"It don't sound real sustainable."
<NYC> BoM Safehouse - Lower East Side
Tucked away off a little-used side street in the Lower East Side, sandwiched between a youth drop-in center and a taqueria, this narrow three-story townhouse has very little to catch the eye. Boarded-up windows, a door peeling its paint, shabby grubby brickface; from the outside it does not look like much.
Inside someone has gone to great lengths to renovate the building into something more habitable. It isn't glamorous but it is comfortable, old furniture dragged in, the place generally swept clean. The first floor holds a large living room, a smaller dining room, a spacious kitchen, a half-bathroom. There are three bedrooms and a full bathroom on the second floor; the attic is just a large empty space crammed full of boxes with a window out to the large flat roof.
The basement, much like the attic, consists of a lot of empty space. A bare concrete floor, no windows, occasional poles running up to the ceiling. A tiny half-bathroom down here, too. Not a whole lot else.
The first floor of the building has been converted wholesale to a safespace and supply drop for the uprising, and is daily bustling with volunteers. For the sheer amount of activity that's been ongoing it is startlingly efficient, the kitchen churning out constant streams of hot cooked meals, medics coming and going to refill their packs, and volunteers on the stoop controlling entry.
The Volkswagon Transporter that just pulled up out front is not as old as either of its occupants, but it's probably old enough to drink. Once it was black, but has been inexpertly repainted several times over its long service before settling on a cheap matte gray with an airbrushed logo of local punk act Sourdough Startup on the sliding door and otherwise dotted with myriad stickers of musical, political, and artistic persuasions.
Still dressed from work in a seafoam green shirt, gray vest, and charcoal trousers, Matt eases himself down from the passenger seat and liberates his wheelchair--easily, once its hover function has been activated--from where it's been riding in the back with their Costco haul. Instead of sitting in it himself, he's using it as a dolly, struggling to load a gigantic pack of bottled water into the seat. "Gods, this all looked like a lot when we were picking it up, but now..." He grunts with effort. "Doesn't look nearly enough, even if we get fewer coming out on a weeknight."
Jax was not released early enough to day to actually make work on time, but he has had time to take a shower and change -- black overalls covered with abstract rainbow swirls, a purple tee shirt that reads 'ALL MY HEROES HAVE FBI FILES' above and below a screenprint of a monkey wrench, purple Doc Martens. He looks far too pale, still, a little shaky, though he at least has no trouble with the water pallets as he helps Matt get it situated stably.
"Imagine the cops'll be happy to keep dousing the neighborhood in gas even if the streets are less crowded." He grimaces, hefting another large pack of water to set on top of the first. "Buuut Ryan's bringing some evening-time entertainment down by the Tombs -- I don't imagine that's gonna depress turnout none." His mouth twists to the side as he eyes the back of their borrowed van. "Maybe," it's hard to tell here whether he's hopeful or wary of this possibility, "it'll rain."
"Ah, merci." Matt rotates the wheelchair and starts pushing it toward the safehouse, leaning on the handles heavily. "Mmm, that'll be--something, no? I might have to stick around." He offers the pair on door duty a faint smile. "I'm with him," he assures them. "Have logistics been arranged for that action, or are you about to hop from one task to another?"
Jax is scooping up a large case of electrolyte solution, too, balancing it on top of another and following after Matt. "It's s'posed to be lowkey, but how things are lately -- we'll see. Still, if you come early should be just -- more love, less rage, if that's your speed today. I'm sure come nighttime you'll get both." He doesn't bother closing up the back van door -- already there are more people emerging to help tote the supplies inside. "Mmm -- not about to. Not -- till we're done here, anyway. Why, are you in a spreadsheets kinda mood?"
Matt leans forward to adjust the hover controls, and the chair goes easily up the front steps despite its hefty load. "Oh, I've got plenty of both," he admits equably. "Though I may want go home and get a bit of rest, first." The twitch at the corner of his mouth is frustrated. "I could wrangle a spreadsheet or three, while I'm at it." He rolls the packs of water out of the wheelchair, stacking them on the floor. "Unless you can think of a better use for my crippled ass. You know you don't want me anywhere near the art build."
"Got some hours yet, and I don't think we're gonna run short on tasks need doing." Jax's expression shifts into a grimace once they're inside and he's actually looked around. "-- 'specially not if people don't bother on keepin' the supplies in order, oh gosh this needs tidying." He seems content to let others take over on the unloading of the van; he's beelining now for the medic supplies, in somewhat of a shambles after several days of chaotic emergent needs.
He crouches by one table, frowning first at the jumbled boxes beneath it and then up at Matt. "Who says I don't. Art's for expressin' yourself, it don't gotta be polished. Feel like there's worse things right this moment than a creative outlet for --" His lips compress, eye turning back to the mess in front of them.
Matt sinks down into his now-empty chair with obvious relief and guides it over to the other side of the table. "A lot of scared, inexperienced baby medics, I suppose? And exhausted, overworked ones, too. You want the unopened stuff under and opened stuff on top?" Though even as he says so he's frowning at the many, many open boxes of nitrile gloves scattered across the table.
"Goodness. If I'm using art as an outlet it might be a blessing I'm not skilled enough to make anything recognizable." He's gathering the unopened boxes of gloves into his lap, peering at the size on each label. "I don't really even know if..." He swallows. "I've had Hive in my head a lot, and I'm worried it may destabilize him further if I start messing with..." He gestures vaguely at his head. The breath he huffs might have been meant as a laugh. "I'll survive putting it off, no?"
"That's the ideal." Jax is starting to shift the boxes around, grabbing a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie for easier labeling. He bites down on a lip ring, wiggling it between his teeth as he looks up at Matt from his place on the floor. "S'probably real dumb to ask how he's doin', but..." The marker spins restlessly between his fingers. "You gotta have some time to take care of yourself, too, honey-honey. Yeah maybe you'll survive it but after this past week I ain't --" He exhales hard, his brows knitting. "Do you need a break? I mean -- from --" His fingers wiggle towards his temple.
Matt makes three stacks of unopened nitrile gloves directly under where he left the open ones on the table. "It's not dumb to ask, but I can't give you an accurate answer in words. Given the circumstances he's doing reasonably well and--I doubt very much if it will last." When he looks back at Jax his expression is startlingly calm. "If I'm honest, maybe helping keep him together has been a break." His lips press together thinly. "From myself. But you're right, that's..." He sighs softly, moving on to sort through a box of seemingly random bandages. "Not sustainable for me or fair to him. I just fear it might be a lot, for anyone else."
"As good as it might be to get out of your own head an' look after someone for a bit, it's -- yeah. It don't sound real sustainable. You probably need..." Jax shakes his head, the sharpie stopping its whirl to tap rapidly instead against his knee. "If he's open to more company, maybe some of us could help there too. Take shifts of -- brain-sitting. Give you some decompression time without worryin' about if..." His jaw tightens. "Well. Jus'. Give you some time."
"Better out of my head than out of my mind." Matt deposits a handful of triangle bandages into a half-empty box of the same on the table. "But that's a decent idea if he'll agree to it, and I suspect he will. We might need to keep it up for a while yet." He stares down into the box fixedly for a moment. "Gods, I wish I knew what I needed. Not that grief is easy for anyone, but I..." His eyes narrow, a fleeting anger that passes almost as quickly as it came, his expression smoothing over into a wan half-smile. "I suppose time is a start."