1964-08-31 - Do NOT Provoke the Motemallow
Summary: Jay and Vic try to have a heart to hear and…somewhat…fail? Or succeed? It's hard to say, but it IS safe to say that Jay definitely accidentally provoked the motemallow.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
jay vic 

After bowling, while everyone is milling and heading out, Vic ends up by happenstance hanging out with Jay. "It's good to see you again, man," he says. He's not sure how to start in on what's been up with him, so he just comes out with it, "I died this week. Got hit by a truck. It's okay, though, it didn't stick. Just, crazy week, you know?"

Jay is still trying to settle back into the routine of life back in New York again, and meeting up with Doug again, as weird as that timing was. Quieter than he was before, a hint more reserved but still effortlessly kind and a good listener, Jay gives Vic an uptick from his persistently pleasant smile when the mote seems to fall back with him some. "Thanks. Good to…" Jay hesitates briefly and thinks about his phrasing. "Well, it's good t'see you, too, Vic." He can say that with honesty.

Comfortable just hanging around his fellow later-evening chum, the bluster of his week results in a startled little glance, then a wince. "Oh…/man/." Jay swallows, his adam's apple bobbing and wings trembling. "Yeah, no, Ah've done that one, b'fore. That one hurts. Well. They all hurt." He shrugs, then shakes his head and gives a worried look to Vic. "Y'allraght, Vic?"

Vic's brows lift. "You've died before to?" he whispers. He stops walking and pulls Jay into a hug, social conventions be damned. "It's not just me," he says. "Oh, thank goodness!" Lately Vic has been thinking about the idea of immortality, and how he might lose everyone he knows to time. Except one! It's a brief hug, followed by a clap on the shoulder. "I'm all right," he says. "It was bad enough I never want to repeat it, but considering I was road pizza, I look good." He adds, "Don't talk about it that way to Kellan. It kind of freaked him out."

One of Jay's cheeks hollow, chewing on the inside of it when he reveals that little secret he doesn't tell /everyone/ about. It tends toas Vic notesfreak people out. Still, he didn't really anticipate being dragged into a bear hug by the fellah! With a stumble, Jay perseveres and hugs Vic back when he realizes what's going on, and damn if Jay doesn't know how to hug! Like the rest of him, it's a genuine and giving sort of thing he gives over, squeezing Vic tightly until he deems it time to let go. Or maybe he's just physically a little starved. Hard to really speculate. "Yer not alone, Vic. Not at all." In fact, Jay could introduce him to a few folks, heh.

Stepping back with that clap, Jay smiles a bit and slips his hands into his pockets, getting back in line, shoulder to shoulder with Vic, his hair a little skewed, but hey, it's long and that's the thing lately. "Don't worry, Ah understand how people tend to react t'that sort of thing. Ah imagine it's ten times worse when it's someone who actually loves ya." Jay murmurs in understanding. "Ah knew you healed fast, but that's damn fast. What the heck were you doin' out in the road?" Says the guy who met the Millers because he was /in the middle of a road/ yelling at someone to stop shooting at someone and almost got shot and/or shmucked by a car.

And Jay can hug?! Hugs forever! This makes eternity not seem so bad. He can't tell Jay his parents are also immortal, which is great, but he can't just hang out with his folks forever. He resumes walking, laying off the bear hugs for now, though he might whip one out at any moment.

"I had no idea I was that prone to not dying," Vic admits. "Dad has theories, but whatever the case…" He shrugs and gives a hapless smile. Here he is. "I was crossing the street and this guy came out of nowhere. I guess he was drunk or something."


Jay can hug, it's true. He has a resume and references and everything that could very well vouch for him, though he doesn't whip out the big guns like he does for some people. Waiting until Vic pulls away, Jay straightens and relaxes, letting them carry on their walk. "So it was just entirely random happenstance, huh? Man. Talk about Serendipity, an' not in the good way. Yeesh." He frowns and scrubs the back of his head. "Though, Ah mean, Ah'm sure that your dad can figure it out if there's anything /to/ figure out. He made y'after all."

"Yeah, seems I've got luck, period. Still, more good than bad," Vic says. "He was a real trooper, let me tell you. He watched it happen, and he got me home, and I don't think he knew I would come back. He was just, you know, being a dad. Taking care of his son, no matter what." He shakes his head. "That was the worst part, Jay. Not the dying, not even the pain of coming back and healing all that damage. It was what I put him through. In the future it'll be better, if it ever happens again, God forbid, because he'll know I'm coming back, right?"

Jay's feathers stand on end along with the small hairs on the back of his neck. Quiet as they walk, his hands slid into his pockets, listening more than he's speaking while Vic explains his week. His latest fun discovery about himself, and the outcome thereof. Jay tries to be a neutral party, but it's something he can easily relate to, so his expression is not as neutral as he wishes it would be.

"Better doesn't really mean 'good'," Jay notes with a hint of thoughtful hesitation and a cringe. "Just because it happened once don't mean it'll happen again. Or who knows if it comes at a cost. An' there's still the trauma of seein' it." Jay drops his head and looks at his feet as they shuffle along. "Seein' someone like that—someone you love? It stick with ya."

"I hope we never have to find out," Vic says. "I'm looking both ways twice from now on, I'll tell you that much. I mean it's nice knowing on some existential level that I bounce back, you know? But…" He walks along, hands shoved in his pockets, and he nods. "It's like you say, that stuff sticks with you. I don't think Dad will ever get over seeing that, and I wish I could just make it better. I know it's silly worrying about someone as tough as my dad, but I can't help it. He's my dad."

"Yeah, let's focus on makin' sure we don't gotta find out again," Jay agrees simply, flicking a small smile toward Vic that does not reach those bright green eyes. Looking forward once more as they stroll. "Yeah. I get it. Ah mean, Ah don't know if you got the same perspective on family an' how that all goes, but the first time you see yer parents as people instead-a yer parents, and in pain, it's…hard. Like th' last bit of childhood kinda dyin' when y'realize they aren't untouchable."

Vic nods slowly, and he says, "And I'm only just coming up on three months old. Not much of a childhood to give up on just yet. But it just makes me want to be better, you know? To cancel out causing that much heartache. I guess that's what kds are supposed to do to their parents, but that doesn't mean it feels very good. It's one thing to know in theory something happening to me could affect them like that. Then you see it happen."

Jay nods slowly. He has to remind himself that Vic doesn't have that background, that attachment, that steeped in humanity and wear in his own skin like the rest of them do. Still, he's intuitive, and Jay nods slowly his understanding. "Cancelin' out the heartache is kinda the most any of us can hope for on a grand scale, Ah think. Parents. People." He rolls a shoulder mildly. "S'all the same comes down to it. But it's hard when it's someone you've relied on." He smiles faintly and looks over to Vic. "At least, normally, you gotta rely on um. You kinda skipped over most of that."

"Yeah, that's true," Vic says with a wry smile. "I skipped out on a lot. Sometimes I kind of miss it, but looking back at OldVic's life, and seeing how it can all go? I think skimming off him will do just fine. Besides, if I have to choose between learning to ride a bike and being able to sleep with Kellan, you know what my choice is going to be. Besides, because of OldVic, I already know how to ride a bike."

Jay's smile remains on his face until Vic mentions sleeping with Kellan. His expression cools with impressive swiftness, his feathers twitch and wings rise and fall like a pair of lungs as he looks forward again. "Ah can't much speak t'any of that, Vic."

Vic frowns, and he drops his gaze. "I'm sorry," he says tentatively. "I forget it bugs you, but we'll be moving into the new place soon and you'll never hear us again. I just meant, you know, coming home to him in general." He chews his lip. Jay is upset, and it's because of something he said. Those puppy eyes couldn't look any sadder. "I only meant if I had to choose between a childhood and having him in my life."

Jay tries another smile tossed sidelong to Vic, but he can't really look at the man squarely at the moment. Forgiveness comes easy, though it all still prickles around the periphery of Jay's person, like an aura, or like the current of a stream being diverted and disrupted off a stone. "It's okay, Vic." And though something still stings, the red head nods a few times and scoops a hand through his hair. "Ah know what you meant. Ah'm not so sold on th' movin' thing anyway, between you an' me. Ah'm thinkin' maybe Ah'll go back t'hoppin' around a little bit before it gets too cold. Ah'm happy fer ya. You got a good family t'look after ya an' someone who cares about you. It's good, Ah'm glad yer experience is comin' up roses, an' that you're still here with us."

"Don't you want to be with us?" Vic asks. "Gosh, we feel like you're part of the family." His unease doesn't ease. Jay has gone all distant, now he's talking about leaving and not wanting to live with them. "You should tell the twins before we make any more plans. They'll be…" Heartbroken, devastated? Vic's trying not to breathe too quickly. "They'll want to know. Gosh, I'm sorry, Jay." He stops walking, and he asks, "Should I just, um, leave you be?"

Jay's steps begin to slow as they walk, outwardly pretty calm as his feet click-clack along in the same earthy flip-flops as he always wears. The pace of that metronome slows and his tattle tale wings remain large and apparent, straining against the stitching of his shirt. Still, he tries to smile in Vic's direction, reassuring. "Don't feel bad, Vic, you didn't do nothin', an' you don't gotta go anywhere if you don't wanna. Ah'm genuinely jus' happy that you're all right. That sorta thing…" Jay takes another breath and shakes his head slowly, drifting off and coming back around to the subject.

"Kaleb wouldn't wanna hear it, y'know how afraid he is that somethin'll happen to me like what happened t'Warren." The young man makes a loose 'gesture' with his elbow as it hangs out at his side. "Ah'm fine. It's fine. It ain't that Ah don't wanna be around, it just ain't so easy as all that. It's complicated."

Vic regards Jay uncertainly. "It's just we really care about you. We consider you part of us." And now, the mote isn't sure what to think or trust. In some ways, he really is only (and not even quite) three months old. He grudgingly falls into step again, though he doesn't look at Jay. "I just don't know how we went from having a great talk to you don't want to stay with us and you're unhappy."

Jay's steps slow to a crawl while they walk, his chest a little tight, he tries to clear his throat and turn another placating smile toward Vic. "Ah'm sorry, that wasn't my intention, Vic. Ah just wanted you do know how—how relieved Ah am that yer okay. That yer doin' okay. Heh, heh, like Kale said, don't provoke the motemallow." Motemallow? What's he talking about now?

Jay swallows again and shakes his head, his brows knitting together slowly as he slows down to a stop and sort of just off the beaten path. Something felt weird. "Sorry, Ah just gotta take a second here. Ah suppose Ah didn't think you'd be so attached. It ain't like Ah'd be dyin' or somethin'." Jay tries to reassure Vic, shifting his weight on his feet back and forth a little bit. His breathing now is just a little quicker as well, though he focuses on trying to keep Vic reassured and calm. "Ya'll don't need me taggin' along all the time any old way."

Vic's brows lift. Motemallow? What's this, now? That's something he'll have to ask about when he's not hangdog and lips pursed with displeasure. Then he just kind of stares at Jay. "Tagging along? Jay Guthrie, are you blind? We love you. You're not just someone who's there. You're family. We care about you, we want you around. It's not like we sit around going oh geez, I guess we'd better make room for Jay if we have to. It's something we look forward to. I missed you so much while you were gone. We all did. It was like a piece of our home was gone."

The look that Vic gets in return from Jay may as very well confirm that yes, he's blind. Or at least, he doesn't expect what he's hearing. Doesn't expect it, and thinks that Vic is just being nice to him with a slow shake of his head while a fair hand reaches up to lightly touch at his chest, fingering something underneath the cloth. Almost like his chest hurt. "Ah can see why Kale'd care one way or the other—he feels responsible fer pretty much everythin' that might happen t'another mutant." And he doesn't want to say it, but that pretty much leaves Vic and Kellan he didn't figure cared one way or the other. To that degree at least. The thought that Vic /missed/ him makes Jay's brows furrow together, then arch up. Taken completely aback. The only thing he can intellectually say is, "Huh?"

Vic's breath comes harder, poor emotional, exasperated mote. "I said it was like a piece of our home was gone," he says. "The house wasn't the same, and we couldn't wait til you got back. Now you're back and you're talking about going somewhere else so you're not underfoot? Well, you don't get to use that excuse, because you're not. If you go, you'll be leaving broken hearts behind. Just because we don't always come across like Kaleb does doesn't mean we don't care." Because, in this conversation, Kaleb is the touchy-feely one.

Let's be honest and call a spade a spade; Jay pegged Kaleb for the sensitive one from day one. In spite of his spiky outer shell. You don't get that pissed by not giving a damn.

Jay takes a moment, barely listening to Vic's explanation as he seems to notice that the other man is breathing a little on the hard side. Pushing his shoulders back, there's a tilt of his head, eyeing Vic closely. "Hey, hey, take a breath and cool off, man. You doin' okay, there? Y'look like y'just finished a sprint." Waylaying the conversation for a moment to make sure that Vic's okay.

Vic takes a few breaths, and he does calm down, so a good call, there. "It just upsets me, the idea of you thinking you mean so little to us. Like we failed you somehow, or like you don't pay attention, or like something isn't right. Just. Don't go on thinking we don't want you there or that you don't belong there." There. He's said his piece. And he didn't shake Jay by the shoulders or belt out 'are you crazy!?' even once.


Well, Kaleb's not going to be happy that he provoked the motemallow, and Kellan's sure as sin not going to be pleased, so between the barage of 'how very dare you think we don't care' and upsetting Vic, it's an awkward place for Jay to be stuck in. "Ah'm sorry yer upset, that wasn't my intention. Ah guess…why wouldn't Ah think that?" He shrugs mildly, casting an awkward, uncertain look sidelong, then back to Vic.

They would have to find out. For as riled up as Vic is, he calms down easily enough. Maybe it's seeing Jay looking uncertain. He stands down, rakes his fingers through his hair, and says, "We just care about you, okay? I don't know how to show you so you'll see it, but tell me, and I will. I didn't mean to feel like I was neglecting you or anything."

Giving his lower lip a habitual lick as he glances down at his feet, checking out his toes as they wiggle a little bit in his sandals, honestly looking for anywhere to set his eyes for a bit that doesn't feel as awkward as looking at Vic right now. "You-you don't gotta do anythin' Vic," the winged man begins softly, uncertainly, shaking his head a few times. That overarching feeling of uncertainty and probably a good part of being alien to this idea of people expressly wanting him around. It may not be the intent, but it's the feeling he's had since he got here, and the body language that he seems to be giving off as he peers back toward Vic, uncertainly. "Sorry. Ah shouldn't have said anythin'."

"I'm glad you did," Vic says. He regards Jay for awhile, then drops his gaze and shrugs a shoulder. "Look, sometimes I wake up into my life, and I think I don't deserve this. I don't get how someone like Kaleb or Kellan could be interested in all in some… some puff of light inside a dead man, stumbling through the world like a tourist. I think I'm not good enough, and someday it'll all come crumbling down.. I think I must be a nuisance to my parents. They didn't want me. I was an accident. Why would you care for me? Why would anyone?"

Jay shakes his head mildly with a dismissive sort of air about it, flat and less malicious than dismissiveness usually is. There's a kindness in it, instead. "That ain't how that works, Vic. Family's family. Nothin' in that family smacks of conventional, so you kinda jus' got it. An' Kellan's yer, y'know. He's yer guy. An' y'make Kellan happy so of course Kaleb's glad yer around." Jay shrugs and pulls his shoulders back, wings fidgetting underneath his shirt while the southern born man tries for another smile at Vic in reassurance, deep green eyes still fairly flat. "Don't worry about me. Ah should've have brought it up. We were talkin' about you. Ah jus' didn't want you to feel like ya couldn't do what you wanted in yer own place. It's all cool."

"Exactly," Vic says. "Family is family, even if there's nothing conventional about it." Take that, birb. Oh, yes. He gives Jay's shoulder a squeeze and says, "I know I'm loved, though, so I don't ask why. What you can't explain, you gotta believe, is all I'm saying." He sighs. "I know that's what you meant, but there's something wrong. I wish you'd confide in someone, if not me."

Jay shakes his head and doesn't try to move from the should squeeze. He's good with physical contact, really and doesn't seem to look twice at it. A corner of his mouth twitches. "Folks don't much like to hear what they don't like. Tend to react more like you just did than actually listenin'." The musician shrugs the thought off anyway and slides both of his hands properly into his pockets. "It's okay. Ah'm okay. Just glad that you're okay an' doin' all right with what happened. How's yer pop doin' after everything?" Jay, trying desperately, desperately to turn the topic back to Vic. It's a trick that usually works.

"I'm sorry," Vic said. "I did react. It's the fear of loss, and you're right, I should've listened." He smiles a little and says, "It's nice of you to say, but I think you've got more on your mind than how I'm doing." He holds up his hands and steps back. "You don't want to be bothered, so I'll stop bothering you." He doesn't want to talk about himself, but he also figures Jay won't talk to him, so…

That funny little half smile gathers itself up and grows marginally when Vic apologizes for reacting, this time it does touch Jay's eyes a little as the man shakes his head lowly and peers up to Vic again through bits of hair that falls 'aw shucks' into his eyes. "It's okay. Everyone does it just about. It's actually real human of ya." There you go, mote. Just like a real boy.

Another roll of his shoulder, "Eh, actually, you mightbe surprised how my mind can deal with more than one thing. Always easier t'worry about other folks than figure yer own out. Besides, there ain't no helpin' me, may as well use my time helpin' someone else. Yer no bother, either, but if you don't wanna talk, Ah get it. Sorry. Didn't mean t'cock it all up like that."

Vic studies Jay for a time, and oh, how angry and frustrated he look. He really is an open book. "Don't worry about me," he finally says. "If you really care about me, figure yourself out." He smiles a little, though it's not his usual cheery smile. Neither does he have a hard edge to glint off of, it's just frustrated. "I don't buy your 'there ain't no helping me' bullshit. If you want to hate me for saying so, fine, but I'd be a piss poor friend if I kept helping you hold the knife you're stabbing yourself with. And I don't want to have all this pent up inside while smiling and saying 'yeah I'm okay thanks for asking.' Of course I'm okay. I have a fantastic life."

Jay tries to smooth it over and seems to fail rather spectacularly, facing down a look of frustration now, something in his stomach tightens a bit while he seems to make things worse. His cheek hollows a little bit, chewing on the soft inside while he tries to navigate his way out of this one. "Vic, not everythin' can be fixed, okay? Not every solution is pancakes, though believe me when Ah say we all appreciate them." Crimson brows arch upward for a moment and Jay sighs with a deep huff to it, just not sure where to go with it at this point. Little lost birb glances to the side and shoves a hand through his hair, ruffling it. "Sometimes…sometimes fixing somethin' would mean doin' the impossible, and as many impossible things as yer family seems to specialize in, there just ain't any doin' it, an' if you wanna pick a bone about it an' be angry at me cause Ah don't wanna get into stuff in the middle of the street, then Ah'm sorry, Ah don't know what to tell you except that Ah'm glad /you/ are okay. Ah can't control it all, an worryin' about all the stuff that Ah can't controlnot that it ain't on mah mind all the time any waywill drive a man crackers."

"Please don't rub it in about how I'm just the pancake guy. I know I'm just the one scuttling around the kitchen while the real people are talking. Kaleb's trying to make it better, but…" But he's the pancake guy. "But I get it." His shoulders slump. God knows what it is he gets, but it shut him down. All this time, all it took was a reference to pancakes. "I guess when you are impossible, the impossible doesn't seem so out of reach, but I guess I should get realistic." He glances aside and shrugs his shoulder. "I guess I should get going."

"Ah ain't rubbin' nothin' in, Vic," Jay defends himself, and actually tries to defend Vic as well, or at least show him some solidarity as he lifts a hand up, palm out, in a halting motion. "You think Ah got heads or tails in anything that gets talked about, either? Ah'm just furniture in most places and to most people, at least you got the excuse of bein' young, but you still got more goin' on fer you in the grand scheme than Ah do. That wasn't me pokin' any kind of fun at you in /any/ way." Getting a bit more serious on the matter, and perhaps just a little too close to the bad bits that he tries to keep locked away from everyone, the young man takes a breath and shakes his head.

"One of the only friends Ah got outside of that apartment went through a struggle, an you know who Ah was?" Jay tilts his head forward and peers toward Vic. "Th' dog sitter, mah friend. Ah was the guy in the kitchen makin' pancakes, an' makin' sure he ate, tried t'drink somethin', fer weeks, while the real people went off an' did somethin' about it. Y'think Ah don't understand keenly how you feel tryin' to play catch up all the time round here? Ah might not come from another existence, but believe you me when Ah tell ya that it's a different world, an' Ah don't necessarily /like/ the one Ah'm in, now. As much as Ah try."

Jay shakes his head and glances in the direction Vic does, lowering his head and giving it a shake, his wings casting a large silhouette behind him, rather than letting himself get more worked up, Jay takes a forced breath and finishes lamely, trying to clear his head. "Ah'm sorry. Ah'm keepin' ya, Ah'm upsettin' ya, just…just know that Ah don't think no less of you than anyone else, Vic. If anythin' Ah'm envious of ya in a lot of ways. And Ah'm sorry Ah made you upset. That wasn't my intention. Ah keep draggin' you in, Ah apologize. Y'better catch up with the others. Ah'm just…Ah'm just gonna hang round here." because nothing more awkward than going to the same exact place as the person you just upset.

"I don't mean to complain," Vic says. "I do have a lot going on that's great. I just wish I could affect things." He smiles a little, weakly, then it fades. "All this stuff going on, and I'm powerless to act. And when I try, like tonight, I just makes things worse." He shakes his head. "I'm not catching up with the others. I need to go somewhere and think." He jerks his thumb the opposite direction. "I'm not good company right now. Just take care of yourself, okay? I meant what I said about us caring for you."

"Nobody's life is everythin' they want it to be, Vic," Jay murmurs as he rubs his fingers over his brow, then over his eyes, trying to grind away the many mistakes he's made over the last twenty minutes. A quick perk of a smile drifts away to one of wry understanding, a little on the manic side. "Boy, you are singin' mah song, Vic. This conversation is a perfect example of the fact that Ah don't seem to be able to do much of anything right lately. Th' trip home wasn't exactly—well, nevermind." The arm drops and swings, peering tiredly back to Vic. "Just be careful, okay? Ah'm really sorry. Ah never meant to make you feel like…Ah don't know, like Ah don't appreciate you. Ah guess Ah just didn't much think you or Kel much cared if Ah was there or not. An' that was my mistake. Ah'm sorry. Bottom of my heart."

"That's all I need to know," Vic says, and his smile returns, subdued but genuine. "That you know that. Thank you." He gives Jay's shoulder another squeeze. "I'll be careful. I'm not ready for a repeat performance. I just need to figure out where I want things to go with my life. I don't want to be pancake guy, and I'm still optimistic enough I think things can change." He gives Jay a pat, then steps back. "We're all right, Jay. Don't worry about anything. I'll see you later."

Jay is able to hold on to that funny little smile that doesn't quite meet his eyes, looking a little tired, but honest. As if he's anything otherwise. Nodding quietly to Vic as he says he's going to go figure things out. "Hey, good luck. If ya figure somethin' out, Ah'd love t'hear about it." He shrugs and puts the offer out there. "Yeah. See you later, Vic." Green eyes flicking down and hopping back up to meet his roommate, Jay holds his place, waiting while the two groups drift further apart from each other and he stays his ground, figuring out where the hell he's gonna go.

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