Logs:Cupcakes and Bad Ideas
|Cupcakes and Bad Ideas|
"The pups'll want to see you 'fore you go an' get yourself killed."
<NYC> Mendel Clinic - Lower East Side
With its sharp crystalline edges and sleek lines knifing up into the sky, this building is one of the most /distinctive/ new additions to the neighborhood. An angular structure in glass and steel, the tall tower has a deceptively slender look to it that is belied by the heavy security as soon as you enter the doors. The front doors are frosted with the Clinic's logo -- a rising sun over a rod of Asclepius -- a motif echoed in many places throughout the building.
Visitors to the clinic must first pass through a small mantrap, guarded by some of the Clinic's security guards; once they make it through the metal detector and airlock's double doors they emerge into the much more hospitable lobby. With dark wood floors underneath and comfortable black and red couches at its edges, the high windows give the room an airy feel. A bank of elevators to one side carry visitors to the many destination floors, while the wide welcome desk at the other side is manned by a security guard ready to help point visitors in the right direction.
It's gotten late, and the Clinic by now is quiet and nominally closed for the night. Though it is not, per se, a hospital, with so many area hospitals loath to accept mutant patients of unknown ability, once again many of the rooms have been repurposed into patient wards as they so often are, and a trickle of /known/ visitors still drift in and out with the blessings of the night shift guards. Jax is the supervising guard on duty -- nominally, again, though at the moment, on a break. The door to the room he's in right /now/ is ajar, just in case any of the other guards have need of him.
He's kind of /hoping/ not, though, at the moment -- seated by Ryan's bedside in his crisp black and red uniform, he's currently enjoying a cupcake and a glass of lemonade as he explains with /emphatic/ gesticulation, "-- just /let/ them! I mean not that it's /any/ surprise but they was just /shooting/ the park up! Middle of the afternoon! They coulda at least /pretended! It's gettin' so brazen out there, Ryan, I don't even -- I know we say it's always been bad, but this is. This is somethin' /else/."
Ryan is propped up on numerous pillows in bed, paler than his usual, much scruffier as well. Hair gotten kind of shaggy, his beard growing out. The greenish greyish hospital gown is doing /nothing/ for his sallowing complexion, either. His fingers work twitchily against the sheets, head nodding along to Jax's words. His mouth works slowly and silently for a time before he finally speaks. "Anyone else? Die?"
Outside the room, there's a murmured, hushed conversation, ending with scuffled shoes. It's probably a good thing that Jax is the 'on-duty' guard, right now -- if he wasn't, the visitor wouldn't have gotten through. It's not like anyone around here /recognizes/ the young man (a lanky white kid from Queens with hazel-brown eyes and a crop of wild, tussled brown hair). He's wearing a dark t-shirt that demonstrates the Monty Hall problem using Python code (get it?) and a loose-fitting windbreaker (ostensibly to ward off the rain, but in actuality to hide what's going on around both of his wrists).
At least the visitor knows better than to barge right in. Instead, there's a tentative knock at the door, followed by a very quiet voice: "...hey. May I enter?" -- followed by a nudge of the door. And then, Peter's standing there, looking in -- mouth twisted into a tight, concerned knot. Rather than say anything else, he pauses to hear the answer to Ryan's question.
Jax looks to Ryan first for confirmation before answering -- "Hey, yeah, it's okay, come -- oh my gosh, /Peter/." His eye widens and he gets up from his chair, arms opening immediately as if for a hug -- then pulling back kind of shyly. Then just as quickly reconsidering and opening again. "It's good to see you, honey-honey, are you -- how are you -- have you been -- when did you -- oh gosh. I'm glad you're back, Shane's gonna be so -- Dai's gonna be so -- /I'm/ so glad to see you. Have you been back long, was it a long trip, have you /eaten/?"
Ryan's mouth twitches into a smile. Quick and easy and warm. His eyes close, a slow chuckle shaking his shoulders at Jax's /very/ Jax stream of greeting. "M'sure his aunt. Feeds him."
There is a moment of hesitation when Jax pulls back, but when he re-opens his arms, Peter bolts forward to slip into his grip and seize hold of him. It's quick, but strong; the young man nearly lifts Jax off the ground, face firmly /shoved/ in the other man's chest. When he retracts his arms (with some notable reluctance), there's anxiety in Peter's face. Brows crumpled, tugging at his jacket's sleeves. Tug, tug. "Yeah, I'm... I'm okay. Just got back a day or two ago."
Slow breath. "It's really good to see you." A pause, before peeking around Jax to lift his hand to give a tiny-wave to Ryan. "You too, uh -- Mr. Black." A little more formal, because, I mean. Guy's a celebrity! "I heard about the whole... I mean, m'sorry what happened. I'm glad you're recovering." Then, back to Jax, with just a hint more insistence, his voice quieter: "You -- didn't answer his question..."
Jax's breath whushes out of him -- just a lil! -- at the ferocity of hug, the almost-lift. He squeezes Peter back /tight/, a little more relaxed by the time he lets go. "Cupcake?" he offers, plucking one from a plate by Ryan's bedside. Who /cares/ whether or not Peter's eaten, dessert is for any time! Besides, maybe the sweetness helps bad news go down a little easier. He nibbles on his /own/ cupcake with a frown. "There's a lot of people still in bad shape here and in the for-real hospital. So far one death I heard of. The pups are in jail," he tells Peter with a shake of his head. "Rasa, too. Desi. A lot of people. They let all the Purifiers go. We sent Ion 'round with food, at least. They don't /never/ feed 'em enough it ain't hardly right. A vigil! Peaceful vigil we was having -- and now already we gonna have to plan another."
Ryan squeezes his eyes tighter. His fingers curl into the sheets, then relax. "Oh --" It's very quiet, and for a moment /everything/ in the room feels palpably heavier, a thick weight of grief that hovers -- and lifts again as Ryan breathes back in. Summons up a small smile. "Hey, it's just Ryan."
"Oh..." Peter's eyes alight on the cupcake, visibly tempted by its presence; he accepts it at last, taking it in his palm -- seduced by the smell of its sugary sweetness. But instead of chomping down, he's listening to Jax, brow crumpling deeper and deeper as he speaks. Pups? Crumple. Rasa? Crumple. Desi? Crumple s'more. Maximum crumpling is reached somewhere around 'Purifiers' and 'go'. There's concern, anxiety, grief -- but something else, too. Something that's building up like a pressure-cooker. He manages not to squish the cupcake in his fist, at least.
"Ryan -- yeah. Sorry," Peter murmurs, the anger briefly deflected with an apologetic smile. Then: "Purifiers. I read about them. They're..." Peter briefly searches for the right words, then settles on: "They just let them go?"
Jax's eye lowers. He reaches out, rests his hand over Ryan's, squeezes gently. "Sorry," he says softly -- though it's aimed more at Peter than Ryan. "It's all been a lot. And from what I hear Purifiers are croppin' up kind of all round the country lately but -- but yeah. They let 'em go. Arrested the folks at the vigil. We're hoping they get let go soon. Ain't nothin' for it right now but to wait and see. /I'm/ sorry, honey-honey, you just one day back and we're dumping all this -- I shouldn't -- this shouldn't be how --" He scrubs a hand across his face, the laugh that comes out of him quick and almost startled. "You know, it's Desi's birthday tomorrow?"
Ryan turns his hand over, fingers curling back against Jax's. A little shakily. His smile is easy enough when he finally opens his eyes again. "Hey, you spent your twenty-first in jail. /I/ spent my twenty-first in jail. It's like a -- like a -- like a --" He exhales hard. "Like a tradition. By now. She'll have a good story." His frown is deep, but fleeting. "Well. She'll have /a/ story."
Peter rolls his eyes -- but he's smiling when he does. "You know that outside of my aunt, you're like the only person I know who would apologize to somebody on account of /your/ kids being in jail?" The smile fades as the rest of Jackson's explanation has a chance to settle in. He still manages a small, crooked smile at the mention of Desi's birthday, at least. "Shane and B can make her a jail-cake. They can make all sorts of --"
Something gives Peter pause. He glances back to Ryan, then down at the cupcake, and... "Yeah. A story." A little more flatly, a little more softly: "Anybody know these guys? Like... faces, names -- where they hang out?"
"They're good at --" Jax starts softly, his jaw briefly tighter. His head shakes, his smile quicker. "But they ain't gotta, we sent along /lots/ of cakes and food. They should be set, an' hopefully tomorrow they'll get let out and we can do presents for /real/." He polishes off the last of his /own/ cupcake, licks ganache off his fingertips. "I don't know? Probably Ion? He knows everything and his folks tussled with these guys before I think. They been causing some serious ruckus some time now." His brows furrow and he looks at Peter a liiittle warily. "-- I mean like serious ruckus, Peter. They're real honest murderers."
"Jail's kind of inevitable. Look who they had for a role model." Ryan sounds kind of sleepy, starting to drift back off -- though he cracks an eye open again at Peter's questioning. Lifts an eyebrow. Snorts quietly. "No wonder the pups like you."
"Hopefully." Peter examines the cupcake very closely, now; as if it's the first he's noticed that he even picked it up. Oh, right! Delicious cupcake. "Yeah. I mean, yeah. Of course they are," he says in response to Jackson. He sounds distracted; like the whole 'honest murderers' thing is such a trivial, /tiny/ detail! "Ion," he repeats, as if to lock the name into memory.
At Ryan's comment, Peter outright blushes... and rather than respond, deliberately starts eating the cupcake. Probably using it as an excuse to prevent himself from replying. A very /tastey/ excuse.
Jax presses his lips together, tongue wiggling at one of his lip rings. He looks from Peter to Ryan -- back to Peter. Scrubs his hand against his eye, knuckles digging in hard. "I gotta get back to work, honey-honey. You should sit a spell. Ryan could use the company. You're both nuts, so I think y'ought to get along." He leans in, pressing a kiss to the side of Peter's head. "S'good to have you home. The pups'll want to see you /'fore/ you go an' get yourself killed." He squeezes Ryan's hand one last time before heading for the door.
Ryan settles back against his pillows, already looking -- a little more wan, a little more deflated as Jax heads out. Like the other man's taken some of the light in the room /with/ him. His smile doesn't dim, though. "I happen to know Ion's mad busy tonight anyway," he tells Peter, tugging his sheets a little higher up around him. "Think you can stand just a little longer on invalid duty without exploding? Flicker left me a. Stack of board games in the corner. Your choice."
There's a certain aggressiveness with which Peter is eating that cupcake. Not all at once, just bite after deliberate, hard bite. Chomp, chomp, chomp. Like, I'm eating this cupcake now, okay? That is precisely what I am doing. It's briefly interrupted by Jax's kiss, which prompts the fierce blush to darken -- this is followed by a mute little nod and affirmative mutter through sugary crumbs: "Mmhhmph." He watches Jackson go, then turns to Ryan. And...
"...I know this one," he mutters, picking up a game labeled 'Hive'. A game with hexagon-shaped tiles, each displaying an image of a bug. Black and white tiles. Goal is to surround the Queen. He brings it back over to Ryan, settling down next to him.
"--you know I haven't... Like. I don't -- I haven't done anything stupid for a long while, now," he quietly confesses. "I thought that maybe that would help." He opens the box; the tiles rattle. "It doesn't."