Logs:In Which There Is Some Catching Up, and Some Grilling (Not of the Food Variety)

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In Which There Is Some Catching Up, and Some Grilling (Not of the Food Variety)
Dramatis Personae

Peter, Rasa, Taylor, Ted


"They're a mutant biker gang."


<NYC> Evolve Cafe - Lower East Side

Spacious and open, this coffeeshop has a somewhat industrial feel to it, grey resin floors below and exposed-beam ceilings that have been painted up in a dancing swirl of abstract whorls and starbursts, a riot of colour splashed against a white background. The walls alternate between brick and cheerfully lime-green painted wood that extends to the paneling beneath the brushed-steel countertops. There's an abundance of light, though rather than windows (which are scarce) it comes from plentiful hanging steel lamps. The walls here are home to artwork available for sale; though the roster of prints and paintings and drawings and photographs changes on a regular basis it has one thing in common -- all the artists displayed are mutants.

The seating spaced around the room is spread out enough to keep the room from feeling cluttered. Black chairs, square black tables that mostly seat two or four though they're frequently pushed around and rearranged to make space for larger parties. In the back corner of the room is more comfortable seating, a few large black-corduroy sofas and armchairs with wide tables between them. There's a shelf of card and board games back here available for customers to sit and play.

The chalkboard menus hanging behind the counter change frequently, always home to a wide variety of drinks (with an impressive roster of fair-trade coffees and teas largely featured) though their sandwiches and wraps and soups and snacks of the day change often. An often-changing variety of baked goods sit behind the display case at the counter halfway back in the room, and the opposite side of the counter holds a small selection of homemade ice creams. A pair of single-user bathrooms flanks the stairway in back of the cafe; at night, the thump of music can be heard from above, coming from the adjoining nightclub of the same name that sits up the stairs above the coffeehouse.

Peter hasn't been waiting too long. Five -- maybe ten? -- minutes. He's also a few minutes early. Still, there's a nervous energy about the young man sitting at one of the corner stalls of Evolve. He checks his phone several times a minute, leaving the thermally-insulated cup of chilled mocha-frappe almost entirely untouched in front of him.

He's clad in a loose gray hoodie, with the hoodie pulled back to expose the slightly tangled locks of short brown hair (pulled back as best as he can); the loose and baggy clothing disguises his lean, whipcord frame -- along with whatever he's got in his pocket(s). Every so often, Peter glances to the doorway, feet tapping on the floor beneath him to a beat in his head. He offers one of the servers an awkward smile when she passes, then checks his phone again.

"Can't even blame the coffee." Taylor is, nominally, at work, but the cafe is quiet and unlike the majority of Shitty Food Service jobs the management at Evolve does not have pointless strictures to Look Busy at all times. He's just recently finished cleaning a nearby table but is holding off on actually returning to the (line-less) register. One extremely long black arm is snaking its way between tables to drop the empty mugs that had been left at the table in the bussing trays -- a good twenty feet away. Now he just leans up against the edge of the table near Peter's, in jeans and a BLACK LIVES MATTER tee (the words printed in bold white text except for the I in lives and the MATTER, which are bright red.) He's looking from Peter's barely touched coffee to his jittery tapping feet. Up to his face. "How you been? Shane mentioned you were back in town."

Most people make it a habit of not going in to their work place on their days off -- but most people don't work at Evolve. Rasa comes wandering in around the right time, still yawning from the massive amounts of sleep deprivation the end of the school year left hir with. Hir recovery is delayed by late night shifts and long commutes to hir person's house -- and his over night schedule. But ze is here! And pretty much 'On Time.'

Rasa's fingers pull back the blue and black scarf wrapped around hir face and hair when ze enters, letting it drape over hir shoulders loosely. Ze is decked out in a navy blue long sleeved wrapped shirt and seersucker trousers that billow when ze moves. Ze picks a little speed when ze spies Peter and Taylor, hands pulling off hir soft gloves. "Am I late? I kind of fell asleep on the train. Had to backtrack a stop. it's not too bad once the train is in the city but ... yeah." Ze slides into the opposite booth chair and looks Peter over, brows raised, quieted by his apparent mood. "Hey Taylor."

Tap. Tap. Taptaptap. Tap. Peter's looking at his phone very intently as Taylor looks to his face. Peter's brows are crinkled together into a tense knot, like two cogs in some adding machine desperately trying to solve for X. The process is briefly interrupted when Taylor speaks, causing Peter's eyes to flicker up from the phone and hone in on him. There's an immediate, faintly confused grin: "O-oh. I've been, uh, fine. Just busy. Lots of things going on." His face pinkens ever-so-slightly at the mention of Shane. "He mentioned me?"

Then, Rasa is entering, and Peter's immediately straightening to sit up... then slouching back down, his phone vanishing back into his hoodie's big, poofy pocket. "Oh yeah, no. You're not late. I'm just early."

"Sup, Rasa." Several of Taylor's arms are coiling up behind him, looping over each other into a loose prop for him to lean back against. His brows lift, a sliver of smile flashing quick across his face. "Dude, you've met Shane, right? He doesn't shut up about every thing that's on his mind." He lifts his chin to Rasa when ze enters. "You look like you need his coffee. I get you something?"

"Cold brew, sweet cream, caramel sauce." Rasa utters gratefully to Taylor, elbows planted on the table top, shoulders starting to melt into a lump. "We got any egg salad sandwiches?" Hir brain is concerned about Peter, underneath all of its sleepy fog. Ze gives a small shrug to hir coworker before turning back toward Peter. "Okay, spill. You're sitting on something and it looks fairly uncomfortable, so why don't you come out with it so we can talk about doing something?" Rasa's tone is pleasant, but firm, hir blue eyes studying his expression from the wrinkle of his eyelids to the set of his mouth.

The flush in Peter's face only intensifies as Taylor points this out about Shane. "Well..." His eyes drift to the mocha frappe in front of him; it's got caramel drizzled in it. Peter nudges it toward Rasa... then thinks better of it, and drags it back to him. "--I think that this is just... that? I already took a sip, though, which probably makes it kind of gross."

At the mention of hiding something, Peter's eyebrows fly up like springs sproing-ing from their mechanisms, launching imaginary gears in every-which direction. "Sitting on something? I'm not sitting on something. Why would you think I'm sitting on something?" His eyebrows are up, but his jaw is tense. Just a little tense. "I mean, I'm sitting on a chair."

"That's not cold brew. It's just -- cold." Taylor's arms begin a sinuous process of uncrossing just as soon as he's gotten comfortable. "We have egg salad. I could make it into a sandwich. You need food?" He glances towards Peter. "Or are you fine running on pure -- caffeine and nervous energy."

"Thank you, Taylor. But, if you want to chill for a little longer, I'll drink his coffee thing." Rasa gives the thermal cup an eyeing as Peter moves it toward and away from hir. "I mean, it seems to be going to waste and he doesn't look like he needs another drop." Ze frowns as ze reaches across the table for the drink. "I wouldn't say it was gross unless you specifically hocked a lougie into the cup for some weird reason."

Rasa then sighs, eyes still trained on Peter. "Why do I think you're not telling me something. Hm. Let me see. You're basically coiled tighter than a spring, but restrained in place. When you're having a normal day, you're much more upbeat and talkative. Hell, there's usually a good idea bouncing around in your head that you can't wait to share. But ... here we are, awkwardly sitting next to each other, not talk talking about stuff." Ze wets her lips. "Come on. I've known you for how many years now? Is this ... how MIT has been treating you?"

"Thank you, Taylor. But, if you want to chill for a little longer, I'll drink his coffee thing." Rasa gives the thermal cup an eyeing as Peter moves it toward and away from hir. "I mean, it seems to be going to waste and he doesn't look like he needs another drop." Ze frowns as ze reaches across the table for the drink. "I wouldn't say it was gross unless you specifically hocked a lougie into the cup for some weird reason."

Rasa then sighs, eyes still trained on Peter. "Why do I think you're not telling me something. Hm. Let me see. You're basically coiled tighter than a spring, but restrained in place. When you're having a normal day, you're much more upbeat and talkative. Hell, there's usually a good idea bouncing around in your head that you can't wait to share. But ... here we are, awkwardly sitting next to each other, not talk talking about stuff." Ze wets her lips. "Come on. I've known you for how many years now? Is this ... how MIT has been treating you?"

Peter is quick to nudge the drink back toward Rasa once ze clarifies that ze has no problem with drinking it. Really, at this point, Peter looks a little queasy at the idea of drinking it himself. It's at least got caramel in it, and is definitely... chilled. With whipped cream on top! "I'm fine. I've got granola bars," Peter announces to Taylor, and judging by his grin, it's not entirely clear if he's just joking. I mean, he probably does have some.

At Rasa's question regarding MIT, Peter's energetic pitter-patter grows abruptly more subdued. He grows a little more sullen: "MIT treats me just fine." Then, he follows -- more gently, with an apologetic edge: "Sorry, it's just... I've been on edge. There's so many fires popping up everywhere, and I don't know what to do. Have you been doing okay at NYU?"

"I said food," Taylor answers, at the mention of granola bars. His brows just -- hike up, as Rasa talks. One slender tendril arm rubs at the back of his neck, and he straightens fully, his longest arms coiling slowly around his midsection. "I'll get you that sandwich." He slips away toward the back, one arm lingering -- just for a moment to stretch out behind him and nudge the chairs at his table neatly into place.

"I don't think he liked your definition of food." Rasa offers to Peter on the side as Taylor heads away, gaze following him until hir head stops turning easily. Lips purse and a long inhales inflates hir lungs. "Anything I can do... to help you with those fires?"

As for Rasa's school? Hir voice grows rather dry as ze starts recounting hir experiences. "Oh. You know. Good for the given value of good. Sort of typical NYC. There are some students that are kind of... weirdly fascinated, acting as allies and I don't question that. Keeps the 'conversation' open. Oh and there's a support / student group... NYU-X. We try not to let anyone who is concerned walk home alone at night."

Ze waves a hand and picks up Peter's coffee to take a sip. It's So Sweet... it wakes hir up a little. "I don't know, Peter. Shit sucks, but I've got Vanya. I've got our friends. I've got this place. DO you have something like that in Boston?"

"Granola bars are food," Peter offers, but this defense is half-hearted at best. He looks a little dejected at the notion of having to eat a sandwich. Like: How DARE you insist that he consume actual food-things? "--um, oh. Thank you," he finally resigns himself to actually having to consume something more substantial than whatever scraps he has tucked away on his person.

"I don't think so." The response to Rasa's first question is absent-minded. Peter plucks up a pencil from the small condiment island in front of him, twirling it between his fingers. It spins and leaps across his knuckles like a color-guard's baton. There's a faint grimace -- a twitch? -- at the phrase 'weirdly fascinated'. "NYU... X?" Vague amusement.

"I have --" The pencil stops mid-twirl, then spins in the opposite direction. "It's weird. Back when I was in public school, nobody wanted to be my friend. I hated it. Now, everybody wants to be friends and I hate it even more."

"Hot chocolate, no whip, leave some space in the cup, lemon tart, and if you could put some whipped cream on the tart you'd make me very happy," Ted orders when he reaches the counter. It's his usual order, and he's gotten good at it. He slides a twenty over and nods in the direction of the sign explaining about the food fund by way of keep-the-change, and looks around the Cafe.

There's plenty of space, but he's hoping for some company, and one thing he has appreciated about Evolve is how friendly people can be... so he makes his way towards the corner, near Peter and the others. As he approaches his ears perk up at the reference to NYU-X, a group whose events he has been attending more and more often lately. He puts his order down on the table and tentatively chimes in "They do good work," before sitting down and taking a sip from his drink with every appearance of enjoyment.

"Yeah... I haven't figured out if I prefer the people that try to bash my face in for their honesty or the weird almost fetishists that just want to be my friend for the novelty." Rasa sighs, running a blue and gray finger through the whipped cream on top. "You know what? I don't. I mean, what kind of question is that? I miss being a stupid kid that one semester at Xavier's before anyone I knew got kidnapped." Ze slumps a little to the left -- but only momentarily as there is suddenly food ze did not order sliding its way onto the table.

Ze leans back and looks up, taking in Ted's sudden appearance. "Oh, hey Ted," ze replies, raising a hand to wave. "It's Rasa." As someone whose appearance is rarely consistent, this rapidly became one of hir usual greetings. It takes a long time for acquaintances to recognize the subtle similarities in hir features. Ze is getting better at hir on-campus face. "This is Peter. He's in town for the summer -- I believe? Don't know if you have any other internships or work experience activities set up."

"People who seem cool, who can deal with me being a mutant, they suddenly lose their minds the moment they see somebody else with wings or fangs or -- blue skin or something. And it's like... I don't even know how to deal with that. I almost prefer the Purifiers. At least none of them want to be my friend." Peter's lips twist into a knot. "That's messed up, yeah? That's probably messed up."

"Fetishists? Oh, God, I don't... I don't even want to know." Peter twirls the pencil back into its little island-receptacle, then drops his elbows on the table -- mopping his face with his palms. "You know, it never even occurred to me how like... Shane was -- is -- I mean, when we were together, I never even thought about it? But hanging out with B, now I realize how..." Peter's face is still in his hands. It's getting redder. In a way, he's actually really thankful when Teddy interrupts and gives him something else to talk about.

"--huh? Oh, uh. Hi." Peter turns, twisting around to look over one shoulder. He offers Teddy a hesitantly-guarded but still-friendly smile. "Yeah, I'm -- no internship. I'm off for the summer. Helping my aunt around the house."

Ted blinks at Rasa's introduction, squints at hir uncertainly, then nods hastily. "Oh, hey! Sorry, I didn't recognize you." He extends a hand to Rasa, then to Peter. "Hi Peter... I'm Ted. "

He nods acknowledgment of the mutant-fetish issue... it was a common topic among visible mutants, and he'd learned by experience that it was a topic he did better to listen than talk about, so he doesn't say anything.

"Well... welcome to New York," he says awkwardly, then "Oh... your family lives here, you said... welcome back, then. The summer's been kind of beastly, but it's still a great city. And I guess we're gonna have to get used to the heat, sooner or later. You were away for the school year?" he guesses.

"It's okay. I get that a lot." Rasa declines the offer as usual (ze took hir gloves off!) and runs a hand through hir hair, the color shifting from navy to a burnished copper. "Don't worry about it. It'll take more than an afternoon in jail to really get to know as many people as we got locked in with." Ze takes another sip of the much too sweet coffee and glances between the guys as they greet. "I'm sure she misses you, Peter. How is she, by the way?"

"She's doing okay," Peter replies almost automatically. "Healthy." His mouth gives a tiny twitch at the mention of jail; the cautious smile vanishes, replaced with something quiet and blank. He leans back in the booth-chair, both hands sliding into the pouch at the bottom of his hoodie. "Anything ever happen with those guys? The ones who attacked the memorial service."

Taylor is making his way back to the table, several of his arms laden now. Rasa's cold brew coiled in one, a plate with an egg salad sandwich and a side of chips in another, a bowl of chicken soup in another. He gives Peter the soup, Rasa the sandwich and coffee. Folds four arms loosely across his chest, pulling out a chair from an adjoining table to swivel it around, sit down in it backwards. "Happen? To the Purifiers? Please, they're so buddy buddy with the cops."

"Yeah, it's not even worth asking. I don't know if a single one of them were even processed -- IF they were even brought in." Rasa slides Peter's coffee away when hirs arrives, drawing it close and inhaling deeply (it may be cold, but it still has aroma). "Taylor, has anyone told you today that you are a beautiful, beautiful collection of star dust recently? Because you are." Fingers wrap around one of of hir sandwich and she takes a bite, settling into the flavor as a palette cleanser for recent sugar consumed.

"But yeah. Nothing happened to them except that they have go out and buy new bullets now. If we weren't mutants -- you know the city would be up in arms about motorcycle gangs in the streets taking law into their own hands."

Chicken soup. Peter inspects the bowl for just a moment before reaching for one of those plastic-sheathed saltines and pulling it apart with his fingers. He is meticulous about crumbling the crackers one tiny piece at a time and immediately consuming them in the soup, careful to not give them sufficient time to grow soft and soggy. "Mmm," he responds, first to Taylor, then to Rasa -- in between shoveling his face full of delicious soup. The next line is delivered with a conspicuous pause -- and, perhaps, more deliberately, Peter's eyes cast down as he blows on the soup to cool it. "Did you know," he says mid-blow, "that there's another biker gang going after them?" Soft and conspiratorial, as if he's sharing a SECRET. Oh, Peter.

Taylor grins broadly at Rasa. "Well, sounds like someone just did." His head shakes after this. "Another biker gang?" he scoffs, waving his smallest arm dismissively. "That would imply those fucking clowns are a biker gang in the first place."

"Well, it should be done at least once daily." Rasa clears hir mouth of food before speaking, polite and respectful like that. Ze reaches for hir cold brew after that, relishing the heavier coffee flavor. Ze sits happily. "Mmmm. Well, let me see. Do I know another biker gang? Taylor's assertion aside. This definitely sounds like something that shark pups might have told you."

"I thought the only qualifications to be a biker gang was to have bikes and be in a gang," Peter replies, and though it would be very easy to take it as snark, it's clear from the expression of puzzlement on his face that he means this with absolute sincerity. "Are there, like, tiers? Or --"

"-- oh, no," Peter replies, and there's just a hint of self-preening here as he pauses to crumble the next portion of the saltine cracker, before... Glmp! Swallow. "I met them myself, while on -- while I was running errands," he course-corrects with relative ease. He's at least gotten a little better at this. "I heard of them before, but I'd never seen them. They're called the Mongrels. They're a mutant biker gang." The way Peter says this last part... there's a bizarre sort of reverence, there. As if he has just delivered a divine revelation.

Taylor's brows hitch way up, one arm shifting to press against his lips -- not actually stifling his smile. "The Mongrels," he repeats, steadily. "Mongrels like the motorcycle club I'm prospecting right now? Mongrels like the club Shane and B have been patched into for years? Just how fried does MIT get your brain? I know college is a drain but you're real out of the loop, man."

"Pretty fried, apparently, but not sure if this is that.." Rasa looks from Taylor's smile to Peter's reverence. "I was just letting you tell the story with dramatic flare and all that." Ze starts in on hir sandwich once more, stomach grumbling loudly at the pause.

"You're -- Shane and B are --" Peter's expression shifts from that look of someone who is delivering awe-inspiring news to someone who is the recipient of awe-inspiring news. Eyebrows fly up; for a moment, he even forgets the crackers rapidly soaking up in the soup (and swelling into poofy little sogballs). "Wait, does that mean you all already know... uh." He lifts his hands up and wiggles his digits. "Sparkle-fingers? I think -- Ion? Ion was his name, I think."

"It was on a roof-top, not too far from here," Peter informs Rasa, only to then realize the awful mistake he's made in allowing the crackers to soak in for too long. He swiftly consumes three more spoon-fuls of soup, briefly grimacing at the loss of texture.

"Hell yeah we are. Well, they are. I'm still working on joining. I know the rep biker clubs have, but they're good people. Get medicine for people who doctors won't treat. Look out for mutants in the neighborhood. Protect kids from the Purifiers. Make sure folks are taken care of. We're better off with them around." Taylor's smile broadens. "And Ion really knows how to party." He straightens, glancing to the counter as the door opens and a group of teenagers floods in. "Hey, s'good to see you around again, man." He nods to the others as he heads back, ducking behind the counter again to return to work.

"Good ol' Captain Sparklefingers." Rasa replies, shaking hir head at the mental image of Ion in the Shazam costume. Ze gives a nod to Taylor as he leaves. "I'm surprised the two of you never ran into each other at fight club." Ze finishes off hir sandwich and takes another drink from hir coffee. "Peter... I've missed you. Try not to stay way so long next time?"