, its tip performing an idle back and forth flick. A perfect vantage from which to observe and to reach out to hook the edge of the hashbrown platter. Draaaaaaag. "He was batty, yeah. Served up some pie...hey, that peach with the basil, good stuff, fella." Thursdays? An absent nod marks the date but her eyes continue wandering back to Tola.

"Yeah, once I'm working I'll hit anyone up and see if we want to go in together.". Ghost moves to snatch up a waffle, taking a quick bite. And then snatching one of the hashbrowns from the platter Vi is stealing. Snatch. "I'm guessing Wings might be Dusk, but not sure?".

"You're likely to get more out of the industrial kitchen than I am," Mel counters with a grin, fishing out a bit of strawberry waffle and adding a touch of fresh maple syrup. She folds it in half and raises it to her lips like a breakfast taco, but pauses. "I'm Mel, and this little sprout is Tola." The child is not just green, but she has flower petals growing out of her scalp in the place of hair. The petals are longish and white, but none are more than a half inch long right now. The child is drowsy in this heat, but hir dark green eyes shift toward the cat girl as she stares and stares back in her way, an arm waggled at her. "Yeah, Batty probably means Dusk."

"Dusk's /totally/ batty." There's a small flash of amused smile across Jax's face with this announcement. "Oh hey! You ate my cobbler -- wait. Did you eat m'pie too?" Now he laughs, stifling the sound against his knuckles. "Dusk totally raids m'kitchen when I ain't home. Actually now that I think about it," he tips his head back as though searching the sky with this consideration, "a /lotta/ folks raid m'kitchen when I ain't home. Maybe I'll start leavin' /my/ leftovers in the common --" He waves his hand off towards the common house. "-- Wait." He looks back to Vi with a sudden lift of brows. "Are /you/ why Dusk asked me t'plant catnip in the gardens? Cuz catnip tea's good for menstrual complaints but I don't think those plague him much. /An'/ he don't got no cats."

"Dusk, that's the one. 'N Hive, yeah." Violet, between staring at the bebe, is making serious inroads into the hashbrowns. With her fingers, sadly, but unsheathed claws make excellent skewers. After licking a bit of grease from them, she waggles them at Tola while wearing the most solemn of expressions--though the easy flick of her ears and tail makes it but a mask. Possibly to avoid flashing sharp teeth at the infant. Attention is snared away only by mention of catnip because /of course/. Theeere's the teeth, coming with a needle-sharp grin. "...might've said I'd be by more if they fixed that with the hippies."

"Well, it might help more people decide to take you up on leftovers if they are in the free space, but some how, Jax, I'm imagining you deciding to take over feeding the whole development and that's a full time job." Mel takes a bite of the delicious waffle and falls silent for a little while, observing the conversation between Vi and Jax for a moment. "Goodness. You're just meeting someone and finding out that she's already had your cooking. And is making garden requests?" she shakes her head, stretching out to grab a cup and the lemonade pitcher, filling the former up with the contents of the latter. "Green babies are pretty fascinating, I agree, but I don't think she's made out of catnip."

"Noooo I'm not -- taking over /that/. I have community dinner this week but I'm definitely not doing it more than a couple times a /month/. There are plenty of other good cooks around here. -- I baked cobbler for Evolve," Jax adds in explanation of Violet already having his cooking. He tips his gaze back to Tola thoughtfully. "/Could/ she be made out of catnip? I mean if she takes after her dad enough maybe she could be catnip if she /wanted/ to be."

"Met him before. He got me a corndog," Violet says of her relationship with Jax. "And his boy offered the cobbler." What? It's /their/ fault for offering the stray cat all of the foods. She appears to have finished with the hashbrowns though. The platter is nudged away, leaving her free to fold her arms atop the back of the chair again. Her chin settles upon the platform they create and a sleepy blink wings towards Melinda. "Ain't never seen a baby born like I was before," she says, drawl stronger now that she's at rest. "I was fuzzier. /Could/ she be catnip?" She will wait to offer babysitting services until the answer is heard.

"I should get going, have plans later. Which way is your restroom?". Ghost asks towards..pretty much anyone who would know, as she lifts herself out of the chair, and once told the location of it, heads towards the restroom before parting completely not long after.

"At this point in her life, no. She's going about it all differently than Jim did. We have no idea if she'll develop transformative powers or not. She's just a kid with the same color skin and same type of petals every day." Mel gives a little shrug and takes a sip of the lemonade, her throat clearing up a little bit, improving a little with moisture. "I'll let you know if she does, but right now, I think we're waiting on teeth first, then greenery... If... she has teeth. Who knows. I'm taking it as it comes." When Ghost speaks up again, she considers for a moment, but stays seated, letting one of the more mobile types take care of the restroom issue. Lugging babies around in this weather is exhausting.

"Ain't a whole lotta them, s'true. My pups was born fishy an' blue but --" Jax shrugs a shoulder, sliding down off the gazebo wall to start stacking dishes back onto the tray he brought them /out/ on. "Oh gosh I can show you t'mine, honey-honey," he answers Ghost -- he leaves the jug of lemonade but is clearing away the rest, with Violet apparently done with hashbrowns. "I gotta get t'work nohow." He leans in to peck Mel on the cheek, chin tipping in a nod to Violet. "See y'round, m'sure."

Tola loses some of her shine for Violet with that revelation but she nods easily, accepting, still curious enough to study the baby with her petal hair. Ghost's going sees her looking away finally, and then Jax too...the catgirl lifts her chin in a very human jerk of goodbye. "Can't stay away from proper Southern hospitality, nope," she confirms. Hospitality which includes reaching for a single pancake, to roll up and nibble on. This time, when her gaze comes to settle, it's upon Melinda. The next question is bold but simple: "So what do /you/ do?"

Out in the gazebo, there is the remnants of a brunch laid out, not necessarily to spoil, but to feed the Harbor Commons vultures. Mel is seated in the shade, wearing a bright blue bikini top with a black and purple sarong around her waist, a small green baby resting against her torso, moved from arm to arm every so often to keep the pair from getting to warm on this ultimately toasty day. The mother is still working on waffle taco, distracted perhaps by the way the cat girl next to her is intently asking questions. She grabs a spray bottle from the table and mists the air around herself and particularly the baby as she considers. "I run a restaurant over in SoHo. It's more of a cafe, but it's similar in practice. Fewer waiters, less cook to order. How about you? What do you do?"

Violet wears but a grimy tank top and a pair of boy-cut shorts, leaving the rest of her fur-covered body in display. Beneath that layer of black and cinnamon she /must/ be hot but she shows a content sort of relaxation in her posture, seated backwards on a chair with her tail swaying behind and one arm on the chair's back. She has a pancake or waffled rolled up in one hand and is nibbling on it while studying Melinda and the baby. Pumpkin orange eyes blink slowly at the answer received. "I get around," she says in lieu of occupation. "Ain't met a normal here yet, I meant. You got anything hidin' in there?" Fingertips are dabbled in the other woman's direction, indicating her person.

Slow and ponderous, movement from a distant installation of trees branches off and approaches with heavy rooted footfalls and the rustle and scrape of branches like a scene from a bad horror movie. Jim's clothes aren't much better off than Violet's, a battered wife beater and cargo shorts, bar foot and at first only nominally humanoid. More like a swampthing topiary, brown and green and bristling with branches above and trailing slimy ropes of green algae from his legs. Some of it withdraws the nearer he gets but not all. Like the new girl would BE so lucky, "The fuck, we got strays?" His voice rasps out as he clumps nearer, starkly HUMAN blue eyes locked, not on the feline visitor but on MELINDA'S FIRST BORN CHILD. The forests have come to reclaim her. Arms all out and grabby.

"Oh. You were asking about a mutation." Melinda might have flushed embarrassed, but the day is stupidly hot and energy is limited. She's probably already as flushed as her blood vessels will comfortably allow. They're reserving the real red for sunstroke. "Nope. I don't do anything. I might be rare right now, some sort of boring normal, but once the apartments go up for rent, I'm sure we'll find a fair few others." She takes a bite out of her waffle and chews quietly, resting the griddle cake on a plate as she switches over to lemonade once more. She looks over at Jim as she is sipping and finishes quickly before setting down her cup and using both arms to handover the sproutling. "Yep. Strays. We're always going to have strays." She stands to help the transition, offering a quiet, "she's a little wilty," during the actual exchange. When her hands are free, she raises an eyebrow at the plant man. "You want a spritzing?"

"Nothin' wrong with normal," the catgirl begins to say. But. Hey. Hey look, that tree is moving. It's /walking/. Violet goes very, very still as she observes the shambling topiary man on his course towards the gazebo. Ears pricked, pupils pulsing wide, she actually scrunches down in the chair to watch Jim approach from a lower vantage. Tree man. Green baby. Back and forth she looks between the three, and though her tail begins a restless lashing evidence of being about to lunge--or run--fades. "More like this stray's done added ya'll to her rotation," she points out, tucking her ears back again. Possession; it is a tricky business. "Hey."

"Hit me," Jim grunts re: a fine misting. He has the eye nearest to Melinda already scrunching up to prepare for it. Spray him, Mel. Spray him like a misbehaving CAT. His expression and mannerism doesn't change much for holding the little greenling, flat-expressioned and not looking at her. Nevermind that he's placed her /proprietarily/ against one shoulder where a bed of swampy moss and a few encircling vines secure her. And seem to... spread to her. Where they touch, her green coloration grows faintly more vibrant. "Hey yourself," he doesn't sit. Just freaking stands there, EYEING the hunkered feline shape and those massive shiny kitty eyes. Possibly with mister water just DRIPPING unminded down the side of his face, he gruffs, "You start scentmarking and I'm putting up nettles." Which apparently leads just as brusquely into, "You gotta name?"

Melinda nods, giving Violet a small smile during the conversation about being 'normal.' She is perhaps a little distracted by the presence of the babydaddy. She's attentive, her eyes scanning his mossy, woody surface for parts that might require more misting than others, then turning back to the table for the spraybottle. "No, I don't suppose there's anything wrong with being normal. I am surprised that you haven't met more like me - but that could have something to do with what you've been up to. Spending a lot of time at Evolve?"

Tola doesn't necessarily perk up when given to her father, but instead relaxes limply into his embrace, nuzzling the mosses that grow to greet her and winding her fingers in his vines. With the greening comes a satisfied smile.

"Oh," Mel speaks up as she starts covering Jim with a fine mist of water, making sure to saturate the mosses more so than the barks. She also sprays him square in the face a couple times, letting some spill over on her daughter. "I believe that if you wish to be properly adopted by this stray, you should plant her some catnip."

Violet does not dignify talk of scent-marking with a response. She /does/ give a dainty little sneeze-snort, a 'snfrt' that dismisses the possibility, before hooding her eyes to resume lazy gazing instead of wide-eyed I'ma pounce you staring. "Vi. Can /you/ be catnip?" is her question for Jim after watching the way his shoulder develops non-tree growths. Yes, yes, she and Melinda are on the same wavelength. It is an Important Matter--but not so important that she can't touch on one previously mentioned. "Y'know," she says with a dismissive ear flick. "Around. Evolve. The docks. Coney Island. Don't talk to /too/ many folks, just my good luck the ones I do have the ffff--" Don't say food, don't say freaky... "Friendlies."

"Sounds like a fucking medical condition." Jim can sound crotchety all he wants, but he is serious-business basking in Melinda's hosedown. His own laden swampy leaves seem to just faintly rise towards the water, shimmering his crusty ass in a veil of dew drops and unlikely shreds of rainbow. It's all pretty ratty. "You gonna pay me?" He fires right back, INTENDING to only swell a few scalloped catnip leaves from one palm, but kind of... infesting that whole arm and shoulder with a peppering of smaller shoots. "You been hydrating?" Suddenly shot at Melinda. Like an ACCUSATION. Suddenly staring badly at her reddened skin.

Wealth o' catnip! A deluge! A plethora! And faced with it, Violet undergoes that same transformation from lounging kitty to kitty about to attack. She /quivers/ with sudden alertness, sniffing at Jim--but before instinct can counteract good sense, and leave her lunging for a man cradling an infant, she bounces to her feet. To go /the other way/. And go she does, without comment or preamble, vaulting planters, the pool and assorted obstacles with little visible effort. Whoosh!

Melinda notices the change in Violet's behavior and sidles in between her and the baby. Happily, there is no real issue, as Vi heads in the other direction. She purses her lipw and turns her gaze on Jim as if this was some how his faux pas. She shakes her head and spritzes herself in the face before settling back into a seated position, taking another sip of lemonade. "Yeah, I'm trying. Tove's out today and we fell asleep with the windows closed and the AC off. The apartment is cooling down now. We're getting some of the cool breeze off the river. I'll be fine in a little while. How are you?"

For the feline flexing, the vines encircling the little sproutling thicken towards the outside, hardening unto a wee protective shell. It's about the only evidence of reaction, as Jim's other hand is scratching at the side of his jaw. Watching the girl CATFIT off with a shaking head. "Cats," he mutters, "Ye gods..." Thank you, Melinda, for distracting him back to the present... even if it takes a minute of slow blinking and rippling with leaves, "Uh." Blink. "Yeah." Yeah what, Jim. Ffff, he shakes his head harder and cups an absent hand around the back of the baby's soft little head, "Was uh..." He jerks his head towards the water, "In the lake. Flushing out some fucking... invasive water plants." If by flushing he means... eating them.

Melinda nods, her attention drifting toward the river for a moment, studying the rippling surface. "Does that mean you don't need to eat? I mean, there's leftovers here I've been nibbling, but - well, if you've been messing around with plants, does that work up an appetite or diminish it?" She's been asking more of these questions lately, on account of having a plant child of her own now.

Tola yawns a little and presses into Jim's hand. Sleepysatisfied.

"Diminishes - for me." Jim looks down with that frank, clinical gaze and rough face to study the small green fruit of his loins. If this is what 'softening' looks like in his face, it appears more aggrieved than anything. And meshes her face back down against the hollow of his shoulder like augh, just go in there. Where primordial communication exists in the low language of plant pheromones and tactile entanglement. "...I mean fuck, I go weeks without taking a god damn... leak anymore." After a long blank pause he adds lower, "S' weird. I feel her."

"Well, she didn't pick up that trait from you. I change her diapers just as much as a normal baby, I suppose." Mel fishes another plate from the stack and loads it up with a little of the basil and mushroom tofu scramble. She finds a fork a moment later. "Don't get me wrong, she loves sunbathing, but it hasn't diminished her appetite at all." The sproutling is carrying a healthy chub these days, nothing drastically heavy, but a soft, roundness to her limbs the her next grown spurt will steal away. Mel is thinner, too, than when she was pregnant, but her belly hasn't exactly bounced back yet. "I... actually can't tell, yet. Are you moved into your new place yet? I can show you which back stairs are mine so you can come check on her more often, if you like."

Jim vaguely squirms, frowning. "Kinda. You seen it?" He jerks his head towards the building and his short set of stairs leading down to his basement apartment, "S' nice." This also has that same.. aggrieved edge to it. "Ash's got the old place all back t'normal. Might even get the fucking -- deposit." His nod regardless indicates yes. He'd like to check in on the baby more. "Kinda groundskeeper anyway. Ff. Finally found a job you can trust even a hobo with braindamage with." Kind of gently... /scuffling/ the baby's petalsoft head, looking back down at her, "...haven't seen 'er put out roots or branches yet either." His head slowly shakes, "...actual fucking... plant person. All the fucking working... organs n shit." This he does have a kind of crusty PLEASURE to say. Or just relief.

"No, I haven't seen it yet. I've been down in the utility room on your level, but I really have this mental picture of your basement being just a dirt floor. I suppose there's more to it, given that it supports the rest of the building." Mel is rambling a little as she picks at the food, chewing quietly and sipping at her lemonade between bites. She listens for a while, beginning to focus on him as he begins detailing Tola's physiology. "How are you doing with that? You're still... pretty crusty. Well, barky and mossy. I'm just a little worried about you."

"You worry about everyone," Jim places Tola's head more snuggly against the side of his throat to prop his heavy jaw over it. Frowning out across the lawn for a long moment in silence. "Just... doin. I'm fucking broken, Mel. S' not just gonna get better. Half my guts aren't even-," he closes his eyes, the rough bark texture of eyelids almost entirely hiding them, and he scratches his ass. And says bluntly, "Shoulda died. Didn't. Just gonna have to live with it." The side of his mouth twitches, "Think Hivey's been trying t'keep me busy. Fff, skinny bastard got me a fucking... new camera."

"Well, yes." Melinda agrees, quietly, slumping against the back of her chair, trying to relax. There's a moment of silence where her eyes flutter closed and she sits still and contemplative. She only stirs when he moves on to less personal issues. Her hands shift and come together over her midsection, her eyes cracking open to peer over at her baby and the father. "A new camera, eh? Good. You should get some pictures of your kid some time. I'd like to put them into a book. I'll need embarrassing photos at some point in her life, so we best get started now."

"Eatin dirt and rooting through underwear drawers," Jim chuffs. "I've taken a few." Hidden away somewhere in the bowels of his room. "Hive's got a dark room all put together so..." He turns on his heels and says more directly, "Want some fucking... family shots, is what I want. You, the ankle biter. Hivey. Something to put on a fucking wall."

"Yes. Definitely." Melinda agrees quickly, nodding as she pulls herself up into a sitting position. "We do need pictures of Hive." She swallows down a flare up of emotion and turns to Jim, a weak, awkward smile on her lips. "All of us. All of Tola's family." She sniffs a little and draws in a large, deep breath. "Maybe we can also do some ridiculous photos that make her look like a monster stomping a tiny city... Yes, I just saw Godzilla. It was pretty good, if you - are still in to movies." "Fff," Jim exhales through his teeth again, "Haven't been to a movie in fucking... long ass time." Which doesn't seem to imply he's opposed to them. He's looking out across the lawn, some tendon clenched in the side of his jaw. "Yeah," said finally. "We'll do a whole fucking... shoot. Costumes n shit." Godzillababy.

"We may need to wait until she is old enough to sit up on her own though," Melinda amends, slowly getting to her feet and startingmto clear the table out in the gazebo. "Can you watch Sprout for a bit? I'm going to put this all away and then I think we might take a cool bath."

Nodding, the sound of Jim's respiration is no longer audible, the baby swaddled in leaf and vine and soft nourishing moss, Jim barely need to employ his arms to support her. Just one green thing enfolded in another. And he just kind of... roams off wither her in the same slow, ponderous ent-walk with which he'd approached. This is probably pretty normal Jim behavior by now. They'll make a few circuits around the green, stand down by the water, Jim's roots nestled in amongst the other trees. Feeding their strange wordless tales to him. And from him, to his small living cargo. Until Mel is ready for her.