ArchivedLogs:Human Nature

From X-Men: rEvolution
Human Nature
Dramatis Personae

Iolaus, Jax, Matt, Daniel, Jane

2015-10-26


"We were fools to have expected better." (Prometheus-Connected.)

Location

<NYC> Harbor Commons - Sunroom - Lower East Side


Bright and warm, this room is set up to enjoy a little bit of the outdoors even year-round. Tall glass panes make up most of its wall in between wood supports, providing a wide three-sided view of the garden and yard outside. As well as the inner doors leading back into the kitchens and dining room, an outer door leads out to the outdoor gardens, as well. Inside, the room is airy and green -- a plethora of potted herbs and plants hang from the ceiling, as well as ring the room in a series of narrow wooden raised-beds that provide growing space for a selection of herbs year-round.

Outside of the herb beds that ring the room, this place is designed simply to come and relax; quiet and simple, with clean stone floors and neutral-toned wicker furniture adorned with comfortable cushioning. Some of the chairs ring stone-and-glass tables for eating or conversing; a few more solitary seats come in the form of rocking chairs or netted hammock-chairs hanging from the ceiling.

With Xavier's on fall break for part of the week, Jax has some rare free time today and tomorrow. Having just spent the weekend in intensive bouts of search and rescue and disaster relief, /possibly/ he should be using this time for extra sleeping, but judging by the smells trickling in from the adjacent kitchen he has been cooking instead. There is a dish of baked mac and cheese sitting on a glass table, a plate of freshly baked garlicky tofu, a spiraling metal tree-like stand of cupcakes. A pitcher of water sits on a large trivet. Jax is just coming out of the kitchen with a tray, a steaming pot of tea and several cups resting on it that he sits on another table. He is dressed -- for him, rather staid; black skinny jeans, a red fishnet shirt with a black corset-like tank over it (decorating in slightly more metallic black in a paisley stitching,) tall stompy-chunky boots, his hair black and frosted in metallic blue and purple at its tips. Huge mirrored sunglasses shade his eyes; outside it is sunny and would be warm, if not for a brisk bustly wind that whips without often letting up.

Flu seasons means that clinics all over the island of Manhattan have their hands full dealing with patients of all sorts. Convincing patients to go home without antibiotics -- WHICH DO NOTHING FOR THE FLU GOD DAMN IT STOP ASKING YOUR DOCTOR FOR ANTIBIOTICS WHEN YOU HAVE THE FLU -- is never an easy challenge. At the Mendel Clinic, those flu patients come with their own set of challenges - mutations affecting the disease, mutations being affected by the flu, patients sneezing and spraying acid over the floors. Just another day at the office.

Dressed in a lightly starched blue shirt and a pair of charcoal pants, Iolaus raps his knuckles against Jax's door once, a quick flick of movement, before he presses down on the doorbell once. "Are you with me through the night, or are you getting relieved part way through?" Iolaus asks the shorter man standing next to him. "Tomorrow." Daniel is not a man of many words.

Matt has been here for a while, flitting around the house like a restless spirit and occasionally offering to help with Jax's kitchening. He's wearing a blue t-shirt with a cartoon person reading beneath an arch of books, bracketed by the words 'Best Time Machine EVER!' and gray cargo pants, though the book he holds up against his chest (/The Gone-Away World/ by Nick Harkaway) practically looks like a part of his wardrobe. He finally settles onto a couch in the sunroom when the tea arrives, and pours himself a cup at once. Vivid green eyes flick up at Jax. "Thank you, this is..." His voice sound quiet and small, and dies away altogether when he hears the doorbell. "Thanks." He rises slowly, as if willing himself to his feet (or to part from his freshly-poured tea), and goes to answer the door. The smile he flashes Iolaus does not look quite right, and fades rather fast. "Hey. Good timing. Tea's up."

"Hi, Daniel. Hi, Iolaus." Jax's smile is quick, if brief. He gestures the others inside, motioning to an epmty seat before taking one himself, settling himself into a wicker chair. "D'you want tea? It's oolong. An' I made -- lunch. If you -- if you're hungry at all, I wasn't sure if you'd'a -- eaten. Or anything."

Iolaus smiles back at Matt, warmly, stepping in and bending down to untie his shoes. "Hiya, Matt. Tea would sound delicious, if it's up, thanks." Iolaus takes his shoes off, tucking the laces into the body of the shoe and straightening back up. Daniel's are Vibram - no laces required. "Thank you, Sunshine. I had a late breakfast, but I might take some with me, if you don't mind? I can't pass up your cooking." Iolaus steps into the room and plops down into the indicated chair, looking between the two younger men with a single eyebrow raised slightly. "What can I do for you both? I know you wanted to talk to me about something, but..." Iolaus smiles, but unsurely. "I didn't know quite about what."

Matt hugs his book closer, then finally puts it down on an arm of the couch so that he can pour a cup of tea and set it in front of Iolaus. "Daniel, Jax? Either of you want any?" He waggles the teapot gently. Tempt, tempt. Though it somehow doesn't come off in his usual playful manner. "We...need to talk about..." He chews on one side of his lower lip, then releases it. Lets out a long breath he had been holding. "About Rasheed."

"Oh, please." Jax stands again to pick up an empty teacup, holding it out to Matt in supplication. He doesn't take his seat again till he's gotten tea, fingers curled tight around the cup like it is a lifeline. He pulls in a deep breath, biting down on his lip as well. "Kind of long overdue for this talk, to be honest. It's just. Been hard to even know how to -- where to -- how to start." Though the large glasses shield much of his expression, his face is turned towards Iolaus.

"You know I can't say no to tea, Matt." Iolaus says, shooting Matt a smile with carefully tempered edges. As the topic is revealed, Iolaus' smile twitches once, a spasm of motion, before returning to the same position it had been in. "I'm quite sorry that it's taken so long to talk about it, then, if it's been weighing on your mind, Jax, Matt." Iolaus takes the teacup with a brief widening of his smile in thanks, warming his hands with it. "I hope that you don't feel I've been avoiding either of you. I try to make sure to have my door open to staff and friends alike. What caused such a delay?"

Matt seems to pour all of his attention into filling Jax and Iolaus's cups. Then, setting down the teapot, he sinks back onto the couch, curling around his own teacup. "Well, you know..." He pulls the book into his lap as though it were an animal whose pelt he might stroke for comfort. "We've had plenty going on in our own lives, personal and professional. Also, probably the existential dread that come with even thinking about it doesn't help." It's not easy to tell whether he is joking, but the smile on his face is rueful and faint. "There's no point trying to sugarcoat this, or prepare you." He looks to Jax again like a man drowning. "Rasheed...was Prometheus." His shoulders relax even as he speaks the words. "It was him."

Jax doesn't say anything, here. He sits back in his chair, lifting his tea. His hands still grip it very tightly as he sips.

Iolaus stays very still for several moments, looking straight at Matt without even blinking. The doctor lets out a long sigh and closes his eyes, lifting the cup of tea to his lips. He sits there, silent, sipping at the tea for a few moments before he opens his eyes and looks at the two men in front of him. "Yes, it was." A pause. "I know. I've known since..." Iolaus glances to one side, looking at Daniel. "Since March, about. When we were all having those, ah. Shared dreams?"

Matt seems to subside even more, pressing himself into the corner of the couch as though he would love nothing better than to just squeeze in between the cushions. "Well." He sips his tea, green eyes fixed sharply on Io now. "Guess we could have saved ourselves a lot of agonizing if we come to you about it earlier." He licks his lips. "So why are *you* keeping confidence, then?"

"/You/ knew?" Jax's voice is quiet though his words come swift and immediate, a small rippling flutter in the light around. "Since March, and you -- why did you -- why is he still at the clinic? After all he -- he /founded/ Prometheus. For /years/ he -- why didn't you --" His lips press together tightly.

Iolaus settles back in the chair, looking between the two men with a carefully controlled sense of calm, breathing regular and body -- certainly not relaxed, but nor bound tense up. The facade of calmness is betrayed only by the flush running up the back of his neck and the warmth of his skin. "It was not a decision I made lightly," Iolaus says, slowly. "But, the same dreams that armed me with the information gave me an equal burden of the knowledge of how he could act, under... dire circumstances. He upheld the standards that the clinic was founded on far and above what I could ask of anyone." Iolaus' smile twists, a dash of bitterness in his voice. "Even myself."

The doctor straightens in his chair. "He committed atrocities. What he might do in one possible future does nothing to wash away those crimes, only hold up the hope of ameloriating them in some small way." Iolaus laughs, once, and it is a sad sound. "People say that I'm an idealist. The principle over everything else. But this time, I had to make the /practical/ choice."

"How he *could* act under 'dire circumstances'? Are you sure it isn't about how *you* could act?" Matt hasn't moved, but somehow his posture looks less like miserable shying away and more like coiling in readiness to strike. "He upholds your standards, sure: when it suits him. Maybe he has had a change of heart and will spend the rest of his life trying to make up for it, knowing he cannot." Almost imperceptibly at first, but now quite visibly, Matt is shaking. "Or maybe he is biding his time, waiting until the public distaste for Prometheus fades or the police state gets along far enough that it doesn't matter what people think. Maybe he is scouting for his next subjects. Maybe he is *still* experimenting on the detainees that they never released. It doesn't matter." His trembling stills, slowly. "It doesn't. Matter. Because we can't trust him. And if you think doing so is 'practical', then we cannot trust you, either."

"Equal burden -- ameliorating --" Jax's voice is still soft, but there's another flicker of light around him. For a moment, at least, before his teacup flies through the air -- whizzing /past/ Iolaus's head to shatter against the glass door beyond. Jax has followed the cup up out of his seat, one (fiercely glowing) hand planted on the side of Iolaus's chair and his other palm thudding against the other man's chest, hard enough the seat scrapes back against the stone floor. "Who the hell are you to make your goddamn /practical/ choice? Did you live through those cells? Did you watch your family die in 'em? Is it your friends /still/ locked up in their while the government decides if we're /people/ enough t'let live or die? Is it /your/ life he was playin' with? No. No, it never --" The hand pressed to Iolaus -- all of Jackson, really, is growing steadily hotter, a slow but fierce heat that glows beneath his skin, "-- ever -- /will/ be."

“Jesus, Jax,” Iolaus says, eyes widening in shock as he ducks to the right and the cup shatters against the door behind him. “What--what would you have me do, Jax? Force him out of the clinic, losing one of our largest donors and one of our few doctors at the same time? While he goes on to continue working on saving mutants from what’s coming, and I--.” Iolaus cuts himself off.

Daniel didn’t pay much attention to the shouting, but the sound of shattering ceramic is enough to rouse his attention. For the first few seconds, as he stands up, it seems almost as if he’s not quite sure what’s happening; his eyes glance from broken cup to the glass door, looking around at the windows and the halls, searching for an invisible assailant. The sound of Jax’s voice brings his attention back to the doctor, and to Jax. His forehead furrows, deeply, lines etched into his face as he takes a step forward. “Easy, Jackson.” Daniel says, gruffly.

Matt does not move save to follow Jax with his eyes. He does not seem surprised by Io's defense. "You are literally saying your bottom line is more important than the safety of your patients, never mind justice for the countless who have been tortured and murdered." If anything, he just looks weary now. "You're just like any other human in a position of power over us, and in the end you will cover for your own kind." The strength of Jax's power wanes ever so slightly, enough that he ceases growing any hotter. "We were fools to have expected better," he murmurs this.

The sharp huff of breath Jax sucks in when Iolaus says 'largest donor' is audible, whistling sharp and through his teeth. "How many hundreds and hundreds of /my/ people has he tortured and killed and you -- you think it's okay because he can /buy/ his way out of it?" His fingers scrunch inward, fisting up slowly in Iolaus's shirt as his head turns, attention dragged towards Daniel. "He /knew/." His voice is rough as he addresses the other guard. "Rasheed /founded/ Prometheus -- there's still /hundreds/ of people missin' in captivity that /he/ could know how t'find -- could still be /torturin'/ for all we know -- an' this /whole time/ Io's /known/. An' done /nothin'/. /Protected/ him because one human's always gonna be more valuable than a hundred or a thousand'a /our/ lives. To /them/."

“You think I don't /care/? My bottom line?” Iolaus looks back and forth between the two men with nothing short of total confusion. “My bottom line /is/ your people. I've put my life on the line to protect them. The clinic doesn't make me /money/. I'm disgusted by what Rasheed did. He violated his oaths to care for his patients in the worst possible way. But… Jax, you /died/. Your whole /family/ died. Millions of people died. The clinic was destroyed; it's staff forced underground. Mutants put into death camps and drugged to disable their powers, if not kill them outright. Rasheed has said he has nothing more to do with Prometheus. If I reported him, threw him out of the clinic, Hive would be dead, countless patients would be too -- and the clinic's future in crisis. How would it help anyone to have /no/ public advocacy, /no/ healthcare?! He'd be more likely to get a medal than a fucking arrest warrant!”

Daniel blinks several times, looking between Jax and Iolaus. His eyebrows raise as he processes this information, tilting his head to one side. “Huh.” The bodyguard doesn't move.

"'Rasheed has said...'" Matt pushes off of the arm of the couch, coming to his feet slowly. "And you believe him: a man who has lied and lied to cover for his atrocities. Do his *words* mean more to you than our *lives*?" He takes one step closer to Jax, near enough to touch, though he does not. "What in the names of all the gods has the *future* to do with Rasheed *now*? Are you trying to argue we should let his transgressions slide because he'll real handy to have around in a few years? If that's so, then what does that say about *you*?" Tears fill his eyes, but he blinks them away. "Reported him? Prometheus was government sanctioned, what would possess you to turn to *them* for help? Oh, right. Being human." Matt's fists clench, then unclench with an effort. "Let me spell this out for you: even if he truly has 'nothing more to do' with Prometheus, you can bet he still has contacts who do. He helps us get those people out. *Then* he can answer for his crimes. To those whom he wronged, and those he would profess to 'help.'"

Jax pushes out a slow hiss of breath through his teeth. Despite Matt's dampening influence, his hand is heating up again, a fierce searing surge of energy that leaves Iolaus's shirt -- and likely the skin beneath -- singed as Jax releases Io, /shoves/ flat-palmed against the other man's chest, a gesture that doesn't seem intended to push Io's chair back so much as push /himself/ away from the other man. He turns, shoulders tensed, fists clenched up hard. "You just can't stop thinking about this like a /human/." He spits this last word, a shiver of light rippling hot and bright around him. "Why we ain't learned better than to put our trust in --" His breath shivers out, unsteadily.

“Fuck, you don’t understand.” Iolaus breathes out, sharply, huffing and blinking his eyes rapidly to blink away tears. “If I do that, if I try and force Rasheed’s hand, I’m just going to end up--” Iolaus is cut off, mid-sentence, when both he and Daniel disappear with the loud crack of air collapsing in on where two people had been an instant before. “having...”

Iolaus trails off, looking with a puzzled expression around him at Jane’s office in the Mendel Clinic. An unoccupied office, at the current moment, as there is silence instead of screaming bloody murder a second later. “I quit.” Daniel says, glaring directly at Iolaus. The guard sniffs, once, spits on Iolaus’ face, and vanishes as quickly as he had appeared.

Iolaus stands, immobile, for several seconds even as a line of spit slowly drips down his cheek and onto his shirt, as still as if frozen solid. “Well. Fuck.”

Back in the Common House, Matt does not look surprised by the disappearance, but he does look a little lost now, standing. His bright green eyes are glassy with tears that finally roll down his face in two quiet streams. He reaches for Jax, but stops short. "Tabarnak," he whispers softly, closing his eyes.

from: Jax <jax@xaviers.edu>
to: Jane O'Toole <jotoole@mendelclinic.org>
date: Mon, Oct 27, 2015 at 13:53
subject: Resignation

Jane,

It's possible that HR has already told you, but I am resigning my position on the security staff, effective immediately. I'm sorry for the short notice.

Jax
from: Jane O'Toole <jotoole@mendelclinic.org>
to: Jax <jax@xaviers.edu>
date: Mon Oct 27, 2015 at 14:16
subject: Re: Resignation

Jackson,

The situation is currently in flux.  I've taken you off the schedule for the remainder of the week until the situation solidifies.  I've put a meeting on your calendar for next week for us to discuss in person.

Jane