1964-06-05 - Fight or Flight Response
Summary: Jay and Rosemary have a chat about a certain missing elf, then draw too much attention to themselves during a heated argument. Cue chase scene.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
rosemarie jay lindon 


Finally — time to clock out. Rosemarie's quick to grab her bag, punch out her card, and make a hasty retreat for the front doors. Mrs. Ketch was no kinder today despite apparent healing progress in regards to her orange tabby with its broken leg. Tillie literally hid for most of her shift…which is saying something.

Emerging into the sunlight is refreshing, especially with the touch of spring warmth and the soft air brushing past. The Otherness glitters through her blood and, for a moment, she feels a bit lighter, more apt to simply lift from the ground for the sheer freedom of it. It reflects in her pause at the top of the steps and her distant, mildly-longing gaze towards the far horizon.

*

Lindon luckily gets to hide most of his shift anyway, stuck in the back with books to archive. He's happier than a pig in muck back there, away from Mrs. Ketch and, *shudder*, the public. When shift ends, he's pretty upbeat. More or less. Flipping through the books at lightning speed means a lot of finished books and a long eight hours. But it was eight hours away from Mrs. Ketch, so…

He hurries to catch up with Rosemarie as she steps out into the sunlight. "So how did it go today?" he asks. "She looked like she's still on the warpath." And he, the coward, left the women at the counter to bear the brunt of it.

*

The age old question has been answered. Can one look entirely troubled and not at all ecstatic, while holding an adorably useless doggie? Jay has done extensive testing on this subject, and yes. Yes it is. He is living proof.

Sitting on the steps of the library, a splay of bright red sits along side either of his legs while none other than the infamous Kevin winds back and forth on his leash, tying up Jay's legs and walking over and then under and around primary feathers, bouncing up and down the stairs, alternating whining sounds and impatient little huffs. Jay continues to feed the leash in and out after him so that he doesn't get tied up, leaning forward while he…waits. He simply seems to be waiting. A thoughtful wrinkle between his brows while he watched Kevin doddle about. Each time the door to the building opens, he sits up and twists, rubbernecking around to see who it is. Who knows how long he's been loitering there when finally he spots who he's been waiting for. A hand lifts way up, over his head. "Hey, Ms. Ro—-ohh." Bright colored eyes shift to Lindon as he catches up.

*

The librarian glances over Lindon and gives him a thin smile. "Still on the warpath. I'm glad that I have the next few days off." Her sigh is relieved beyond measure. However, hark — might that have been part of her name?

And how could she have missed Kevin?! Her mind must have been flirting off with the clouds in the stratosphere! Rosemarie spots the dog even as she spots the handler and…he's not the usual handler. Where's Kai…?

"Jay, hi! Lindon, come meet him, he's a delightful person," she adds to her coworker, flashing a true grin. She's quick to return the wave and adjusts her purse across her body. She's in a skirt today, long enough to be proper for work. It's the shirt that manages a bit of impropriety, dancing low along the line of the back shoulders, enough to reveal skin to air. Always be prepared, after all, when Mrs. Ketch drives one's blood pressure to questionably-high levels. Today was a good day to practice calming breathing and reminding the Otherness to behave. It still dances through her blood, chiming into her subconscious to find some airy space and indulge in stretching wings — literally. "Isn't that…Kai's dog?" She asks even as she stops, standing beside Jay. She doesn't mean to loom, but she does hold down an open palm for Kevin to sniff, if he feels so inclined.

*

Lindon falls in beside Rosemarie, amiable but not overly close. He offers Jay an awkward little wave and says, "Hello." Then he shoves his hands in his pockets, because what the hell else is he going to do with them? He has no idea. Hands are traitors, never knowing where to be when he's not using them.

"I'm Lindon," he adds as an afterthought. "Lindon Mills." He's in a button shirt and tie, his slacks pressed neatly, his shoes shined, though not quite so gleaming after a day of walking about the library.

He too doesn't mean to loom, but he's a tall, lanky fellow. Looming is his normal state. "What a cute little dog," he lies. It's not poor Kevin's fault. At least he has a lot of personality.

*

Gathering to his feet and untabgling the leash from around his ankle, Kevin drops down on his little furry butt to vigorously scritch at one ear. Still, even he seems to sense that something isn't quite right in his pea sized brain, always looking this way or that and occassionally making unsure whimpering sounds; as if looking for something that isn't there. That doesn't stop Kevin from sniffing all over Rose's hand and promptly sneezing on it before giving her the ol' 'I am adorable and completely useless' doggy grin.

The young red-headed man smiles softly, though his eyes seem to carry a little bit of mellencholy about the edges of them, not brightening with his smile. Polite. He nods to Lindon as well, offering a hand out at just the perfect awkward time as when Lindon shoves his hands in his pockets. "Oh, ah, Hey Lindon. Ah'm Jay. Guthrie. " The antithesis of Lindon's button down and pressed appearance, he's not a hippy, but there is a relaxed feeling about him, the way his button down denim shirt hangs open, the front ends tucked in his pants to stay out of the way. The growth of his hair. Et cetera. Still, he's pleasant to the other man. Jay looks down at Kevin, "Oh nah, man. Kevin's an ugly little mutt. But he's sweeter than momma's apple cobbler, an' won't give ya the dia-bee-tus." Nodding to Rose, a slightly more serious set to his expression. "Yeah…it is. Ah'm watchin' him fer…a while, Ah guess?"

*

Rosemarie wrinkles her nose a little at the spray of fine drops of dog-snot that spatters her palm, but…it's a dog thing…she guesses?

Jay's expression is given consideration once the librarian stands tall again, surruptitiously wiping her hand off on her skirt. "He's in good hands. Kai shouldn't be worried at all." Her smile is cajoling, attempting to mitigate what gravity pulls down on Jay's general person. She glances to Lindon and back.

*

Lindon starts to take a hand from his pocket to shake Jay's, but then Jay withdraws his hand, only now Lindon's committed, so he awkwardly smooths back his hair and says, "Hi, Jay." He glances at the dog and admits, "Yeah, he's pretty ugly." He laughs a little, half-smiling.

He then glances at his watch under the pretense of He Meant To Take His Hand Out Of His Pocket. Then his eyes widen and he says, "Oh, gosh. If I don't make my connection I'm going to be late to dinner." He smiles at them both, awkward but amiable. "I'd better get going."

*

Jay awkwardly reaches back, haltingly wheb Lindon reaches forward, and they end up in this weird back and forth where now Jay has to pretend to find something to do, and scrubs the back of his neck, casting an awkward, apologetic smile to Lindon. "Oh, am Ah keepin' ya? Ah'm sorry. Didn't mean t'intrude, man. You want walkin' company? The neighborhood aint always great, as Ah found out." He casts an amused and knowing glance to Rose.

*

Rosemarie gives Lindon a look that could be knowing..maybe…only maybe. Jay's comment is enough to make her roll her eyes, but the blush tilts the whole reaction towards fond embarrassment rather than annoyance.

"Oh, yes…unfortunately… Lindon will be fine, I think. He's not silly enough to wander down alleyways." The next glance to the red-head (red-winged?) young man is filled with friendly tease and a hint of gold about her irises. It disappears within the next blink, tamped down by her psyche. The Otherness makes an annoyed mental shrill and folds its metaphorical arms. No fun. "Get home safely, Lindon. I'll see you on Friday. Say hi to your housemate for me!"

*

"It's quite all right," Lindon says. "I was just leaving work with Rosemarie, here. I've got…" He gestures vaguely. "House. Dinner. Things." He gives Rosemarie a look. Hey, nothing to know about here! "Sure, I'll see you Friday, I'll tell Lamont you said hello." He pauses, then, "I'll just, um…" He waves to them both and says, "Good-bye." And he turns to go, just like that.

*

Jay tilts his head slightly as he watches Lindon leave, a hint curious and confused, the young man stares at Lindon's back for a few lingering seconds before he vanishes around a city street corner. Feathers ruffle and flex, straining against cloth while Kevin sniffs around his feet. "Housemate?" He heaves a sigh and turns to Rose, wilting just a little bit but offering her a smile none the less. "Well, can Ah at least walk /you/ home, Miss Rose?"

*

Rosemarie nods, her grip resting in its usual place about the strap of her courier purse.

"Housemate," she echoes, watching Lindon head in the direction of his home. "I think he uses archaic words sometimes. Roommate, I guess, would be the current version of it." Looking to the young man again, she smiles and nods. "Of course, Jay. I wouldn't mind the company."

She begins to step down the stairway, glancing over every now and then to her comrade. She needs must find her feet, after all, or go tumbling down concrete. Ouch. "Kai must be out of town then, for you to be watching Kevin?"

She knows nothing of the Elf's disappearance. For all she could fathom, he was on vacation off someone bright and sunny sipping on a Mai-Tai.

*

"Oh, it weren't the word that confused me," Jay murmurs and scrubs a hand through his hair, inhaling a deep breath to bolster himself and follow down the stairs with Rose, careful not to trip over Kevin, who has been stricken with a case of the shiver and whimpers. "C'mon, Kev. C'mon, boy." Coaxing the little ugly beastie down. "Uh, yeah, sorta. Ah guess he's missin'. But. Some guy seems to think he knows where he is? But can't bring Kev so…Ah…" Jay doesn't even seem entirely certain while he explains the situation and shrugs. "Just a lotta confusin' stuff happening lately. You ever feel like you know someone real well, but suddenly realize you don't know nothin?"

*

Rosemarie feels anxiety settle in the pit of her stomach like a rock. Suddenly, the day doesn't seem so very sunny.

"You mean…missing like, a missing person? Like he's in trouble?" The brunette seems to shrink even as she walks, her shoulders rising up minutely. The raptor-gold returns about her irises, just around the centers. "Oh no…" She finds her shoes suddenly very interesting even as she scratches behind her ear.

*

Inhaling a deep breath once again, Jay's just full of sighs today as they walk along, explaining hollowly, "Yeah. Like that. 'Kidnapped' is what he said." He? He who? What's going on? Turning his attention back toward Rose, noting the gold in her eyes and the scratching behind her ears. "Hey," Jay gentles. "It'll be okay. Ah mean. There's nothin' we can do about it right now." He gestures with the leash. "Just keep Kev company an' wait."

*

"But…waiting is the worst part," Rosemarie whispers, a deep coloring of concern bleeding blue through it. "I…I h-hope he c-c-comes h-home safely. Whoever is l-looking f-f-for h-him w-will find him." A nod underlines the little light of hope burning in her heart for this. They have to — no one deserved a kidnapping. No one.

"W-When did this h-h-happen?" She risks checking in with Jay again, feeling the tremulous quiver of the Otherness in her blood. Stress means self-defense.

*

"Yeah…" Jay hesitates while they walk, little Kevin weaving back and forth, occasionally stopping to sniff something, catching up when his leash tugs him. "About a week ago? Ah was callin' him at his house an' he just stopped pickin' up, an' one day some guy picked up an' started threatenin' me. Told me that he was gone. The next day he called me over an' told me he was kidnapped but he knew where t'find him." Jay frowns and rubs a hand through his hair, looking over at Rose, confusion written all over his face. "Rose, Ah don't mean t'be an imposition, but can I lay somethin' down on ya?"

*

She listens…and concern wells up until the corners of her eyes glisten. Ah, sweet Rose — she wears her heart on her sleeve in painful ways sometimes.

"I'm g-g-glad y-you're okay," she confesses, reaching across the distance between them, but then seeming to think better of it. Her fingers curl away into a renewed grip about the crisscrossed strap. "And y-yes, of c-course," she adds, frowning and looking between his green eyes. She even pauses in walking, outside of a small barber shop.

*

Jay stops when Rose does, veering to the side to get out of the way of foot traffic, lingering near the large window by the barber shop. Reaching forward in an attempt to gently touch Rose's elbow, Jay leans in to whisper very, very softly, "Did you know Kai's a homosexual?"

Oh, Jay. Oh, /southern/, corn-bread eating Jay.

The young man leans back, his eyes full of conflict. His friend, his very /good/ friend, is kidnapped and he's worried about this new revelation. He may mean well, but the gentle young man is just backwards sometimes.

*

A period of silence follows as Rosemarie puts together what she can gather from tone of voice, expression, and posture. It all reads as: deeply concerned and somehow torn. She draws back, frowns severely for a second, before a blush blossoms bright beneath her freckles.

"J-Jay. Yes, I w-wondered. If y-y-you're so c-concerned, y-you should know th-that…" Those cinnamon-brown eyes flush to raptor-gold and there, the unfurling of the blue crests from behind each ear. It seems the wings are tamped down. She's actually ignoring the change for once. "W-Well, I've h-had a g-girlfriend. And a b-b-boyfriend. Both."

Make of that what he will. She stares him down, suddenly intensely focused upon him. The crests spread up high behind her, giving her more of the look of ancient Norse Valkyries than perhaps seen in such a moment lacking danger.

*

Dumbstruck. Stricken into complete and utter silence, Jay watches those eyes flip to that golden predatorial hue and he stares back in shock as all the blood in his body goes straight into his /face/. Roaring in his ears. Surely, he heard wrong. Nah. No way. He doesn't even seem to immediately notice the feathers sprouting behind her ears at the dear little musician boy from down south unsticks his tongue from the roof of his mouth, sticks a finger in his ear and wiggles it around. "Sorry? Ah-Ah think Ah heard y'wrong. Fer a second it sounded like you were tellin' me you were queer, too."

*

Those aureate eyes narrow and the crests of plumage rise up further until their spread is full proof that Jay's managed to hit upon a sensitive nerve.

"Y-Yes, Jay, you h-heard me correctly. W-Why, does this sh-shock y-your s-sensibilities?" Even as Rosemarie spits it out, she's already regretting her temper getting sway of her words. She winces, quailing inwards minutely before the Otherness straightens that spine to parade-ground straight.

*

He hit something and he can see it, sure. Brows lift upwards high when Rose narrows her golden gaze at him. Jay holds his hands up and out, leash around his wrist, Kevin starts yapping at Rose while his own wings are fluffing up in response to try to make himself look larger.

"Hey now, don't get mad at me! Like Ah'm supposed t'know anything about any of this? Kev, hush now." A piteous look flushing over his pallid face. "It's shockin' because it's shockin'!" Whispering hard to express his own urgency, his own emotional height in the matter, Jay reaches down to pick up the little sissy dog, which makes a LOT more sense now. Tucking Kevin under his arm.

"What the heck, is /everyone/ in New York fey, they just didn't include it in the pamphlet? Lindon." Jay gestures out in the direction the young man went. "Lindon with his 'roommate'. He fey, too? Ah don't know, now. Ah mean…/man/." Distressed, a little nervous with his friend's ire fallen on him, stressed over his friend being kidnapped and quite honestly a little frantic about being able to do NOTHING about it, Jay's expression is torn between misery and lost confusion as he looks around their immediate viscinity.

*

"JAY!"

The name is shrilled at him, loudly enough to garner at least one passing glance. The world keeps spinning, however, and they're simply another pair on a New York sidewalk disagreeing about something. Rosemarie throws up her hands and one scratches briefly at the base of one crest of feathers.

"Y-You — " The stutter basically strangles her and she gestures mutely again within the space between them in some weird language, attempting to confer upon him the utter base silliness of his concerns. "K-Kai is himself. I am me! I am no less! It is not shocking!" She manages to keep her voice down. "We are who we are. I love for love." Her voice breaks a little as she folds her arms tightly. "I don't care who as long as they love me back! You understand love, don't you?!"

*

|ROLL| Jay +rolls 1d10 for: 4

*

Jay takes a step backward in kneejerk reaction when Rose barks his name, shrilly. Like a complete nutcase, he holds Kevin close to his chest and turns part way away, protective of the little dog as he's dressed down in public. As if cowering from an angry lady in public weren't enough, there's a screaming of thread and seams as powerful wings push up against the back of his shirt enough to pop a few of them. Not tear it all open mind you, but the middle of the denim splits down the seam and a few bright red feathers poke out. Because they weren't visible enough.

"Yeah, Ah understand /love/, Rosemarie," a little indignant himself now when she suggests that he doesn't get it, frowning at her. "But Ah grew up with raght bein' raght and wrong bein' wrong; an' the good book don't abide." Core value argument. "Ev'ry man's gotta pal or two they're close to, but it don't ever go nowhere because men go with women and women go with men. It's the order a things."

*

"That…book…is thousands of years old. Love is not wrong," she hisses back. "So w-w-w-what, I'm…anathema to y-y-you now? Too dirty to be your friend?!"

Thoughtful move on her part to wear that low-backed shirt to work. Even as she now clutches fists at her sides, those midnight-blue wings uncurl from beneath her skin and mantle high and ominously behind her despite their smaller size. The primaries still manage to hang low enough to reach just beyond the hem of her shirt. Perhaps the Otherness noted, in her subconscious, the sudden appearance of crimson plumage from beneath strained jacket material. Too late now — its presence is free.

"What the hell?!"

The shocked shout knifes her attention back to the present, beyond glaring a sizzling hole between Jay's eyes, and she realizes with a prickling heat that dances across her skin and chills fingers, that she's blown her cover. In public. Broad public. Oh girl, everybody's staring at you now.

"…Jay!" It's a helpless squeak as the blood drains from her face. "We need to run!"

The adrenaline kicks in hard. Before Jay can respond, she's turned on her heel and proceeded to sprint, her wings flapping in semi-uselessness. The nearest alleyway! She dives in, hearing more shouts behind her.

*

"It ain't /like that/!" Jaygentle, even-tempered, bleeding-heart Jay Guthriehisses back at a lady, brow furrowed at her in defensive, somewhat self-riteous upset. With a final push and emotional termoil, his own 'other' ness makes a break for it. Strong, crimson wings break through the tearing and popping seams in his shirt, splitting his /favorite/ garment open with a full flourish of wide spread feathered wings, setting a backdrop of sunset-hues behind him, tinting the light.

Drawing in a deep breath to hiss back in his defense, Jay stills, not noticing what he's done, or really even what Rose has done out in the middle of the street until he hears someone yell at them. He knows that tone. He knows that sound. That's 'I'm about to murder your whole family' sound. Wings suddenly shrink with a gust of air and enfold behind his back, his stomach going liquid as Jay looks over at the bystander, eyes wide and mouth agape.

Kevin whimpers, barks like a tiny squeak toy his alarm, trying to squirm uselessly out from under Jay's arm. The young man murmurs numbly, "Oh hell…" And /bolts/ in Rose's wake, following her close, taking corners sharply, the 'click-click-click' of his flip-flops rapidly pitter pattering until he slips and loses one of them on the sidewalk. 'Thump-click. Thump-click.' Kevin barking all the way.

*

Thankfully, at least for the moment, at least one good thing comes of that Good Book and it's that the majority of the folks on the street are quite certain that they saw angels. Like, actual defacto angels, oh my god, when was the last time I went to confession?! A little girl tugs on her mother's sweater and squeals,

"Momma! Feathers, momma!" A flutter of the breeze blows one single azurine feather over to her and she picks it up, eyeing it with pure delight. A secondary feather brushes past her chin, in cardinal-red, and she darts down a hand for it to capture it as well. "Ooh…" Well…at least someone's enamored.

The air rushes raggedly past her dry throat as she darts quickly behind a dumpster. Flattening herself to the wall for all of a second, she then grimaces, makes a broken brassy-squeak, and then reaches out to snag for Jay's — anything: sleeve, jacket tail, hand, wing feathers. She attempts to bring him into the shadows though there's a tiny, bitterly sad part of her that knows that there really is no escape…except.

"Jay! I can't fly," she whispers, the sound slithering with avian undertones. "Can you carry us?! You said you can fly!"

*

Well, there's something to be said for having physical 'add ons' that coinside with 'outdated books'. Ahem. Believe you me, Jay's mother tried to argue that case to the Pastor until she was blue in the face.

Jay, looking behind himself to see just how big a lead they've gotten on…/whoever/, is snagged by the arm when he's not looking and for a moment rears back a fist as if to punch his would-be assaulter right in the face, then flails and falls over next to Rose, Kevin yipping loudly and squirming in Jay's arms. "Sorry, sorry, sorry!" He whispers hard to the little dog, trying to hush him up with a hand over his muzzle.

Heart beating a mile a minute, sounding in his ears for the second time today, Jay is straining to listen for the sound of a Mob (tm). All wide green eyes, he blinks dumbly at Rose, taking a couple of seconds to understand what she's saying before he swallows hard and nods a few times. "Yeah-yeah, Ah can fly. Ah'm just…not so good at th' landin' part sometimes. Or the takin' off part on the ground with a passenger, but Ah can do it. Yeah." His attention flicks back down the alley, waiting. "Yeah…" murmuring absently, he frowns and steels himself with a breath, carefully pressing the squirming, unhappy little dog and leash over to Rose. "You hold on t'him, dig?"

*

Wincing at blunt claws and the amount of wiggling that Kevin does, she's finally able to very carefully enfold the trembling dog in her arms. She's well-aware of the fact that her fingertips are now vicious talons and keeps them folded tightly away against her palms, where her skin is thickened to counteract the sharp edges in a moment of thoughtful meta-biology.

"Kevin, stop! Stop!" she hisses. The sounds of voices, some loud and brash, others concerned, begin to filter in from the entrance of the alley. No police sirens are going to scare off these folk. No one has anything to fear of the cops except for a few unsavories who mutter to themselves about 'fuckin' mutants' and 'no angels have wings like that'. She looks to Jay again with wide, panicked eyes before her chin tips. She stares up at the sky, so very blue above them, and — it hits her. "The roof, Jay! The roof! J-Just get there!" In her arms, Kevin whimpers and quivers and generally decides that feathery things are no fun at all, even if they do drop muffins every now and then.

*

Chills run through Jay's body. Palms sweat. His stomach can't decide if it wants to stay in knots or if it's ready to just upset everything he's eaten in the last couple hours. He /knows/ those voices. Fearful, sure, but it's more than that written into Jay's face as he peers back over to Rose, eyes glassy.

Roof? He works on a little bit of a delay, peering up the crumbling walls of the building toward the sky. Oh. Roof.

A call to action is just what he needs, though his execution may be a little lacking. Jay kicks off his remaining flip-flop and plants his feet, leaning in with every intention of trying to slip his arms under the battle-fuming woman's person and lift her up in a bridal carry, if he is able.

*

Given his height and despite his build, Rosemarie only makes a quiet "Eeeep!" of shock as she's swept up. Her wings attempt to aid in little trapped flutters against the line of his arm and against his chest, but somehow, within the panic corroding away at anything beyond basic reactions, she wills them to calmness. It seems the Otherness agrees…for the time being, at least. The azurine feathering echoes the shivering of the dog cuddled in her arms who hides his snout within the crook of her neck. His nose is cold. Why her brain decides this important to note, she has no idea.

She, too, buries her face into his collarbone, finding the divot there, and her voice crackles out, "J-Just do it!" Like as not, some of the plumage of her crests tickles at the underside of his chin.

Someone yells down the alleyway, something obscene and threatening, and a thrown beer bottle shatters against the wall nearest to them.

*

Just the roof. Just make it up. Up.

Jay mentally psyches himself up as he presses to his bare feet, pulling Rose inward with a tilt toward his chest. It's hard to tell beneath those comfortable layers, but now pressed close to his torso, Rose's brain may later pick out the detail that the young man is a ball of lean, compact muscle. Like, of course, a bird. Or a really homoerotic statue of an angel.

The sound of shattering glass startles him, wings shaking in tremulous whispers of feathers, then spread out their full impressive breadth, scraping the edges of the failing brick walls around them as Jay's muscles pump hard to beat the ever-loving hell out of the air. The noise is immersive, echoing in the alleyway especially. Feathers flex and bow with resistance and suddenly for a disorienting moment, Rose may feel strangely and disorientingly weightless as Jay's heels lift up and he tip-toes forward in a walk on the balls of his feet, leaning forward and gaining speed, they lifts up somewhat awkwardly, slightly panicked and entirely smoothly.

/Flight/. The thing men have dreamed about since they first saw birds. And he hides it under a denim button down.

*

"OH!" Kevin echoes the sound in a much higher, yelpy-er pitch as they leave the ground. He's not longer squirming away, rather attempting to squirm as tightly as he can between Rosemarie's arm and Jay's chest. It's all a blur of brick walls and fire escapes and the lurching is simultaneously thrilling and frightening as all hell. One of her hands slips from its hiding and she knuckles up a full grip of shirt or torn denim jacket, whatever's available, as her peripheral reports to her that they rise higher still, towards the brightness of the sun and the eternal heights of the sky.

The Otherness tastes the freedom, scents the high wisps of cirrus cloud, and the low-key buzz of her own wings increases further still, as if cheering on their red counterparts.

*

Shouts behind them remind Jay that they are /not/ out of the woods yet. To make that perfectly apparent, a thrown bottle strikes him in his lower back with a sickening thud of a solid object against flesh and bone. Jay stifles a yelp of his own and his wing beats falter slightly, allowing a dip in their altitude before he redoubles efforts to keep going. Keep climbing. Up! Up! Intuition screams wild in his blood as Jay's eyes latch on to that blue horizon line over the building until he reaches it. A natural flight response pulling at him like tendons upon muscles, they scream at him until with a shuddering breath, the odd trio reaches the ledge of the high building, Jay's toes touch it briefly and he /keeps going/. His flight response going hardcore and telling him there's not nearly enough space between them and the people below. They head north.

*

It takes her enough time to realize that they're beyond the rooftop. Enough time that she turns her face from its hiding place in the shirt and shrills another sound again. Unfortunately, those nails might have just sliced new holes in his clothing. So sorry.

"J-Jay! The roof!" It's a reminder that tests her sore throat…and the pull of the Otherness. Yes, open air! Yes, vaulted skies! Even despite the brutal trepidation, Rosemarie blinks as her raptor-gold eyes take in the unparallel view of the city below them.

Wow… Thank goodness Kevin remains buried in her armpit, little ostrich that he is.

*

Well, it isn't like he was going to keep this shirt after this.

"No," Jay calls over the friction of the wind as it whips past them, no longer climbing with that increased G-force on their bodies, Jay levels out and his muscles shift to speed them /forward/ rather than upward, dodging between taller buildings, zipping past windows. "We're not far enough away, yet. Trust me. Trust me they always follow. Always." Sunken into his intuitive urge to flee, Jay's brain latches onto that feeling and doesn't let go, clutching his precious package to his chest as the city streets fly by them. The wind cooler up here. Tearing at them with invisible fingers.

It isn't until concrete gives way to lush, cultivated greenery of Central Park that Jay seems to slow and spiral down toward the Shakespear Garden. Finding somewhere private and currently less occupied. The dive is a little sharp, uneven, coming up on the ground fast, Jay backwings hard to kick up wind and flower petals and grass. Dropping the last couple feet with an 'umph' of sound, jogging forward a yard or so. "Sorry. Sorry, sorry…Ah warned ya Ah don't, uh, fly much."

*

Oh god, that's harrowing. The winged man's statement worms its way deep into her psyche. They always follow…it'll echo in nightmares.

The better road seems to be to continue to act as stationary luggage, no extra wiggling or squeaking or any sort of distracting behavior. After all, she was concerned for a fleeting second that the tip of her flat was going to brush along the thirtieth window of a skyscraper. Bonus points for doing nothing more than closing her eyes and bending slightly at the knees.

The landing is something that urges the sounds from her. Each jounce is cause for a shrill 'peep'-like sound to escape her lips, more instinctive reaction than anything else, and finally…everything is still. Oh…oh, it takes her stomach a moment to settle, but finally, she looks up at Jay with wide doe-eyes in that gold nowhere near natural. The deep-blue crests, having been flush to her skull in some mimicry of aerodynamic action, slowly perk up again to a moderately-full spread.

"Y-Y-You're f-f-fine," she finally whispers, swallowing hard. In her arms, Kevin seems to realize that the craziness has abated and lifts one ear. Slowly, his head emerges. Little dog eyes weigh his surroundings and he lets out a whuft of a sigh, dropping his chin upon Rose's chest.

*

Disturbed from their little brush with a mob and completely missing the marvelous irony laden within, Jay swallows hard and his wings fold up, but they eke out around his shoulders, begging and hovering around him. Anxious still when his eyes fall on the little dog tucked in Rose's arms. "Oh. Kev. Ah-Ah'm sorry, buddy. Ah'm sorry." His shirt clings to him in tatters, sleeves hanging on around his elbows and somehow something's holding on around his back somewhere while he reaches out, offering to take hit little ward back.

Peering back to Rose, noting the color of her eyes, Jay seems…weary. Saddened. "Ah'm sorry fer fightin', Rose. Ah…" He trails off and shakes his head slowly, unable to articulate anything that won't get him in trouble or seem utterly hopeless or wind around in circles. Instead, he shrugs.

*

She's without words as she hands back the now-tired dog. It seems that this whole escapade has taken most if not all of the spunk from Kevin's sails. No doubt he'll nap very hard when safely home again — wherever home may be, likely Jay's abode. The lack of the warm weight is oddly discomfiting and she's taken through the heart by a vicious stab of wanting to hold her cat, Lola. Still, there's the here-and-now to address first and it means the social nicities of replying to her savior who still manages to prickle under her skin by reminding her of what caused all of the feathering in the first place.

"Apology a-accepted," she says with a rasp, the avian brass beginning to recede. "Y-Y-You d-don't have to l-like it." 'It' being her revelation. Her shoulders droop even as the wings do the same. "St-t-till…it's a sh-sh-shame. I h-h-hope we can st-till b-b-be friends." Very diplomatic of her, even if it hurts and the wariness shows in her demeanor and at the corners of her eyes.

*

Jay gathers the remnants of his overshirt up and enfolds it around Kevin, holding the little ugly thing against his chest protectively. The whole thing has taken it out of him, too. Maybe the whole ordeal has. Things catching up to Jay as he holds on to the trembling little ball of warmth.

Keeping his head bowed, eyes closed while Jay holds on to Kevin, the distance in Rose's tone chilling him. But he can't blame her for any of it. "It's just a lot," Jay murmurs and pivots on one foot, letting that weight push him away. "Ain't my place to judge, it's just a lot an' Ah thought Ah might be able to talk to you." The insinuation that he seems to have been wrong hanging heavily in the air. "Ah need to get Kev back home. Little guys…prob'ly scared t'death."

*

"You can t-talk to m-me, y-y-you…" The sigh is nearly more screech than actual exhale. "You can, Jay. Okay?" Okay. By this point, everyone's pretty tuckered out and nothing good ever came of attempting to discuss the finer points of society when rubbed raw by adrenaline. Even those azurine wings have slipped away and the crests are retreating as she sighs, looking up from the grass to him again.

"Thanks, Jay. You w-w-were brave. W-We're even n-now, I think. Get K-Kevin home, yes. I-I'll find a c-c-cab." She too pivots and begins to walk away, a little stumble haunting her even as she hugs herself. No talons to dig into her own biceps, just human fingernails. One last glance over her shoulder betrays full humanity in cinnamon-brown eyes and then…home again, home again, jiggity-jog.

And maybe a drink.

*

Jay's mouth curves up into a perfect simulacrum of a smile as his eyes remain cast downward, using Kevin as an excuse not to look up. He shrugs gently at Rose's claim he can talk to her, trying to be polite. Non-combatant. "Ah'm real good at runnin' away. Just…be safe out there, Rose." Jay mentions and it sounds genuine. Again to the marrow in his bones genuine as he turns as well, large wings compressed tight and slick against his back, like a contortionist, giving her a view of how he must walk around all day every day; bound up and compressed. Sometimes life is just…uncomfortable.

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