1964-06-09 - Insecurities
Summary: In which Jay and Josh talk life
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
jay josh 

At the moment, Josh finds himself in the clinic room — or what passes for one — though there's no one actually clinicing there. The door is open and he's sort of sprawling in a chair, gold and looking a little bit relaxed for one of the few times recently. He's got a newspaper open before him that he's reading.

Tucked away in some out of the way corner in the 'community center', the clinic is just where Jay seems to be headed. The light jingle jangle of dog tags follows his ever present 'click-clack' flip flops as Jay is accompanied by a small, ugly, but ever so happy dog who seems properly enthralled by all the new friends he is undoubtedly about to make. Jay, the jerk, keeps walking by every person that Kevin tries to stop at, tugging him along until he pokes his head into the clinic space. A small smile graced for Josh and his sprawled position. "Hey, man. Hard at work?"

"Hardly working." replies Josh with a golden grin as he sits straighter up, closing the book and setting it aside. He blinks at the dog, and leans forward, offering a hand out to the pup to see if its not turned off by weird golden people. At least he smells like people, so maybe that's something. "And for me, hardly working means its a good day. Means there's not a lot of healing needing doing. I didn't know you had a dog."

Not only is Kevin not detered by a hand in his direction, he goes right to the weird, shining hand and snuffs all over Josh's fingers with his wet nose. When he decides that Josh is a human, he starts with the manic licking, his tail flipping every which way until his whole back end starts to wobble back and forth.

Jay smiles gently down at the little animal, endeared, but there's also a maudlin edge to it. "Ah don't. Ah mean…Ah might? He's a friend's. That's why Ah haven't been at the dorms; didn't figure they'd be too chill about me bringin' him in."

Using his not soaking wet hand, Josh scratches and rubs vigorously along the dog's neck and behind the ears, "And what's *your* name, little guy?" Apparently Josh likes dogs. He scoots off the chair to kneel, the better to show some attention, "Goood boy. Goood dog." He looks up to Jay then and furrows his brow, "They have a no pet policy? I hadn't heard what the rules are. What brings you around here? Need something or social?"

Kevin's tongue gets away from him while Josh scritches him. When the golden boy slips from the chair to the floor, the ugly little creature so full of love twists his head around slowly until he flops over onto his back, showing Josh his belly while his tail wags all over.

"His name's Kevin. Ah honestly haven't even asked anyone, yet. Most schools don't really take kindly to pets, though he makes less of a mess than Ah do during molt. Ah thought it'd just be one day, maybe two, but it's been over a week, now." Jay sighs and reaches down to unclip Kevin's leash. "Just wanted to see a friendly face and was in the neighborhood."

Belly's, Josh knows what to do about belly's. Vigorous rubbing. He peers at Jay a moment, and gives a half a shrug, "I'd ask, it might not be an issue. It's nothing like any normal school I've ever been to." He furrows his brow then, "Do you need help looking for this friend of yours? Is she ahh a 'special friend'? I like dogs" Obviously, "But I don't know that I'd take responsibility for one for just anyone. Its a big deal, keeping someone's pet safe." But then he smiles and nods his head, "Well, this *is* a friendly face. Shiny, too."

Jay shrugs and nods mildly when Josh advises him to ask, looking down at the happy little dog. "Yeah. It's gettin' to be a pretty long time. Though, Ah'm not mindin' having a quiet place to myself." He smiles gently down to Josh, as if he might understand what it's like now, living in a house full of people all the time.

The query about his friend and implication makes Jay blink and face immediately flood with color. "Well, it's a 'he', so…" The rest of the statement sort of left on its own while Jay rolls the leash up. "Kev and I are pals, anyway. He's ugly as sin but sweeter than momma's cobler. Ah am getting real worried about my friend but there's not a whole lot Ah can do about it. Jus' make sure Kev stays safe."

"I still have my apartment — well, if you could call it that, frankly its *extremely* generous a word — in Mutant Town, since sometimes I stay the night here, depending on things. I'm letting an old friend of mine from college crash on the couch." Josh nods his head in understanding, despite him only recently semi-moving into the Institute. But he looks to Jay for a moment at the color and the thing on gender, and he snorts, "He, my mistake. 'So' doesn't mean anything though." Josh has sort of stopped caring about taboo's, since he's gone gold. "There's more then a few he's who like the he's about. Nothing more wrong with that then me being gold or a man being black." Then he hesitates, furrowing his brow, "Word around the school is the Professor has some means of finding people, long-distance. Maybe he could help? Is your friend a mutant?"

Color remains hot in Jay's cheeks as he dips his head forward until red hair falls over his face, reaching up to tug at one of his ear lobes with a hand. "Yeah, Ah'm startin' to understand that," Jay mumbles, the soft sound of friction whispering around him as his wings stretch and strain against his overshirt. Scooping a hand through his hair a few times, an aggitated motion, he folds down into a cross-legged position on the floor while Kevin yips at Josh, demanding attention. Peering up at Josh once more, shaken out of his thoughts when he mentions the Professor being able to find people, Jay's brows loft upward. "Does he? Well…no. He's an' alien. His…'Friend' made it sound like he was in trouble and it was gonna be dangerous, but then he jus' vanished without a word."

Josh responds to the yipping by laying down right there, on the ground, tucking one arm around the pup, and the other resting on his belly and vigorously petting again. There! See! Josh *is* a dog person. "My family had a dog, I miss her. I wanted one later, but you can't have a dog and be a resident. You might not be home for two days sometimes, when you are home maybe you don't have the energy for anything btu sleep." But Josh will cuddle a happy dog on a not totally clean floor just to say I-wuv-wu-dog, even if he just met it. He says absently, though there's a hint of an edge. "I've always liked both the he's and the she's: mostly I've liked people. The mechanics are fun to explore but not important." Daring thing to say, but Josh is an athiest gold guy, why not add more? "Anyways, uh, I don't know if he can find aliens. The Professor. I don't really know how the Professor's finding thing works at all. Just most of the students seem to have been *found*, they didn't come to him or get brought to him, like I was."

Kevin is /full/ of love. He might try to catch flies and lick his own ass for hours and bark at the lights turning off, but he is bursting with love. He flips over on his front again when Josh lays on the floor and stretches his legs out behind himself, so stupidly excited that he drags his belly on the floor, pulling himself forward to Josh with his front legs, excitedly licking at the gold fellow and immediately rolling around to receive pets on all sides. OHMYGOSHTHEBEST!

Jay smiles, watching Josh and Kevin roll around on the floor together warming him a little bit. "We have a dog, too. He's the best. Kevin's more like…half raccoon, half possum, but he loves everyone." Speaking of loving everyone. Jay presses his lips together slightly when Josh mentions his proclivities, trying to bite his tongue considering how his /last/ conversation on this subject went. So he presses on to a safer one. "Yeah, all Ah know is that someone went fer him. Ah get to sit and wait until, Ah don't know, he either comes back or…doesn't." The delicate muscles in Jay's jaw tighten and work around beneath his fair skin, tension surrounding his youthful eyes to give him a troubled look. Wings twitch and fluff up, visible secondary and primary feathers spreading out over the floor around him.

'Doesn't. That's bad. Its enough to make Josh stop giving Kevin all sorts of attention. Well it doesn't stop him entirely, but Josh rolls himself up to look seriously at Jay, his hands otherwise petting Kevin like the goood boy he is. "I'm sorry, I don't know what other options to suggest to help your friend." He is so very serious, and grave when he adds, "And I have touched aliens before, I've read them. I *could* heal them, I could even bring them back. But that's purely theoretical. I don't know enough about their physiology to actually translate theory into fact." That… makes his shoulders slump. "I hope your friend turns out okay. I'm afraid I might not be any use at making that happen."

Kevin enthusiastically drags himself forward to crawl into Josh's lap if he's able, flopping onto his back, bony little feet waving and wiggling everywhere for attention.

A sickly looking little smile greets Josh's worry and offered assistance, just a little too far stretched over Jay's mouth as the young man stares back at his friend. Softly, his voice a little on the hushed and thickened side; his nerves have been worn thin for a number of reasons and it's starting to catch up to him a little. "Ah know. Me too. Ah'm sorry, Josh. Ah don't mean to be such a downer." Apologetic. "Ah'll talk to the professor. Ah mean…he's an alien. What if they took him off the planet or somethin'?" /Worried/, Jay quickly backpeddles. "Sorry. Ah'll ask."

Josh there can handle himself a lap of dog. He will alternatively pet and scratch and maybe just cheat and modulate seratonin to make sure the dog doesn't joyoverdose. He can do that without thinking, really. But his concern is clear for Jay, "Hey, man, I know we're not best friends who have this long history of mutual secrets and obligations and all of what makes these big, deep friendships, but I'd like to think of you as my friend. You've been there for me. Its okay to be worried and want some support if you're in a time of need. As for if he's taken off planet?" He shrugs, "I just don't know. Maybe one of the X-Men will know."

Jay looks down at Kevin, settled in Josh's lap, happier than a pig in mud, stupidly oblivious that his owner is in a special kind of hell. "Thanks, Josh. Ah know we're friends. Ah like you. Ah trust you. It's just…complicated. Ah don't know where to begin." It's been a blur of days, Jay shaking his head and glancing out the open door to the clinic. He sighs and turns in his sitting place, stretching out to swat the door with his fingertips and close it with a squeak of hinges and click of the latch. Turning back toward Josh, he still hesitates. "You really don't mind? Ah just…just…try not to get mad? Ah'm tryin' to work all this out."

Josh keeps it up, the petting and scratching. Its idle, not quite as intense as first contact, but steady and regular. There might also be some very instinctual shiftings of neurotransmitter levels so Josh being an idle petter is just as good as Josh being the most attentive and focused petter ever. Yes. Josh cheats. But he does so without really focusing on it, looking at Jay, his golden brow furrowing, "Jay, man. Have you killed a mutant lately? Beaten one up? Have you kicked a little girl because she's blue or refused to serve a guy because he has scales? Have you killed someone whose only crime in life was to try to live? Have you been cruel because you enjoyed feeling superior to someone while hating them? Jay." Josh takes a long, slow breath and lets it out while keeping his eyes on his friend. "Jay, what I get mad about is things like that. I can't imagine you did any of them. You don't have to say perfect words with me, you can use me as a sounding board and I'll hear you out and tell you what you think. That you trust me means you don't have to ask questions like I don't mind, and ask me not to get mad. That's what trust is."

Kevin just lays on his back with all four little legs flopped over, his tiny chest rising and falling rapidly as he pants, his tongue lolling out of his mouth while he's in doggie nirvana. Tiny guttural groans punctuating the men's conversation occassionally.

Jay on the other hand, shakes his head slowly to every question, then wrinkles his nose up by the end, his voice very soft and small, "No, of course not." It's all so simple the way that Josh explains it, though the winged young man doesn't seem entirely convinced as he shifts in place, wings twitching, straining beneath his shirt. "Ah understand all that, Josh, but it doesn't always work out so cleanly. The last person Ah talked to about what's goin' on didn't turn out so well. Trust is just trustin' that a person'll not get mad, but /expectin/ it ain't fair." He blows out a breath and scoops a hand through his hair, shaking it out until those scattered lengths of crimson frame his anxious features. "Ah'm shakin' up over not knowing where my friend is, feelin' useless and helpless. He's one of the first folks Ah met that Ah felt relaxed around when Ah got here. We had plans, an' he's just an affable guy. Even though Ah'm worried to death that none of us are ever gonna hear from him again, still all that runs through my head every time I think about itevery time Ah go back to his place with Kevis that he apparently… … /goes/ with men. That's where mah head goes to, an' how much it bothers me, but Ah can't think around it."

Josh nods pays Kevin his due: petting and scratching, never quite the same, never quite different. Its automatic and dogs rarely notice when Josh's mind wanders. But his mind is on Jay, and he nods, and he listens. He doesn't seem offended or angry, just contemplative at the end of Jay's words. "Why does it bother you?" he asks, voice gentle and inquisitive without being demanding, "I mean, I know why it others many people. Some people think its against god. Some people think its against nature. Some people think its against law." Josh shrugs one shoulder, "I'm an athiest." He nods slightly at this declaration, "I believe nature is evolution. I believe law should serve to protect man and not impose on him. So those things don't bother me. I don't say its wrong if it bothers you for any of those reasons: I don't ask my friends agree with me in everything." Josh lifts a golden hand and makes a vague gesture between them, "For me, if this friend of yours finds joy with a man, why would I wish otherwise? For me, if this friend of yours finds peace with a man, why would I wish otherwise? For me, if this friend of yours finds pleasure with a man, why would I wish otherwise? But that's me. I don't judge you. I don't ask you to even agree with me. You've done nothing to me but show kindness and so I will never show anything but kindness to you. No matter what you think." But Josh then shrugs, "But I will ask just this: look upon why it others you."

Jay braces for impact that doesn't seem to come right away. When Josh doesn't start arguing with him immediately, the anxiety doesn't immediately ease—in fact, it almost seems to tighten the screws a few more times while he waits for that boiling point, staring uncertainly at the golden-skinned man. Though the mention that he's an athiest makes Jay physically wince and give him a kneejerk piteous look. He listens, quiet and attentive, pressing his lips together in conflict while Josh tries to help him in kickstarting the process of getting those gears inside his head turning. Jay is a thoughtful young man, but he is young and he is sheltered with plenty of hard core values that don't parse with the culture outside of Cumberland.

"Lahke you said; Ah grew up told that the natural order of things is men go with women and women go with men," Jay returns with a tentative, softened tone. "We all grew up in the church, an' even though we haven't always agreed with the stances our Pastor took uplike concernin' mutants and suchthe homosexual thing was never somethin' to question. Nobody in Cumberland is fey." HAHAHAH! "An' sure, every guy's got their best, closest buddy, but the rule is that men go with women. It's just how it's supposed to be."

Jay has left.

Jay arrives from Out <o>.

Jay has arrived.

"If that's what you believe, that's what you believe." Josh's voice doesn't raise a bit, doesn't change from a soft tone, "The bible has a lot to say about a lot of things. I might be an athiest but that doesn't mean I'm not educated in the ways of it: I wasn't raised an athiest, and while thinking about who and what I believe in, I studied. Some parts of the bible seem like good wisdom for leading a good life. One thing stands out, 'Whoever says hes in the light and hates his brother is in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.' Now before you say anything…" Josh grins, "I'm not trying to twist those words into anything. Just saying that's good and wise. But there's other parts of the bible that are troubling to me. Condoning slavery. Stoning. Gifting of daughters to guests. Prohibitions against mixing of cloth. Declaring bacon unclean. Now for all I know these rules reflected the wisdom of the age: but the age has changed. What does the bible say about aliens? Mutants? At one time it was of vital importance to control breeding to ensure the tribes are healthy and grow in harsh times. Today, in a planet overfull, maybe the wisdom of the age might not reflect the same things. The world changes. 'Love thy brother' never will, but other things?"

Jay is a sheltered little bird. He's traveled a little bit, he's had his heart broken, and he's seen the ugliness in humanity, but he is still learning how to live outside his little southern boy cage. For all his inner turmoil and hesitation and dead ends that have been making his stomach flip flop, he listens. Visibly uncomfortable at parts, his wings trying to fwip but too restricted to do so. Jay fiddles with his hands in his lap, head bowed forward. He looks so /young/ in those moments, listening to Josh explain his perspective and understanding on the whole matter. on the matter of societal changes, he smiles, mirthlessly and wraps his left hand over his right bicep. "Ma was so mad. Ah got a tattoo when Ah turned sixteen. Bible says y'ain't supposed to do that, either…". his tiny transgressions. "It ain't like Ah'm a virgin, either. Ah've done mah fair share of sinnin'.".

Josh wrinkles a golden nose at mention of 'sin', "Well, let me ask you this. When god said that thing about man not laying with man as he lays with a woman? Do you think the bible sort of implied 'human' man? I'm pretty sure it did. In fact I'd bet money on that. I'm not at all certain those rules apply in any way to your alien friend. I'd remember if the Bible said something about man not laying with alien from outer space as he lays with a woman." He grins at that and nods, "Me, I believe in living life and maximizing the good I do and minimizing the harm I do." Oops. "If I'm wrong and god exists, I'm absolutely confident of either two things. When I get to the pearly gates: one, he will be worthy of worship and judge me based on the balance of my life and the good or ill I did to my fellow man and welcome me in if I'm deserving, or two: he will be a tyrant hardass and I want nothing to do with his heaven."

Jay lifts his chin as Josh brings up the alien debate, passing the golden boy a worn out smile, pleadingly, his deep moss green eyes damp but not crying. "Don't do that, man. Ah can't start to consider all this…aliens an' God thing. He was born here, he's an Earthin'. And it ain't even just him. Ahkm pretty convinced Ah haven't met a single heterosexual person since Ah got here at this rate." Still, Jay's smiling as he bows his head again to look at his hands, the last split second of visibility, his expression cracks a little and faulters. "Everythin' yer sayin' makes sense, logically. Ah've thought a couple of 'em before, too. But…". Jay touches his hand to the center of his chest. " It all feels…weird. An' Ah know it's just because its what Ah grew up with, an' what the expectation was on how folks act and what we gotta do, but it's still conflictin'. Ah can tell myself…well he's an alien, so what? That don't account fer you an' whoever else. Ah can say 'judge not lest…' and know that's what it says but that sure isn't how we were raised. Ah can tell myself all sin is equal in the eyes of God, and we're all guilty, an' were all saved so why bother, but 'why bother' ain't raght either. Ah've thought about it all. So why the hell's it makin' me crazy?"

Jay has partially disconnected.

"I'd wager it has more to do with culture then with god, really." Josh considers and gives a slight shrug, "Culture says that its okay to eat bacon even though the bible says otherwise. We view the scriptures through the eyes of what is normal around us more then precisely what the bible says. Otherwise there wouldn't be so much arguing about what the bible actually says. If that were clear then there'd be no need for preachers: people could just read it and all agree. In your culture that bit is serious. Hell, its serious here, too. Its illegal to serve alcohol to homosexuals, the police raid and arrest underground homosexual bars all the time. I went to a fairly liberal college and that's when I figured out I liked both, but even I had to take pains to keep that a secret. That sort of thing can get you killed, even in a big city."

"Culture," Jay tries the word on, then slowly nods his agreement as Josh explains further. He doesn't know the term 'culture shock' since it's a fairly new identified and recorded concept and won't become wide spread for a while yet. Lifting his head up again to peer at Josh while they talk. "It is serious back home. Nobody talks about that kind of stuff, even someone like you who can go fer girls, too. There was a teacher who was like that, I remember when Ah was young. He was nice lookin' an' would date ladies in town, but Ah remember hearin' mah Daddy talkin' to someone, sayin' how someone caught him goin' fey with someone down by the edge of town." Jay shrugs and frowns uncomfortably, mentioning quietly as he looks away. "Nobody saw him again after that." Looking down at Kevin, zonked out in Josh's lap. "It always meant somethin' bad was goin' to happen. Even if it weren't true, if word got around…"

Josh nods his head soberly, "I'm a big city guy, born and raised here in the Big Apple. but even I know to keep it quiet, even if its… a little safer here. There's certain bars you can go to. Anyways." He continues petting Kevin, "I'm not trying to change your beliefs or anything like that. I just hope this… belief of yours, doesn't come between you and this friend of yours's friendship. Or ours, for that matter." He smiles tentatively.

Jay scoops his hand through his hair a few times, ruffling it good in a small sign of frustration. "Yeah. Well. That's assumin' they find him. Ah tried to talk t' Rose about it, you remember her? Chickie I brought you to take a look at? We had a fight when Ah tried to ask her about it an' she ended up stormin' off." He holds his hands up in a helpless gesture to Josh. "Ah like bein' out here, it was sort of excitin' before. Ah mean, I was /supposed/ to have Sam with me, but it was still exciting. Now…Now everything feels weird and frustratin' and hostile. If one more person tells me t'stop hidin' m'wings, or to jus' get over somethin', Ah'm gonna lose it, man."

Jay has partially disconnected.

Josh hesitates, tilting his head in some confusion, "Wait, talk to Rose about what? About… this issue, or about finding your friend?" Then he wrinkles his nose, "Yeah, I mean. I can see how that would be frustrating. Some people are a bit aggressive about people getting over it. Hiding your wings is just… a safe practice. Though If I had wings I'd take advantage of Xavier's relative isolation and sanctuary to stretch them from time to time, but that's your business, no one elses."

Jay closes his eyes and shakes his head, getting a little ruffled around the edges, there's an apologetic wince and lift of his hand in a like gesture. "Sorry. Ah'm explodin' crazy all over you. Ah didn't really…realize all this was botherin' me." Sucking in a breath to still himself and straighten his thoughts out, Jay tries again. "Ah mentioned my friend bein' missin' and strugglin' with him bein' homosexual. She knows him, so Ah thought she might have some insight." Rolling his eyes at his own folly, Jay grunts and slowly falls onto his back on the questionable floor, legs still crossed. "Ah fly t'the edge of the grounds when I head to work. Sometimes if I can find a patch of air secluded Ah fly hard until I start breathin' hard, when Ah'm feelin'…not right." Pale hands reach up to cover Jay's eyes while he's being dramatic. "Ah'm sorry, Josh. Maybe Ah'm just homesick or somethin'. Ah shouldn't care who anyone sleeps with. Just cause Ah don't wanna give in to all that stuff doesn't mean Ah gotta stick mah nose in business that ain't none of mine. But it /bugs/ me, still."

Josh nods his head slowly, looking sympathetic, "I'm your friend. Who are you going to talk to about stuff that bothers you but your friends?" he counters towards the apology, "It's fine to feel how you feel: the only thing that isn't fine is if you act on it, but I don't think you're the kind of person who would hate or hurt someone for their sin, even if it bugs you. You'll have to decide, though, sooner or later, to either… accept it, or not. It'll be really hard to be friends with him if you feel this way." He lifts his hands up appeasingly, "I'm *not* telling you to get over it. But you might have to make a choice eventually." Then he takes on a wistful expression, "I'm envious of your ability to fly. It sounds… amazing."

"Ah'd never hurt another person unless they were hurtin' someone else," Jay murmurs up at the ceiling, trying to figure out what the hell is happening with his world right now. Dramatic fucking musician. "And even then, it'd be a last resort. That's not my bag."

The sad conclusion that he seriously just needs to decide which side of the fence he's on is just a confirmation on an inkling, but it still makes him frown some, hands folding over his stomach while he lays there quietly on the floor. "Ah'm envious of yer ability to heal," Jay murmurs in return. "If ya want, Ah can /take/ you flyin'. Ah can carry a person." Though it's a mirthful subject change, he doesn't /sound/ it. "Yeah, it makes stuff hard, tell me about it. But…Ah like him. An' Rose. An' you. Ah like you." Jay lifts his head up off the floor to peer over at Josh for a moment, then presses his mouth into a thin line and lays back down. "Momma told me when everyone was gettin' weird about me seein' Jules that nobody ought to have any business in it because it wasn't like Ah was sleepin' with them. But where's the line there?"

Blink. Blinkblink. "Whoa, your wings are strong enough to not only carry you but *someone else*? That's a lot of weight!" Josh is astonished, but he does nod with some interest, "I'd like that sometime." But they're really on serious talk, and he nods his head slowly, "And Jules is..?" He's having a little trouble following poor Jay's plight there: southern problems are a little alien to the urban wizard that is Josh. "The line between… what and what?"

"Yeah. It's harder from a standin' position on the ground, and I ain't very good at it. Not a lot of practice. Sorry," Jay groans out and rolls his shoulders back. "Jules was mah girlfriend. Our families were in a feud an' her Daddy killed me." Funny how that feels like a lifetime away right now while Jay searches the ceiling in Josh's little clinic space. Comes out so much easier compared to the first time he told Josh that story. "Where's the line where she told me it ain't nobody's business because I wasn't sleepin' with /them/, but if Ah decided to sleep with a man, it's suddenly everyone's business? Though. Okay. Ah guess if it's a perversion, folks talk about it right up there with touchin' kids…" He wrinkles his nose up and grunts. Southern problems, indeed!

Without assistance from his hands on the floor to help him up, Jay does a sit up to get upright again and casts an apologetic look toward Josh. "Sorry." Another apology. "Ah'm tryin' to figure out the line where it ain't nobody's business and where it is. That's probably uncomfortable. It's just…" Jay blows out a breath, overwhelmed with all those thoughts and considerations, but at least he seems calmer. "…A lot to think about, and Ah ain't used to thinking about it. It's new. Ah never knew any queer people and now it seems like everyone Ah know an' /like/ happen to be."

"Oh, right." Josh nods, "When you told me that story you didn't tell me her name, and uh, you swapped a pronoun from her to them, so I was … wondering." Some people who are must bothered by this sort of thing, well. Are bothered for different reasons. Then he gives a sigh at the question. Not at it being asked, but because its a hard question to deal with. Not that Josh has a hard time answering, "The line is very easy, Jay. If two people are of age to consent and choose willingly to do something together that does no harm to anyone else, it is no one elses business. That's the line. Touching kids is bad because a child is a *child*; it can't consent, it can't choose. Its abuse. A teacher sleeping with a student is bad because of the power imbalance: a student can neever be a teacher's equal. A boss sleeping with his employee, the same." So he's a bit ahead of the times on that one: how many bosses diddle their secretaries in this age? "Its that easy, Jay. Its your business if its hurting someone, or if its forced or coerced. Its your business if its hurting you. Otherwise its not."

Jay arches a brow at Josh, then gets it. "O-oh! Oh." His face flushes with color and he averts his eyes a little. "You wondered if she was a man. No. She was mah angel." He reaches up and holds a hand to the center of his chest while staring at Kevin, coma'd out in Josh's lap. Listening to his explanation of where that line is. And that, too, makes sense. Well, mostly. Josh is rather liberal and ahead of his time. So much input all at once, but at least some of it is easily absorbed. "You should'a become a teacher," Jay jokes but only sort of, expelling a puff of breath that sounds a little like a laugh, green eyes flicking up to touch Josh's, then fall again.

"Funny for a winged man to call someone an angel. I'm sorry for your loss, Jay, if I didn't say so last time." Josh nods his head, and he lets that sit in the air for a time as he pets the poor over-petted Kevin. He takes a long breath again and says, "I was a teacher. I was a first year surgical resident. Residents teach interns. Well, they teach interns while learning from attendings and senior residents." He shakes his head, "I knew from when I was a child I wanted to become a doctor, and from my first year in medical school I knew I wanted to be a surgeon. The guy who takes broken people and makes them whole again."

That observation makes Jay grin, brief but bright. He's so goddamn sentimental. Clearly highly emotional, for a man, getting all wound up by all of this. He shrugs slightly and drops his hand. "She useta say the same thing. You were havin' a hard time of things. Even if you didn't, it's okay. Ah wasn't upset. You had stuff to get off yer chest."

"So while yer learning, you're teaching all the stuff you just learned right back around? That sounds…really overwhelmin'."

"The guiding principle is: See one, Do One, Teach One. Where 'one' is a particular procedure." explains Josh, "See, its overwhelming, but that's part of the point. The life of a surgeon is hard: the pressure almost impossible to describe. A procedure might take sixteen hours. Sixteen hours standing in place, with someone's life in your hands. You have to be perfect. You can plan but can't predict in the moment. You have to react without hesitation and without any mistakes. Yet, you *will* kill someone. Maybe not the first year, but eventually. I don't mean that someone will die on your table: that'll happen of course. But I mean sooner or later, someone will die because you made a mistake. You will be the cause of someone's death. You won't be able to make plans with friends or family because you will never really know when you can leave the hospital. See one, Do One, Teach One, is that way because unless you can in detail and precision explain what needs to happen to someone else, you can't be trusted to do one without supervision. Unless *you* can be a supervisor you're not qualified to solo the surgery. Think about that a moment." He lets it sink in just a bit before adding, "Imagine with all of that the ego it takes to, with confidence, step into an operating room and take up a scalpel and cut into someone. Its a common cliche that surgeons have god complexes. Its not far from the truth."

Letting Josh speak about his former life, what it was like to be in that profession (a profession that Jay cannot imagine being involved in), the red-head is quiet and attentive as he always seems to be when they speak. Watching any small gestures Josh makes, the way his expression shifts, and occasionally looking down at Kevin as he snuffs or rolls in his sleep. A kind smile touching Jay's mouth once Josh says his peace. "Ah remember you telling me about this that night, too. How hard it was, how you had t'be cocky in order to just survive. Ah didn't know about the teaching procedure though. Thinking about just tryin' to delay when you kill someone. Havin' to accept that eventually yer gonna be the cause of someone's death. Everythin' Ah've been bent about sounds…stupid by comparison."

Josh shakes his head firmly, "Never compare problems, Jay." He nods emphatically as he says that, "You have your problems. I have my problems. Everyone has their problems, and to everyone they are exactly as important to themselves as they feel them to be. Trying to compare yours to someone elses is just a recipe for either feeling superior— I'm the bigger victim!— or inferior— I'm selfish or guilty for feeling what I feel. You can't compare lives, not really. We all have our own experience and its our own. We all have our own truth and its our own. I've never had anyone I loved die, does that mean my bitterness is petty? If I were to compare it to the depth of your loss it sure might seem so."

"Well," Jay considers after a moment, his brows arching upwards, though his lashes fall, lowering his eyes with a demure cast to the gesture as that work lingers in his throat. "You are supposed to be the one with the ego, right?" A lurking smile touches his mouth, peering back across the floor to Josh.

Josh gives Jay a long look, his head tilting to the side slightly. His cheeks might seem a little shinier, paler gold. That's all the expression of 'blushing' shows on the golden child that is Elixir. He snorts and shrugs, looking away with a smile, "Different things. The kind of ego I speak to is not self-importance and selfishness, its self-confidence. Its self-certainty. Its taking lives in your own hands: the providence of gods, some say. Well, those crazy people who reject medicine because they think god will heal them." He snorts in annoyance, for some reason trying to change the subject, "If god existed, *doctors* should be looked at like priests. What work is more holy then taking care of the sick and those in need?"

Jay watches his joke hit its mark and his smile lifts slightly, reactively. He might not understand that pale hue of gold around Josh's cheeks the first time, but perhaps another. He chuckles in a whisper, mostly breath. "How about…guidin' souls in need of help? Listenin' to all the conflict in someone's heart and helpin' em find peace with it? Which, you know, you kinda just did, too." Those warm-colored brows lift some, hiding beneath the swoop of Jay's longer hair. "You know Ah was just teasin' you, Josh." He calls the golden boy out on his joke-crushing moment.

Oh. Right. The shiny-paleness was just fading and returns in force. Josh laughs and shakes his head, "Eh, you'd do the same if I needed a shoulder to lay my burdens on. In fact, I am pretty sure you did. And I was basically a stranger, then." he counters with a light shrug. But he doesn't look at Jay at all, because something has become somewhat awkward for him. "Yeah, yeah. I'm sometimes too serious about everything. It gets me into trouble. Hey, boy." He pats Kevin lightly, and as he does so a golden light envelops his hand. Josh can bring a living being from sleep to calm, contented wakefulness with complete ease. He doesn't wanna startle the pup awake, after all.

Jay flicks his gaze to one side, then back just as quickly toward the blushing-white-gold fellow. "Nnnnno. You /were/ a stranger." Still holding on to that lighter, mirthful state of calm as he ribs Josh playfully. "That was the first time we met." The red head tilts his head slightly to the side when Josh avoids looking at him. Not thinking too much on it. "It was okay, though. Ah was just…tryin' my damnedest to make you feel better, though Ah didn't have any idea what you were talking about. Not really."

Looking back down as Josh tries to wake Kevin up, Jay smiles softly. "He likes you. I mean. He likes everyone." A small tilt of his head to one side while he watches the idiot ball of fuzz stretch and blink drowsily, slowly rousing from his pet-coma. Tiny canines beared in a tongue-curling yawn as Kevin twists around to roll onto his belly in Josh's lap. Stumbling a little to the floor, he stretches in downward dog for a moment, then shakes out.

"Yeeah, I don't even remember that entirely clearly." Josh admits, wincing, rubbing at his golden forehead, "It was so soon after I died— I think brain tissue takes longer to heal. I wasn't… stable. All together. Myself." He pauses, and then says softer, "But you helped me then, and now that I am myself again, thank you." He reaches out and scritches Kevin behind the ears even as he rises, "He's a good dog. I like dogs. Well, I like animals. Fuck me but I like everything alive. I can't really describe what its like to touch something and feel its life. When I pet him I can feel the joy. The complex interplay of neurotransmitters: the increased heartbeat. When I touch someone, animal, human, whatever, I know them in a way which is … at least, one-way, intimate. You see dog, you pet dog, dog wiggles and wags tail. You see joy. That's beautiful. But I know joy: all the ways in which the body changes in response to joy. I know them all and knowing it that deeply is… beautiful."

"From one dead guy to another, it's sorta traumatic," Jay points out in understanding while he watches Josh's fingers scritch behind Kevin's ears. "Ah'd be more concerned if you weren't freaked out fer a while afterwards." Drawing his attention up Josh's arm to find his eyes. "That's what friends are for, right?" A beat passes, adding on more geniunely, more humble. "Yer welcome."

Kevin shakes out and then plops down on his butt to start licking himself like part of a morning wash up routine or something while Jay listens to Josh describe how it feels to understand somethinganythingdown to a mollecular level. Down to synapses and the chemicals firing off through their body. Caught up some by that description, the young man sitting cross-legged on the floor finds his head tilting slightly to one side in a decidedly birdlike manner while he listens. A sentimental hint of a smile finding his face. "The way you describe that…Heh. An' you wonder why Ah'm envious of yer power? The way you can feel things. Understand it down to the emotions? Ah wouldn't have thought it went that deep."

"Well, I can't feel emotions: but I know the effects of emotions. So I can see them… deeply, yes, and I can see deeper. It's not always a positive: I don't want to see the ravages of pain someone goes through when they suffer, but to fix them I have to see it." Josh's voice is soft, grave, and his elbows settle on his knees and he looks at his hands palm up before him, "Don't envy me my power." he says in a voice that is ever so quiet, "Because it means I will never again be able to be part of them. You have wings, yes, and must hide them and I can't imagine the discomfort that brings you. I can't hide anymore. I'm a monster forever: hideous. You know, …" he hesitates, "I can affect the expression of the X-gene. I tried to turn mine off, thinking it would cure the gold. I lost my ability to heal for a day before it re-expressed, but the gold didn't go away."

"None of us are gonna be apart from our mutations," Jay points out logically, now his turn as Kevin starts the 15 minute process of licking his own ass, loudly, between them. "My wings…it's basically like wearin shoes two sizes too small on yer feet all day, all the time. Except they're movin' on their own all the time. An' molt. An' itch." He rolls his eyes. "T'be completely honest, Ah keep 'em covered up because they're sensitive, too. It's-ah…to help read th'air currents and stuff, Ah figgur?" Jay scrubs a hand through his hair, averting his eyes to the anally fixated dog. "But if they ain't covered, people wanna touch 'em all the time, and it's, um, uncomfortable. Especially if Ah don't really know 'em, or Ah'm prepared fer it." Nope, staring at Kevin right now isn't better, so he looks back up at Josh. "But, they let me fly. There's a flip side t'all our coins. Yers are…admittedly, pretty harsh. But…why d'you think yer so ugly? Ah don't get it."

"I can't quite imagine that." admits Josh, and he wrinkles his nose, "I like touching, I'm tactile, but … people always wanting to run their hands through my golden hair? I can tell you that would get old, real fast. So I can almost imagine what thats like for you. But my hair isn't … sensitive. Its just hair." He then hesitates, and says in a moment of honesty, "I admit I'd like to touch your wings. Carefully, of course. But feeling it all: feeling the sensitivity and with care not triggering it. The feel of the muscles and what its like to have wings. To feel the flex of the muscle and bone and feather as they stretch. Not as someone who is curious to feel texture, but as someone who is curious to feel what it feels like to have wings. That I could do and I admit, … I'd be curious, too. I hope you're not offended: I'm not fetishizing your difference." Then he looks away, frowning, and holding up a ahnd. "Look at me. No one can look at me and not see a thing. People are more likely to see a living statue then a man. I look like I'm metal. That's not *alive*. That's not *feeling*. People are surprised when I shake their hand that my hand isn't cold and hard. People react to touching me like I'm weird. This isn't how it used to be. I was .. the popular guy, the guy who always succeeded, the guy who got the girl, the guy who everyone wanted to know and everyone wanted to be." Bitterness.

"Ah don't mind physical contact so much, but some things are like ya said; more intimate. It's not so different from someone rubbin' their hands through yer hair, though." Jay thinks about it with a tilt of his head, and as he does, his wings shiver against their restraints. "More like multiplied by five. An' there's somethin' intimate about lettin' someone comb their fingers through yer hair, so you can about imagine. Ah gotta kinda brace m'self every time Ah gotta ask someone to help me groom the things; I mean, it feels nice, but you don't want it feelin' too nice. Gets weird." Jay wrinkles his nose up and looks thoughtful a moment at Josh's hair. "Fetish? Nah, man. Ah mean…you told me a while back we gotta learn to celebrate the stuff that makes us different, right? That's how you understand things, it makes sense. Ah got a physical mutation, so, it makes sense. Julia loves—love/d/ mah wings." Jay smiles and dips his head, bashfully. "Maybe a little too much, sometimes."

The bitter explanation regarding his own appearance has Jay looking back up to Josh, squinting slightly. "So. Yer upset because people respond not like you want 'em to, now. But. You gotta realize that y'don't look like a monster. Okay, yeah, you look rather like a statue, but…so what? Are the people who act like yer weird really all that important?"

"It's… not precisely that I care what people think." Josh shakes his head slowly, even though clearly he sort of does. "It's… the entire experience of my life is different now. I was the confident guy who had all the friends and who everyone wanted to be. Yeah, I was that guy. I liked it." He wrinkles his nose, "Now, every moment of every day if I'm not in like one of two places, I'm filled with anxiety. I feel unsafe. I have to be aware of my every movement, if I'm lifting my head too high that someone might see my face. Around here, people mostly don't care, but I still get these looks. I can't really go to most of my favorite restaurants. I can't go to grocery stores. I can't go dancing. My entire world has shrunk down to this neighborhood— and now that school."

Listening to the drastic change Josh describes, Jay's features are open and soft, occasionally his eyes squint slightly while he tries to imagine something, flexing those empathy muscles he's worked out. "That's gotta be hard. Ah'm sorry, Josh. Ah mean, Ah can at least fool m'self into thinkin' Ah'm being discrete, but your whole skin shows yer difference. You can't very well go around covered head t'toe." Exhaling a short, hard breath through his nostrils, the young man tilts his head to the side. "We all feel unsafe. We're all lookin' over our shoulders an' hopin' that whatever makes us different isn't gonna spring outa nowhere. Carryin' that secret around on yer chest can be suffocating." Jay touches the center of his chest, then reaches out to try to touch Josh's hand if he's able. "Ah'm sorry, man. So. What's the fix, there? Is it jus'…learnin' not to care? Like you said about, um, the other thing we were talkin' about?" Stumbling over his words a little bit, Jay's eyes flicker down briefly, then back up to Josh again. "Is it findin' new friends to be with an' feel safe? Like our night out with Remy?"

Josh doesn't mind the touch at his hand, smiling slightly, and taking a long, slow breath. "I know that I'm not the only one who feels this way— I'm sure having to keep your wings bound like that all the time and worrying about someone noticing the bulge in your back is stressful for you— but I used to be able to at least pretend I was like everyone else. Being *always* gold is just… new. Its only been a few weeks. I haven't figured out how to deal with it." He winces a little bit, "I honestly don't know the fix. Maybe I have to just decide not to care anymore. I just… I don't know. But yeah, going out with groups of people like the other night would be good. At least with a group there's safety in numbers and I don't have to be so paranoid about b eing seen."

Jay shrugs gently as he withdraws his hand from Josh's at a natural progression of conversation. "We all have this period of…Ah dunno. Adjustment. This is new fer you. And hard fer you. Ah know there's not a whole lot Ah can do to help except…keep on bein' yer friend." A stupid little goober of a smile lifts on Jay's mouth, hopeful in a way; one little dimple barely impresses low on his left cheek. "An' if you feel better in numbers, then Ah'm more than happy to go do things with you, Josh. It ain't like we live states apart or nothin'. And my work schedule's kinda fluid, so Ah'm pretty free. Whatever Ah can do to help." Glancing down when Kevin makes a demanding snuffle of sound, the tiny animal with his butt down, staring expectantly up at Jay. Hi! Remember me? Jay smiles softly, but the expression fades quickly into melancholy and worry. "We gotta stick t'gether."

"Yeah." agrees Josh on the matter of adjustment, nodding his head slowly, "I'll…well, I don't know. I'll get used to it, I guess, or just decide to get over it. What annoys me most, to tell you the truth? Is that I can't *change* it. I have like.. complete control over my body. Complete. Except for that. It offends my sense of the order of the universe." But he nods once more then smiles, "I can agree with that sentiment. We have to stick together."

"Everything'll eventually be okay, but that doesn't make the present blow any harder," Jay suggests softly as he tugs Kevin into his arms and onto his back, rubbing the small useless thing's chest. "Well, sure. Yer used t'having complete control over all the stuff you touch, right? It's a big adjustment t'feel like the one thing you got control over, you can't, anymore. Chaos." Jay softly blows a jetstream of air in Kevin's face. The small dog blinks, confused as to what just happened, he growls, barks and wiggles in Jay's arm, stuck on his back while his tail lashes around wildly. "You really think that maybe the professor can find him? Ah haven't really met the guy. Ah don't know anythin' about him."

"Yeah, I'm used to that — but its more with my own body. I'm pretty sure I was tweaking my biology before I even knew I was doing it. I've never had to exercise or do anything like that and haven't been sick in my life except when I was like 10." Josh purses his lips thoughtfully, "I really don't know." he admits with a slow shake of his head, "I don't know how it works just that there's some way he can search out and find people from far away. Your friend is an alien and that might make it different. I don't know if his mind is readable or how telepathy even works."

Jay's mouth contorts slightly, suppressing a smile that shines brightly in his eyes with a little bit of guilty humor as he looks back up to Josh. "So…you made yerself look that way. That's yer type." Flicking that bright, verdant gaze up and down Josh's form as a signifier.

"Ah got no idea how telepathy works, neither. Nobody in my family's got any mental powers. Lots of fliers, molecular manipulation 'n' stuff, but nothin' mental. The whole thing is pretty unnervin', but since Ah don't have any way t'defend against it, Ah just try not t'think about it. Ah mean…he's an elf. How many elves can there be on earth?"

Josh blinks a moment, and he laughs softly, "I didn't do it intentionally, and I like to think that I'm not such a narcissist as to consider *myself* to be my type." He shakes his head in amusement, "And its not that I made major changes. But, clear skin, a tan, perfect health, everything turned just right." He then wrinkles up his nose in thought, "I don't know that I have a type, exactly. Okay, I admit I'm attracted to healthy and fit, but beyond that… No, I'm more into them being interesting then any specific look." Then he blinks. "He's an… elf." he says, dryly, "Like… Lord of the Rings? Pointy ears with bows and arrows?" He squints a little bit skeptically.

"Momma used to tell mah sisters not to get so obsessed about their looks, because even if you don't find yerself attractive, that just means yer not /your own/ type, but yer gonna be someone's," Jay explains through yet another charming little 'momma says' bit of wisdom, a tiny smile curved up on his lips in humor while Josh defends himself. Kind teasing.

His eyes widen and Jay smiles widely, that one lone dimple appearing again for a moment. "You know…that's exactly what Ah said." Jay shrugs and nods. "Yep. Bows, arrows, an' apparently he glows, too. His parents came here, landed over in England, had him here on Earth an' Ah guess decided it was a pretty boss place t'stay. He's like…237 years old or somethin'. Looks like he's twenty. It's crazy, man."

At the wisdom, Josh grins and nods, "Your momma sounds like a wise woman." But he rises up and dusts off his pants, but the grin turns into a laugh when they apparently had the same reaction, "Huh. Elves are aliens, aliens are elves. I swear the world is weirder then I ever knew it was." On the age he waves a hand, "He wouldn't be the first really old young looking person I've came across. Like I said, weird." He winks, then adds more seriously, "Thanks for talking to me. But I have to get to doing an errand."

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