1964-07-27 - Meanwhile, at Fight Club...

Jay waits for Kaleb in his room while a couple of high class birds chirp away in the living room. The red-winged one in the bedroom is agitated, however. Jay's expression is thoughtful, serene even until he lifts his eyes and stares into his roommate's apathetic, tired gaze. He's angry, but it's a slow, quiet burn, reflecting Kaleb's own general mood of 'fuck everything'. The only difference is that Jay doesn't have a pristine veneer to hide behind. His appearance is far more earthy and tactile rather than glossy and slick. He waits, arms hanging at his sides, left thumb hanging off of his own belt loop, quiet and in the center of the small room, waiting for Kaleb to shut the little pocket door behind him.

Kaleb either cared not at all, or as Jay put it perhaps too much. Right now Echo's tired static died and he just toned out; the emergency being responded to requires more manpower than are proverbially on duty. Seriously not giving a damn about anything as so much easier, but lo, he'd crossed the Rubicon and hit the end of his path bloodied and empty handed for it all. The truth was he hadn't slept the night before and the night before that he went round and round with insomnia. The door closed and his hand held it an extra moment keeping presumably their conversation inside that room. He turned and finally broke the silence because it had to be done and he was good at being the asshole that broke things. "Well, here we are."

The giggling and chatter from the other room dies abruptly and suddenly the silence could hold a spoon up, on end. Kaleb's room had become a sanctuary for Jay; music and silence with a great view. Nothing to worry about except for what was lurking around in the back of one's own mind—which honestly sometimes was worse than you can imagine, depending on the day. Sanctuary.

So Kaleb turns around and broke the silence, Jay responded in the only immediate way that his body would let him with the noose-like tension on his windpipe. His right hand struck out in a jab straight for Echo's high-class face. Jay's not a brawler, he /does/ have superior strength and knows how to tussle, but he's not even throwing his weight here. A jab straight from the hip, broad shoulders still squared, his lily-white knuckles fully intent on a collision course.

Kaleb was not, as it turns out Kaleb was neither a brawler, nor did his mutant abilities lend to the physical in any capacity. Then there was that part of him that was fueled by rage that could snap up and tell Jay's pudding will to just halt. He needed that though, and sometimes that's what it meant to be the bad guy; it meant giving your people something tangible they could fight. More so? He wanted ti. He wanted the silence to be over and he just needed it to hurt to feel connected and feel the moment pass. He spent this time though not in contemplation at all.

Kaleb's hands flew to his face and he hissed, "GAH!" That….really stung like hell and if he was half awake and projecting apathy before? Well congrats, Jay, he got a reaction out of him. He knew enough about fighting to deal with two of Kellan which culminated in giving Jay's shoulder a hard shove back while his face screamed at him as pain spread into his ears. "Ass…there… more? Ya done yet?" He winced and hissed an expletive. The look snapped back to him was unkind, but cruel came easy to him. He didn't strike him though.

As pain radiated dully through Jay's knuckles and into his wrist, down his fingers, the young man's normally serene expression crumples at his brows, the first real outward signs of that /resentful/ anger hiding behind his bright eyes; like a tiny willful flame flashing behind vivid stained glass. The shove on his shoulder isn't met with a lick of resistance. To take a hit, you gotta relax and turn with it, not against it, to it gives and moves backward along with his wings as they stand straight upright like resolute soldiers in red behind him. Not a goddamn flicker of motion. The shoulder gives and like the tides, he straightens right back up again after a wave of motion twists him outward slightly. Blow for blow, sort of.

Jay moves again, his frame already a bit larger than Kaleb's, though only a bare inch taller, moves forward and this time both his arms dart forward to forcefully grab the well-dressed and contact-phobic young man. To what ends though? Shove him back? Throw him forward? Dear god please don't be so pissed off to go for a knee to the groin. More horrific, I'm afraid.

Hands brace high on Kaleb's shoulders if able and Jay yanks the smaller man into his chest, fists planting themselves on Kaleb's back as Jay embraces the little shit.

Kaleb was tall and lean. Jay had mass on him without question. He presently had the souvenir to prove it. A few things were very evident in that short time. The first was Jay had been in a fight before, and knew how to land and even pull a punch using the momentum of his mass to his advantage. The second? Kaleb did not. His anger like his gifts drew from some fury that entirely lacked a focus, and he didn't want to hit him. He had ways to hurt him, sure, but he chose not to. Or maybe his face really, really, really fucking hurt. Hell he wasn't even angry about it.

His bright blue eyes snapped back to Jay angry, but not cold. And he waited , though when Jay closed in he instinctively turned his body sideways cause he'd be damned if he was taking a knee to the balls for the team. No, no, and no. He expected to be thrown but he wasn't. and as Jay hugged him his jaw tightened ad his arms dropped. He sighed and one arm came up to give Jay a pat on the side like 'yeah yeah we're fine' in begrudging acceptance, though careful to avoid touching the wings. Jay didn't ruffle his hair, he wasn't ruffling any feathers. Tight words formed, "This shit is why I didn't tell you Jay." He sighed as the immediate sting faded into a pulsating pain that just was. "It was better when I was the angry asshole and you didn't have to be… sides… you don't have the vest for it,"

No hair ruffling. No feather ruffling. And for the sake of Kaleb's comfort zone, or perhaps it was Jay's comfort zone, the flyboy's embrace lasts a brief couple of seconds and Jay grasps Kaleb by the shoulders, squeezing and pushing back as he takes a step back as well. Stern, but at least no longer so cold and distant, there's life behind Jay's eyes again. Life, but it's not as soft as one would expect from the musician. He's still angry, but he understands it's not Kaleb he's angry at, precisely. "That isn't your decision to make, Kaleb. Did you think I wasn't going to find out?"

Kaleb was shoved again and didn't fight it seeming to draw no real difference in the gestures simplifying contact was or wasn't made. Hell, he had no scope of context for his and waited for Jay to get his grievances out. Finally, quietly though Kaleb said, "Let's go back to you're the first other mutant I ever met on a conversational level Jay. I grew up with Warren but I didn't fucking know. He didn't let that shit out. How as I supposed to know anyone knew him or dropping his name didn't immediately put him or me or Kellan or even you at higher risk? HOW was I to KNOW, Jay?" His eyes narrowed to a faint squint and left it as a question rather than a defense.

He took a deep breath and got a Kleenex to carefully blow his nose with and calmly, perhaps too calmly he looked up. "You …really want to know the details of what I saw Jay? Yooooou think that I get some perverse kick out of seeing you hurt? That it makes me feel all powerful somehow? It doesn't. It fucking makes my stomach flip upside down okay? I fucking met you and you tell me your roommate was killed and the place was tossed? Christ Jay you about gave me a goddamned heart attack. I TOLD YOU they're awful. I TOLD YOU they're out there. I TOLD YOU what you needed to know to prepare and that is enough so that you can somehow try to sleep at night because now those warped fucks used this to take that from you too. You deserve better than that from those assholes." His eyes glared at Jay as his furious finger gestured to some vague dot on the horizon and back at the floor with quieter emphasis. "And you deserve better than that from me. But this is all… I got and the only fucking goddamned thing I can do to protect you. It matters to me okay? It fucking… matters."

Exhaustion meets Kaleb's questions as Jay steps back along with the small shove, making sure that Kaleb doesn't lose his footing in the meanwhile before letting him go once more. "Because breaking him out of a chop shop wasn't gonna put you or Kellan or /me/, the fuckin' bird man sittin on yer porch, at risk." Jay's brows arch in turn, his voice stays low and nearly muttering tones to Kaleb's first point, frustrated and shaking his head lowly. But he listens. He does what Jay always does and he listens quietly and ardently, his gaze following the pokes of Kaleb's fingers and otherwise they flash back and forth between the young man's eyes. "Kale, you know that Ah know you better than that. Who the hell do you think /Ah/ am? Do you really think that Ah think fer a split second that you did this as some stupid power play?" Jay rolls his eyes emphatically and shakes his head with mock disgust, but sincere irritation. "Don't be a dumbass, Kale. And you damn well know that sayin' some invisible 'them' is awful is /not/ the same as knowing these things. Ah…" Jay sighs and cuts himself off with a gesture of his hand, then drop of the limb, marking his frustration, but not wanting to direct it all at Kaleb. Instead, he stops and starts over, his eyes slipped shut to find his center point. "Kale. Ah…understand what you were tryin' to do. But you need to understand…" Lily white palms lift out, as if he were about to touch Kaleb again, but stops himself short, lifting his attention once again to search Kaleb's face. "You can't always protect me."

Jay glances to the door when he hears Ninette call out and curses softly under his breath, his wings tremble briefly as he chastises himself silently and calls back. "Yes, of course, Ninette. Ah'm sorry. Thank you fer comin' by!"

Kaleb blinked and stared. He was out of his experience and well out of his emotional depth without a life preserver. His eyes tracked Jay and his expression fell to neutral. Jay was right about a lot of things. His jaw set and finally he looked back from the edge of the desk armoured in his general disdain for the world and pride. "I'm bad at this Jay. No I can't always protect any of you, but I can at least fucking try. I can't handle my own shit, Jay. The things I saw I can't even wrap my brain around. I. do. not. want. that. for. you." Staccato pointed words. He sighed took a moment before flapping a hand in the air. "Fine. Can I just go back to being an asshole? I'm already an asset to the murders of 22 people I don't even give a fuck about so why not?"

Hearing Kaleb admit that he was bad at something makes Jay break out in a quick grin that is just a little too broad. A little to taut across his lips. The sharp gladness that resonates through the young man turn bitter quickly and then flings wide to mournful understanding as his eyes flash upward to the ceiling a moment and back to Kaleb. "That's a goddamn understatement, Kale." Jay shakes his head and searches his friend's expression. Trying to peer into him for a long, silent moment. He shrugs a shoulder lightly, "We're all bad at stuff. Ah don't want that fer you, either. Ah'm sorry. Ah'm sorry it's you. Ah'm sorry this was all on you." He searches for something else, something to explain himself, failing for a handful of seconds as his mouth opens and closes, twice. A ripple of motion catches his feathers and shivers through him as he whispers, low and hard. "/Thank you/. For being that asshole."

Kaleb looked at Jay searching for a too quiet moment. So much hostility and emotion in that room but it seemed, for the moment, to finally all be pointed away at least instead of at one another. Kaleb had put himself back together and promised, profoundly, "I'll always your asshole Jay. Now go get us the scotch glasses." Yes he used the voice because when he says he's an asshole he delivers. A hand went out to catch Jay's shoulder and he gave it s pat pointing that he already had a couple out No he wasn't going to make Jay run a needless errand to satisfy his ego. He had a threshold for his own bullshit. "Ninette went home. Lorna sounds…" He drew the sound out and amped it to him and nodded. "Yeah she's out light a light. I'm a go grab her a blanket. we can grab a drink or something because I can really use one… if anyone asks though? I took feedback." Oh he'd blame his powers before admitting Jay hit em, though there was a shadow of a grin there.

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