1964-08-01 - Fire and Ice: A Precursor to the Storm
Summary: A group of young mutants meet at the Eight Ball for meet and greet when they are approached by Isaiah Bradley with a favor to ask, and a warning.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
jay daire hajime theresa isaiah-bradley 

The state of a bar late on a Monday night is something of a litmus test for any neighborhood. The Eight Ball is about a dozen people deep, not including the bar tender, bounder and waitress, which is a fair number of folks. Translation: After a city block of your neighborhood was recently burned down and filled with werewolves and exploding rats, well, the people need drinks. A lot of drinks.

The old juke box plays in the corner, propped up by pieces of wood under one leg. A man with blue skin and gills around his ears and down his neck plays pool with someone with entirely too much amber body hair and amber eyes. A lady in a black mini dress and green scales in patchy portions of her skin is practically passed out, holding on to the bar, talking the ear off of the bartender—who looks…entirely normal, actually. Nice guy.

Jay is hard to miss anywhere on the street, though in here, under the green-tinted lights, he's at least a little more normalized. Dressed down in a dark blue tee shirt and dark jeans, the red-head sits on a high stool near the pool tables, watching the fellahs play and nursing a beer, though he doesn't seem attached to their company. Enormous feathered wings loom behind him, crimson and occassionally tremoring, the soft fwipping of feathers rubbing together drowned out by the sound of Peter, Paul and Mary on the juke box.

No knowledge of the fire, or werewolves, or much else proceeds her arrival. What does, however, is that locations like this typically serve alcohol, and it has been far, far too long since she had her last drink. Theresa shoulders her way into the bar with the familiarity of someone who frequents bars, if not this particular one.

It's always a little jarring for Hajime when he enters any place where mutants are allowed to openly be mutants. He can't decide if it feels like coming home or if it feels like he shouldn't be here. It's certainly somewhere in between, leaving him just slightly on edge and making him look like a deer in headlights. A bar, though, is a good place to go if you're on edge, alcohol has a way of ridding a person of that particular feeling.

Hajime moves into the bar, slowly, like he's wading through water instead of just a bar filled with people. When he makes it over to the bar, he tries to will the accent out of his voice while ordering a beer but it lingers, clinging just slightly to a vowel.

He moves to a stool after, eager to be near other people but not eager enough to actually say anything to anyone. He's a bundle of nerves, it's obvious in the rigid way he holds himself.

Jay watches with vague detachment as one of the fellahs at the pool table finally puts his partner out of his misery, sinking the eight ball with a loud clack of billiard balls and a drop into the pocket. A shout of victory and short laughter, one of them declares his dominance on the table and Jay blinks, startled for a moment. A placating smile touching his lips, there's a short toast with his glass and drop of the rest of the liquid back in celebration, reminding himself that he's supposed to be participating.

His drink done, the young ginger fellow with the wings slides off his stool and heads in the direction of the bar as well along with the two new patrons. Reaching the bar about the same time, the point of conversion has Jay stepping aside widely to gesture toward Theresa with an angular murmuration, "Please, go ahead, ladies first." The strong southern lean to his words is thick enough to stand a chicken bone upright in.

In stepping back, bright wings bump up against Hajime, smothering the young man in red feathers for a moment before the very limbs suddenly shrink away, compressing themselves to Jay's back as if suddenly burned. A half pivot aside, Jay twists to murmur apologetically to Hajime. "Oh-oh sorry. Ah didn't see ya there, man. Y'allraght?"

"Why thank ye." Theresa replies when Jay lets her go first, her accent very obvious and very Irish. She turns her attention towards the bartender, lifting a hand to get their attention before she places an order for something that might seem very obvious, a whiskey, neat. Then she turns her attention towards the other pair, eyes flicking across them both very briefly before she turns her attention back to waiting on her drink, and minding her own business.

When the feathers brush up against him, Hajime startles and stumbles off of his stool. He catches himself with a leg and clutches the beer close to his chest like he was holding an infant and not just a bottle. "Oof," it surprises a noise out of him, followed shortly by a small laugh. It's not every day someone smacks you in the face with their wings. What a strange world he'd stepped into. "I'm alright!" He promises, the smile not yet fading from his face. Before he can think to stop himself because the question could be rude he asks, "Why did you do that? Hide them? We're all the same here." As if he has any right to preach to this bird boy.

Jay's brows twitch upward at Theresa when he hears that accent. Of the many that lurk around every corner in New York, that's one that he hasn't heard too much of. "Wow. Yer accent. That's—" He probably would've continued on, but the quick bump and startle with the other fellow bellying up to the bar cuts Jay off as he swiftly apologizes for getting in damn near everyone's way with his enlarged profile.

Shifting that half turn toward the startled Japanese fellow, Jay's brows lift, a hand reaches out as if to steady Hajime, but stops just short when the guy catches himself. Relieved. "Hey, you speak English purdy good. Good fer you," Jay congratulates the asian fellow, unnecessarily, and ready to move onward with his own order, he's startled into a pause when he's asked why he he shrank away and hides his wings back against himself.

The question wipes the faint smile off of his face quickly. Not angry, but entirely inadvertantly, Hajime brushes against a raw nerve somewhere. "That's…an awfully funny question, actually." A frail smile touches the corners of the young man's face. "You know, yer the first person to actually /ask/ an' not just assume why Ah do it. Ah still don't really, y'know, 'pass', but…" Jay shrugs a gentle shoulder and glances to the bartender, gesturing with his glass to ask for another. Turning back toward Hajime, Jay lifts a deep breath, bracing himself for this conversation. He debates for a moment to tell the man the real reason, or a polite one. Jay opts for the latter. "Still gettin' used to the idea of a safe space, Ah reckon." Green eyes flick up and down Hajime. "You pass real well though, huh?" Not seeing any visible mutation at first glance.

The mention of an accent just causes her to laugh, but Theresa gets her drink and spots something or someone across the bar that catches her attention. "Excuse me." She murmurs, and then off she goes.

His smile fades a little when the boy praises his ability to speak English. The boy at least doesn't look like he's trying to be offensive. "Ah, thank you. I was actually born here. I attend the university not far from here." He says, trying to will away the bite from his voice because again, the boy doesn't seem to be trying to offend anyone.

Hajime leans back while he listens to the boy stumble through his explanation. It's easy to tell that he might have rubbed a nerve. He looks down at his hands, left still wrapped around the bottle of beer he hasn't touched yet. "I do, I guess I'm lucky in that way, huh?" He says quietly and then holds his hand over Jay's glass, dropping a small crystal of ice into it like a peace offering in some strange way. "But, here, why should you want to pass here? They're extraordinary, you know. Even kind of beautiful." Hajime hasn't had anything to drink, why is he being so open? Cheeks burn a little at what he'd said and quickly takes a gulp of beer like he might be able to swallow his words back with it.

It isn't quite a sassy, 'I'm from Fresno, Ace' but it's right up there with sassy 'you're a racist asshole' comments. Though the insinuation doesn't really strike home for Jay as he nods to Theresa when she gets up and moves away. He takes her seat instead and nods to Hajime. "Oh yeah, the U of NYC, huh? So yer real smart then. Ma momma always says you orientals are all real bright with math and numbers, so Ah guess it's not so surprisin'. Yer folks must be proud." Accidentally insensitive, Jay's guileless innocence doesn't come off with a single thread's width of malice in his tone, however.

Jay doesn't immediately understand what was just dropped into his beer, however. The open glass fizzes slightly as the ice cube drops, Jay tilts his head and peers into his glass. A sudden dawning look of understanding perks around him, curving his mouth into a small smile. "Yer an like an ice elemental, huh? That's real," dramatic pause. "Cool." Haaaaaah, Jay, you're a stitch. The young man drops that pun with barely a titch of amusement on his lips.

Jay notes the blush and the hard drink, sliding a peculiar look toward Hajime. Squinting at him briefly, as if trying to search something out just beyond the scraped surface of the Japanese man who happened to end up sitting next to him. It doesn't last long, easing up a moment later for the subject at hand. Turning back to his glass, there's a hollowness in his tone, wings shiver and twitch gently, aggitated. "Not everyone thinks so. You might be surprised how many folks get hung up on th' fact that they're red, even if they can get over the fact Ah got wings." Boy that was a fun conversation with his pastor back home. Jay takes a deep drink from his glass for a long pull, wiping a bit of the foamy head off his upper lip with the back of his wrist, then turns properly to Hajime, extending a hand. "Jay."

Hajime has to swallow a sigh when Jay follows up with another racist comment but he ends it with 'your parents must be proud' and that's how Hajime knows that he's not intentionally being racist. He's just grown up around casual racism. At least, he didn't call Hajime something far more awful than 'oriental', so Hajime forgives him for it silently, biting back the comment that he can also read. "They are, especially because I won a scholarship." He continues conversationally.

The pun makes Hajime laugh because it's so ridiculous. "Not just ice." He says, opening the palm of his hand and raising a small flame, but it's barely a flicker before it's out once more and the glee from Jay's ridiculous pun fades the moment he uses it.

Hajime leans back to look at Jay when he says plenty of people have a problem with the fact that his wings are red. "Because red is meant to represent something evil, right? That's a lot of hocus pocus, if they were white you'd scare everyone because they'd think an angel fell to Earth, if they were black then truly you crawled right out of Hell." He takes another drink and shakes his head. "Red is a beautiful color, like a rose. There's nothing ugly or frightening about your wings."

He takes the hand extended to him, his touch would feel just a tad too warm to Jay. "Hajime." He says a little slower than he means to.

Oblivious, Jay continues on the conversation without missing a beat, looking doubly impressed over the mention that not only was Hajime accepted, but he won a scholarship. "Oh, wow. So, yer real smart, then. Dang. Ah mean…Ah…didn't even get through high school." He admits, lowering his tone to portray a certain amount of shame in that admission.

The small flame pops up in the center of Hajime's palm and Jay's brows fly way up, hiding beneath the hair hanging loose over his forehead. "Oh. Wow. So…yer lahke an all around elementalist? That's so boss," the southern man murmurs with palpable awe, even as his wings pull backward in automatic response to an open flame anywhere near him.

Mention of the different colors his wings /could/ be elicites a visible, sharp wince from Jay, eyes snapping shut with a pained look, then guilt that overwhelms the compliments awarded to him. The softened whisper of feathers rubbing together hovers around the young man in a sonorous hush, twitching in aggitation that he doesn't quite recover from until Hajime takes his hand.

Jay's hands are soft. Far, far too soft to imagine the young man ever working a day in his life. Lily white like a damn geisha (racist!), the grip is firm, but not commanding. Green eyes squint while he tries to not mangle that name and does anyway. "Hah-Jim-Eh? Hahhim-hay? Haji-may? Ah'm sorry, Ah-Ah'm really no good with complicated names. You don't by chance got a nickname, do ya?" Jay, at the very least, has the good nature to look apologetic over the request.

Hajime is impressed by how soft Jay's hands are and he turns the one caught in his own to look at it in some form of awe. He thought for someone with such a southern accent, he'd have certainly spent most of his time in the sun and working by hand but he doesn't find a callous on a knuckle and he's so very white.

A nickname? That question makes him finally release the soft hand he's been holding hostage. He's never thought of one, even his teachers would just give up or go by his family name and that's not any less complicated than his first name. Hajime doesn't seem to look offended by the request just perplexed. "Jime? Sort of like Jimmy. Is that easier?" He offers. "Or, Jimmy, I guess could also work, make it easier on both of us."

He notes the way that Jay had pulled his wings back from the flame and places a consoling hand on Jay's arm. "Sorry, I forgot there for a moment that part of you is made up of a flamable material." His frown earlier moves back into an amused smile, Jay's excitement about his powers makes him feel warm in a way that has nothing to do with his powers. He's definitely not used to someone praising them.

It's Jay's turn to turn a little red when he notices how long Hajime holds on to his hand. Yeah, he knows that his hands aren't exactly masculine by any stretch of the imagination. It's been a paranoid little thought all along with those long artistic fingers he can work along a guitar's neck or a keyboard, just waiting for someone to notice. The color soaks quickly into his fair cheeks, taking the hand back without comment once it's no longer held hostage. "Jimmahy. Jimmay." Honestly, with Jay's accent, the two suggestions sound almost identical. Almost. "You don't mind none, do you? Ah slaughter mah friends' names all the time, you ain't the only one, if that makes it any better." Jay chuckles, but it's not really a chuckle in the conventional sense. The mild-mannered young man exhales a breath that tremors a little bit, shaking hsi shoulders, more breath than sound.

"A flamable material," Jay repeats with a pop of his brows upwards, amused with a tiny smile while he recovers from some sharp shock of pain over the color of his wings, disproportionate to the observation. "Yeah…Ah guess Ah am sort of a giant feather duster, huh?" The southern boy shakes his head gently. "Well, it's nice t'meet you, Jimmay. An' that's real neat. Ah know a couple folk who work ice a little bit, but Ah've never known someone who can do both."

Jay tries, he really does try and that's enough to make Hajime smile. "I don't mind." Jay really is just trying to find a way to not butcher his name constantly, it's more than most people do. At least he didn't just demand that Hajime find another name or give up. A smirk grows on his face at the shy way that Jay withdraws his hands and the way the color on his cheeks seems to be mimicking his wings. It's almost cut-Hajime shakes that thought right out of his head and makes sure to drown it with a long drink from his beer.

"It's nice to meet you too, Jay." He says that smile still hasn't faded when Jay mentions he's basically a feather duster. "You're hilarious, do you know that? If you ever want to quit your job as a full time feather duster, you could surely make a career in comedy." His eyes linger for a moment on Jay's blushing cheeks. Not cute. They were not cute.

"It's a bit of a problem, to have the conflicting abilities. I'm better with the ice than the fire." He explains and raises another ice crystal into his palm, this one more diamond in shape, offering it towards Jay. What? He likes when someone ooo's and ah's over his powers.


Saddled up to the bar, Jay and Hajime chat together on a fairly busy evening for how late in the day it's become. Each of them nursing their respective drinks, Jay offers a cool twitch of a crooked smile over to Jimmy over the thought of being a comedian. Twisting his glass on the bartop with a quarter with a quarter turn of his fingers, Jay peers down to the odd floating ice cube in his beer, "Well, thanks. Ah'll be here all week, huh? Self-depreciating humor's all Ah got, though, unless you wanna hear a load of knock-knock jokes." Fair warning, Jay buries his face back into his drink, brows popping up swiftly as Hajime presents a small shaped ice chunk in his palm.

The southern young man shakes his head and is slow to take it from Jimmy's palm, instead peering close at it. "That's still /so cool/, man. So where's the ice come from? Ah mean…Ah know two ladies with ice powers, but they make stuff cold an' freeze existin' liquids. This is like Houdini pullin' quarters outa people's ears an' stuff."

Isaiah Bradley, currently a wanted man, walks into the bar wearing a pair of loose fitting jeans with wide bottoms, and a black turtleneck sweater. His perfectly bald head barely makes it through the door at six foot four and his frame is almost as wide as two people he is so muscular. He could easily be a mutant.

He carries a military, olive green rucksack in one large hand. Entering, he pauses for a moment then heads for the bar to speak to the bartender. If he's going to find the person he's looking for, that would be the man to tell him where to look. As he walks further into the bar there is a muffled shink sound with every step of his bright red boots from the scale armor under his sweater jostling. Those certainly are the brightest, most red boots. Highly polished. Maybe his mutant power is paralyzing people with horribly clashing fashion choices?

Crossing the room to have a seat at the bar. His heavy frame settles onto the bar stool, the bag is slid between his feet where no one can run off with it, and he motions to the bartender then when it's his turn he orders, "Woo Woo, please."

Daire usually works at the Eight Ball, but not tonight. It's his off night, but he still comes wandering in after spending some time at the community center. He's got on a pair of jeans and some beaten up sneakers, a plain blue t-shirt on. There's no attempt made to hide the horns that curl up and back from either side of his head, or the smallish fangs that show when he smiles. He seems to be in a pretty good mood, and pauses to greet some of the folks that he knows before making his way on over toward the bar. Seeing a familiar face, he smiles a little and begins to head in that direction, but then seeing Jay has company, he widens his arc a little to settle somewhere nearby without interrupting, motioning for a beer for himself.

"I use the water in the air and well, in me if I get real desperate to make the ice." Hajime explains and smiles so wide that it actually aches. He's not used to anyone expressing any interest in these abilities. And of course, no one at home was oooing and ahing over his ability to long division or name every bone in the body. "If I was dehydrated and in the desert, I wouldn't be able to use the ice at all. Hajime grows another figure for him in the palm of his hand, this one looks like a star and that's about as advanced as Hajime can make it.

He'd be lying if he said he wasn't curious about the boy who just walked into the bar with the horns, like Jay here, he was fascinating to Hajime. He nods to the boy, absolutely not going to point at him like this bar was a circus. "He's not passing and he doesn't seem to be bothered by it. See, there's no reason to be nervous here, Jay." He reassures offering Jay the new ice cube so that he can lean back, feeling a little more confident now, maybe from Jay's praise, maybe from the drink (as Hajime was a slender thing). "Pardon me, sir. What kind of drink is a Woo Woo?"

Isaiah waits patiently for his drink as he looks around. Honestly, it's a little uncomfortable even for him being among so many mutants. He keeps telling himself mentally that it's irrational fear. They are just people. Taking a deep breath he centers himself imagining this must be what white people feel like when walking through the streets of Harlem. Racism is so ingrained in society you have to fight just to think clearly past it.

When Jay strikes up a conversation with him the large, very large black man turns a little and looks down at the young man. His deep, powerful voice is held in check as he tries not to seem intimidating. "2 parts vodka, 1 part peach schnapps and lots of cranberry juice. Very purple. Very strong. Drink two and you'll be saying Woo Woo." Isaiah says the funny rhyme that most bartenders know about the drink. "It's a great pick me up. The juice is good for you. Helps flush out the system." he explains.

Now, mind you, this is a mutant bar. The man in the corner table has backwards folding knees and resembles an amphibian of some sort, and he's trying to get with the bright pink woman with white patches of fur showing down her legs and arms— so clearly, nobody here is about to judge anyone for looking like anything. That said, when Isaiah walks into the place, the woman practically passed out at the bar, head resting against the scarred wood, actually pushes herself up with both hands to stare. Damn. That's a big guy. Trying to decide if she needs tot ry to climb that mountain.

Jay may not so much feel the shift of attention around the bar, but he does notice when the woman down the bar pushes up from her drunken doze to stare at someone across the bar. Jay begins to turn and glance in Isaiah's direction when Hajime points his attention over toward someone else who doesn't 'pass' but doesn't seem bothered by it.

Jay's expression opens up and he smiles when his attention is directed over at Daire, feathers lifting with a soft fluff and shiver out. "Well, that's because that man over there don't have a thing t'be self-conscious about." The southern boy lifts a hand and gestures mildly for Daire to join them, green eyes shining warmly.

Though that rhyme…that rhyme's lyrical fun. Another quick glance in Isaiah's direction while Hajime asks about the drink. "Ah lahke that…woo woo."

If only Hajime knew just how long Daire hid those horns and most of the rest of himself away from people, he might be surprised that the young man seems as comfortable as he is, but he's found a place here, and he seems to be embracing it. His attention is, like everyone else's, drawn to that mountain of a man sidling up to the bar. He looks for a moment, two, as though assessing something, but seeing no reason for concern, then catches Hajime looking at him, and Jay as well. There's a little smile that spreads across his lips when Jay motions him over, and so invited, he picks up his bottle of beer and makes his way over, settling onto a stool next to Jay. "Hey," he says, first to Jay, and then he gives a nod and lifts his bottle to Hajime. "How's it going?" He laughs just a little, at the drink, the explanation, and Jay's exclamation.

Hajime smiles at the explanation and also how easily the much taller man responds to him, probably just humoring some mutant kids at the bar but it means something to Hajime. "I like that, never heard of it before, sounds about as healthy as you can get for an alcoholic drink." He returns before Daire comes over to join them.

Clearly he and Jay were friends, that much was obvious in their familiarity with one another. "Hello! Uh, I'm Hajime." He says setting down his empty beer and offering his hand to the other boy, taking it away for a moment to awkwardly wipe the water from the melted ice from his palm before reoffering it to the other boy.

Perhaps seeing the attention of the women on him, or perhaps just because he knows it's wise to cover your bases in general, Isaiah says loud enough for everyone to hear, "My wife turned me onto them. Tasty." the large man says as his drink arrives. It comes with a tiny ladies straw which looks comical when the mountain of a man uses it to wet his whistle.

He's a bit older than most of the people here, at least from what he can tell so he's not really looking for long term socializing, Isaiah is on a mission, "I'm Isaiah." he says relaxing a little more. See, just normal people. Mutants aren't so bad. It's not like you can be turned into a mutant by being around them. That has to be a rumor, he's pretty sure… If he grows wings though, his wife might actually like that and his daughter would love flying. He would love flying.

Looking at Jay directly, "Nice wings. Lucky." Isaiah says as he imagines how much easier being able to fly would make cleaning the gutters or patching up the roof of his house, trimming the trees, wings would be just darn handy.

Jay reaches out as Daire takes the seat on the other side of him, planting a hand on the horned mutant's shoulder and giving it a squeeze. "Hey," responding simply, wings lifting away from the red-head's back slightly, just to collapse back once more when someone brushes by on their way to the pool tables. Introductions between Daire and Hajime aren't necessary when the Japanese-American fellow takes it upon himself, and Jay looks apologetic for a split second. "Oh, right, sorry 'bout that. Jimmy, this is Daire. He's my partner. We're startin' a band." Jay explains easily.

Swinging his attention back around toward the mountainous man with the shiny red boots, the light in Jay's gaze remains bright as he offers his name as well. AND compliments Jay's visible mutation. The red-head tips his head modestly and seems a little surprised over the 'lucky' comment. A whisper of a chuckle presses up behind closed lips and feathers tremor momentarily, not sure if they want to puff up in pleasure or shrink back. None the less, it's with a good-natured modesty that he replies. "Jay, Jay Guthrie. Thank you, kindly," the lean of his southern accent thick enough to stand a catfish finger upright in. "They got some perks, though, Ah can't say Ah much recommend 'em. Can get rough out there when ya don't quite look the way folk'd like, Ah'd reckon you'd got some stories of yer own, Sir." His attention flicks over Isaiah's broad build. "Though maybe not. You look like a fallah who can hold his own."

"Daire," he introduces himself to Hajime, reaching out toward the hand that is pulled back, then grinning a little when it is re-offered. He takes the extended hand and gives it a shake. "Nice to meet you," he says, then looks back over toward Isaiah and introduces himself to the large man as well. He lifts his bottle of beer and takes a swig from it, glancing between Jay and Isaiah when the man comments on Jay's wings. The squeeze to his shoulder is returned in kind. Too-bright unnatural green eyes turn back to Isaiah to study him as the conversation goes on, falling quiet and enjoying his beer as he listens to the others talk.

Hajime smiles when Isaiah calls Jay 'lucky', looking over at Jay's wings admirably. Jay deserves just as much praise as he was giving Hajime's small and quite poor ice sculptures. He truly does wish that all of the mutants here that were much more loudly mutants didn't have to face any prejudice for who they were. None of them chose this path and you couldn't catch mutant by being around mutants. It wasn't a cold. "Nice to meet you Isaiah." He offers back to the mountain of a man.

"Daire," Hajime repeats back before he releases the other boy's hand. "A band? You can both play an instrument as well? Or do you sing?" His eyebrows shoot up and he smiles at this revelation. Why was everyone here so cool? "If you're going to be in a band, I think that you'll just have to go ahead and accept that your wings are amazing, Jay. You can fly while you're putting on the shows. The women will certainly love that." He's talking a lot and quickly. He presses himself almost shyly back against the bar and turns to the bartender, nodding to Isaiah's drink. "May I have a Woo Woo please?" With alcohol in his system surely everything that leaves his lips will slow down and he'll stop gushing over how beautiful everyone was in this bar.

Shaking hands with a firm, overly warm, calloused grip. and making introductions with whomever offers, "I do know what it's like for the world to look at you like you're different but that has also taught me that honesty is the best. I'm not a mutant. I'm just an old soldier here to ask for help. I'm looking for someone in leadership for the mutant community. I need to give them a message, ask them a favor." the big man says then takes another sip of his drink. It's just so darn good! "You wouldn't happen to know who I might talk to about important things, would you? Or someone who someone could deliver a request to for me?" he asks.

Jay gives Hajime a mild, patient smile and a whispered chuckle. "It's funny. Back home, Ah accidentally revealed mah wings on stage once. Got too wound up, Ah guess. It went over well fer a few shows when they all thought that it was a stage effect—some kinda rig." Inhaling a deep breath, the young man's shoulders pull back and spine straightens as he pull shis beer to his lips again, still with that serene expression, but there's a loaded weight in it when he explains. "Less so once they figured out it was just…me up there." Then things like community meetings, church meetings, guns, deaths and Jay getting sent off to New York happened. Not exactly polite company conversation so he simply takes a long drink, smiles over to Daire and turns his attention back toward Isaiah.

He shakes the man's hand, his long fingers swallowed up by the man's dark hand, Jay's palm is flawlessly smooth, as if he's never worked a day in his life. Red brows arch slightly in amazement when Isaiah says he isn't a mutant. Could've fooled him! Another quick glance of the man over, incredulous to his size and stature. And damn, those are some nice boots…

Another slight glance toward Daire, uncertain for a moment, but soft green eyes turn back to Isaiah, more solemn now and utterly sobered, Jay bobs a nod. "Well now, as luck maght have it Ah know a few folks who might match that description, Mister Isaiah, dependin' on what that message might be, of course."

Daire nods to Hajime and says, "I play the guitar better than I sing; Jay's the one with the really beautiful voice." When Isaiah says that he isn't a mutant, he looks over toward the door and his brows knit just a bit. Usually, they don't let anyone in who isn't a mutant unless they're with someone. But then he glances back to Isaih, then Jay, then back again and says, "We could probably deliver a message, let someone know how to get in contact with you." It's said carefully, but not in an unfriendly sort of way. He taps the side of the bottle lightly with his fingertips, then takes another swallow from it before setting the empty down on the bar, pushing it away from him a little bit.

The large black man sets down his drink and says solemly, "The news isn't talking about it, the cops won't admit it, but Harlem is about to explode. When it does, I'm asking for the mutants to stay out of it. I know many of you will want to fight with us. I know you see what they do to us and feel like it's your fight to, and you're right. It's everyone's fight. Justice is the responsibility of every citizen." he says but his brown eyes look down.

"If you do, if you come to Harlem and use your powers to fight with us, it's going to end badly for you. Real bad. I know a thing or two about the government. If you start throwing around superpowers in the middle of a riot, they'll use it as an excuse to arm the national guard with heavy weapons. They'll gun down whole crowds of people to get to one mutant. I know you want to fight for what is right but the best way to save as many lives as possible is for it to be a fight between people without powers. When the times comes, please don't escalate the violence. That is what I need to ask them. Don't give the government an excuse." he says.

"I believe in the American people, but I know the evil that people in power will do to hold on to that power. Tell them that. Tell them I said please." he says then pauses and says, "Please." to be polite.

Hajime doesn't know a soul in this place besides the three men who'd just introduced themselves to him so when the conversation turns somewhere a little more serious, he becomes a little uncomfortable. And well, it's getting close to Cinderella midnight. He has to get back home and be the perfect son before his father wakes up and finds his bed empty. He places some money on the bar for the second drink and then places it untouched in front of Isaiah. "Thank you all so much for talking with me but I should probably be going. I've got class in the morning." He says politely. "It really was nice meeting all of you and if you're ever by the University, feel free to stop by my family's restaurant." Why did he say that? Why on earth would he invite mutants to his parent's restaurant? He decides to quickly make his exit before he reveals a name, though really, it wouldn't be hard to find an Oriental restaurant when it wasn't in Chinatown. "Have a good night!" He calls before leaving somewhat hastily.

Jay is enraptured while Isaiah explains what's about to happen. The young man's expression drawn seriously, he can still feel Daire looking over at the doorman, judging him for letting a non-mutant in the place, and reaches over to grip his friend's forearm to try to drawn him back to the subject at hand and stop worrying about trying to get a co-worker in trouble. He also all but misses Hajime getting up and quickly leaving, though, Jay can hardly blame him. The thought of Harlem erupting like that is, well, it sounds a lot like a number of warnings he's heard recently from various people—it's only the place and the people that's different. Tension is enough to prickle one's skin as you walk through some neighborhoods.

Wings flex and shiver with aggitation, tiny feathers rising like the hairs on the back of his neck, giving Jay's silhouette a bit more bulk. He's torn. His /expression/ is just that as well when Isaiah asks them to pass on a message of 'just let it happen'. Isaiah was right; it /didn't/ feel right. Jay looks back toward Daire, solemn, trying to read his friend's expression. When he turns back toward Isaiah, that southern lean is lowered privately. "Ah understand what yer sayin', Sir, but you know as well as Ah do that even if we do get the word out, there's plenty more than just mutants in this city. A good portion of us are afraid enough to stay in Mutant Town an' hold our breath, but you got a long road ahead of you to keep powered people out of it. Aliens, monsters, magic, an' all breed of other folks." Jay shifts his attention to Daire again, uncertain. He nods slowly, vigilently to Isaiah. "Ah'll tell some folks Ah know got the ear of some people. Is there somewhere we can reach ya? They're gonna have questions."

Daire wasn't so much concerned about getting a coworker in trouble as he was concerned for the safety of those who have come to regard this place as a haven for mutants with certain protections in place, and the concern didn't vanish even when Jay gripped his arm. However, it did pull his attention back to othe conversation at hand. He does notice Hajime leaving and gives him a little nod in farewell before his attention shifts back to Isaiah. His expression shows the same conflict that Jay himself is feeling when Jay looks over to study him. There's a lot of mixed emotions about that message, ones that he mulls over thoughtfully before opening his mouth. When he does, he says, "I can understand what you're saying, and why you're requesting it. By the same token, the government could just as well say — there's all these people out here with powers who could have done something to help and they didn't. They let people suffer." He gives a bit of a handwobble. "People who want to turn things against us are going to do so no matter what we do. Though, maybe there's things we can do that won't escalate the violence — like offering shelter, healing, support, and aid rather than violence." It's a thought, anyway. He nods though, looking to Jay, and seems to be in agreement with him, but he lets Jay do the talking, the making of arrangements, folding his arms on the bar in front of him and mulling all of this over.

Nodding his head the large black man takes another last drink from his Woo Woo. He says, "I know, I'm just trying to spread the word as much as I can. It won't be perfect, it won't be pretty. You're right, if someone has powers they can use to help people like healing they are welcome to come support the fight. If this turns into a super-powered brawl the only thing history will remember is that people with powers went crazy and destroyed half of New York. The problems that Harlem face will never see the light of day. Powered conflict is sexy. Kids getting beaten to death in the streets by racists isn't good news stories. We need to avoid giving them any excuse to change the subject. " he says as he lifts his rucksack and flips it open.

The top of something metal, shiny, with some etching in it can be seen peeking out of the sack as he fishes around for his wallet to pay for his drink. A shield. "We need to make it about the issues, not the violence. It's going to be a mess but it doesn't have to burn half the city down." he says as he pays for his drink and leaves a tip.

Jay nods mildly in agreement when Daire flips the subject and mentions planning an outreach. Something. After all, they're not really combatant types anyway, more of the support sort. The mention of the rising racism and the issues they need to fight for rather than being distracted by another super powered person blowing out all the windows in Harlem (COUGH), has Jay's wings fwipping anxiously and glancing away for a moment, down to Daire's hands for what genuinely looks like an uncomfortable and maybe even guilt-ridden moment for the southern-born man. Lifting his gaze back up to the large dark-skinned fellow, Jay nods, hesitantly. "Th' press an' the Man will spin it however they're gonna, but if there ain't powered people there t'distract, they'll have ta at least admit t'what the shake down is all about." Jay murmurs softly his understanding, then hesitates. "You gotta know though there's still colored folk what are mutants, too, who're absolutely gonna see this fight as theirs. There are gonna be people who can't lay down an' let folks be harmed. Got a sense of 'struggle is struggle an' needs to be defended at every turn', Ah heard it more than once from friends who ain't mutant, but powered of some sort." Still… Jay licks the inside corner of his mouth habitually, peering at the tall man with the duffle bag. He seems troubled, but the red-head nods. "All struggle is our struggle, but yers is the one on the boilin' plate. We gotta turn heads with it." He turns to look at Daire and squeezes his forearm again. "Support, yeah? Maybe…if y'all got, lahke, kids or old or folk who gon' get hurt in the fray don't need t'be or somethin' like. We ain't got much goin' on down here, but it's somethin'." Jay suggests to Isaiah. The idea of all the people who could get hurt needlessly in a riot situation turns his stomach.

Daire listens to both Jay and Isaiah, his attention shifting between one and the other as he mulls things over and then nods, "It's going to be messy no matter what. But if we can at least focus on support rather than outright fighting, then I mean, it's hard to say, look at the powered folk with their healing and their bandaids and their coffee. That's what the problem's all about.." There's the faintest of smiles that touches his lips. He covers Jay's hand on his arm and gives it a small squeeze before releasing it, a reassuring gesture. "But yeah, I think we can help get that message around to folks, let them know how you feel about it, give them your name and let them reach out to you if they have questions."

Putting his wallet back and resecuring his bulging sack, the large man stands up and says, "Messy no matter what, I agree. We can't make it pretty. We can only try to keep both sides from killin each other." he says then smiles, "America has always been a troubled child. We started in revolution and I imagin that'll just keep happen'n. As my paps use to say, "You can't control what other people are going to say about you, you can only be the best person you can be and hope they see that goodness. Some people won't. Some people are just made up their minds to be unhappy. You don't worry about them. You worry about you, you just keep moving forward. Always forward. Forward always." he says then he nods his head and leaves a card on the bar for Mabel's Jazz club with his name written on the back along with, 'Help if you need it.' then he leaves the mutants to their mutant club and their heavy thoughts.

Jay looks down to that card pressed to the bartop, though his gaze is distant and stares right through it as he mouths something to himself, inaudible, though his lips move none the less. Another anxious fwip of feathers and wings, Jay turns his attention back up, bobbing a nod to Isaiah as the man gets up to leave. "Have a good night, Sir." A pale hand reaches across the bar, across Daire, and slowly pulls the card across toward himself, thumbing at a corner thoughtfully. "When it rains, it pours huh, Batty?" Jay flicks his attention toward Daire again, mouth twitching a curve that falls a second later.

Daire gives a nod of his head to Isaiah and glances over at the card, leaning back just a little so that Jay can reach across him to get it and pull it over. "Night," he adds after Jay, then glances back over toward the winged man beside him. There's a little twich of his lips at the nickname and he says, "So it seems. But, maybe we can yet do some good, eh?"

Thumbing one edge of the card thoughtfully, Jay nods a couple of times in agreement. "Ah sure hope so. The man's got a point, but you know folks ain't gonna be happy on this 'leave 'em t'fight alone' wagon we're tryin' to pitch to them." The young man lofts his brows upward softly toward Daire, eyes flicking back up to regard the other man, candidly. "Ah can talk t'Kai. He's got connections t'the other aliens from the different worlds and he's an Avenger." Jay begins functionally lining up a plan of action. He may have been one of those men who were just happy to live his life, but when something like this lands at his feet…well. "He can pass the word up the chain, there. An' one of my roommates' parents are supposed t'be the most powerful magic folks around accordin' to all of Billy's braggin'. An' then there's…the professor, yeah?" He arches his brows mildly toward Daire, finally getting around to their own people.

"I'm not even sure how I feel about the whole not getting involved thing," Daire admits with a slight shake of his head, "But I see his point." He takes a breath and lets it out slowly. "I don't think we can just do nothing, but I think if maybe we could get folks to focus on doing helpful things rather than fighting outright, maybe we can, I dunno, make it less destructive." He nods his head when Jay lists off people that he can get in touch with, and seems to be in agreement about the Professor. "Yeah, we can reach out to the various folks that we know and at least make them aware. What they do with it, well.. that'll be up to them, but I think passing on the message and making sure folks talk to each other is important."

Jay shakes his head in the negative, but in agreement to what Daire has to say on the subject. "Ah ain't never been a man who can stomach standing aside while people are getting hurt or troubled. It doesn't sit right with me, either. Ah mean…" Jay looks down at the card again and heaves a sigh, letting his part his lips for a moment. "When a man came for my family, it was a colored man who stood between him and them. A colored man, in the south, standin' up against a white fellah for a bunch of freaks. He paid for it with his life, but that kind of courage?" Jay shakes his head, slowly lifting his attention back up to meet Daire's unnaturally bright eyes, candidly. "Ah could only hope to be half the man that fellah ever was."

"If…If that Isaiah believes that the only way t'make their problems heard loud an' clear is fer us to stand down, mah heart's all kinds of twisted up with it, but my gut says he knows better than either of us." The whitest man who ever lived, save for albinos, looks down at the card again. "Ah don't know if passing the word out wide is wise, do you? Ah'm sure not going to convince just any old person of anythin' unless we're close and it might give 'em so much warning that they go lookin' for trouble or wind themselves up. There are lots of folks who are going to see this as a 'them first, us next' situation if they get too out of hand. Maybe findin' the leader types and letting them reach out to their people is the way to go. Man…Ninette was raght. We need more leadership in Mutant Town." Jay says and shakes his head slowly, then shrugs. "Not that Ah think anyone in the neighborhood mindin' their own business is really gonna go off an' fight. It is mostly people in like…the Avengers, the school, brotherhood an' TCP." Jay curves a gentle smile to Daire again. "People in the neighborhood mostly just wanna live an' let live. But they may just rally to go in an' help support after the fact." And rebuild. There will be lots of that.

Jay's attention turns back to the card. For a moment, he smiles and leans in as he turns it to face Daire. "Mabel's Jazz Club." It was funny timing, but Jay's smile is, for a brief moment, warm and gentle. "We should go there some time." Preferably before it's turned to rubble.

There's a deep kind of sympathy for Jay's tale in Daire's eyes when Jay looks back to him, and he rests his hand on top of that one on his forearm again, giving it another firm squeeze and holding it this time, for just a little longer than might seem appropriate. "You are an amazing soul, Songbird. You may not be that man, but you are your own man, and you are a good man." He then listens in silence for a while, nodding his head just a little bit. "I wasn't suggesting that we go spread the message far and wide but.. I mean, talk to those leaders we know.. let them work with it from there." He then smiles a little lopsidedly and nods. "Let's go. Maybe tomorrow night. Listen to some music."

Appropriate or not, Jay's the one who's kept his hand constant on Daire's forearm; thumb swishing back and forth gently when Daire's hand rests over his, drawing little swishing curve of covered affection over the man's palm. A pale smile accompanies Daire's compliments, Jay's eyes dropping for a flickering moment before bouncing back to Daire's. "Ah try. Ah'm lucky to be in the company of good men." Spinning the compliment on its ear to point back to Daire.

Clarification on the plan makes him nod a few times again. "Okay. Ah gotta talk to the professor anyway. Talk to him about…" Jay sighs and closes his eyes a moment, halts, then begins again. "Ah'm gonna sound like a broken record to you, gosh," Jay opens his eyes and lays it out plainly. "Mah roommate's missin'. Kidnapped, we think. So. Ah wanna go talk t'the professor about maybe whatever he does to find mutants in trouble. Ah'm really worried fer him. And his girlfriend." Explains the 'rains it pours' comment earlier.

Jay squeezes Daire's forearm, trying to glean some lightness back. "Tomorrow night. You and me got a date with a Jazz machine, then." Because if Jay lets all the insanity in his world drag him down, he will drown. The gentle, deep feeling man needs those notes of light at the end of the tunnel. Same as anyone else. Tentatively, Jay tilts his chin down, eyes lifting up to still peer into Daire's eyes. "Can Ah walk you home, maybe?" He offers softly, like a southern gent ought to, though it may seem a little weird all circumstances considered.

There's a little smile that touches Daire's lips at the compliment and he shakes his head. "You always manage to do that.. turn everything around on me." It's said with gentle, tender affection for the man at his side. Though that smile fades at the mention of Jay's roommate missing and he says, "I can see if I can find out anything…" He's not sure what he might be able to find out. He has some contacts on the street and around Mutant Town, but he seems willing to try. He does smile a little though at the mention of their date and he nods his head in agreement, letting a little lightness come back into the moment. Looking into those eyes, the smile turns gentler still and he nods his head, "I'd like that. Please."

Nothing but gratitude at first shake while Daire offers to send feelers out for Jay and his roommate. The kindness appreciated deeply. "Ah'm not always turnin' things around, that sounds like Ah'm bein' slick. Ah'm just bein' honest, Daire. Ah am lucky to have a good man like you in my life. Always easier to do the right thing with good support." Jay claims gently as he slides from his stool and releases Daire's arm long enough to pay for his drink. Pleased as punch when Daire accepts his offer to walk the man home; a tiny flutter of pleasure swimming through his wings.

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