1964-10-21 - Come to Jay-sus Talk
Summary: Jay has a come to Jesus talk with Kale and they come to grips with PTSD and recent events. But, hey, no one got punched!
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
jay kellan kaleb 

The door cracked and a Miller voice called out, "Hey. I'm home." It didn't diminish over distance and hit like a bell. That was…Echo. Kaleb was home. He was dressed in clothes that weren't his looking like he went on a shopping binge in Attilan instead of Saks 5th Ave. "Jay? Vic?" he'd know if Kellan was here because he'd have picked him up on the twin-link.

Jay isn't in the livingroom, which naturally means that he's in Kaleb's room. The door open and allowing the sounds of Patsy Cline's lamentations drifting out. Kel's home? Cool. Though it's not like him to announce that he's home. And Jay's ear pops a little bit with the clarity of that tone.


Jay scrambles up from the floor in a hurry and rushes toward the living room. "Kale?" The moment he catches a look at the guy, he flourishes into a wide smile, relief making his shoulders drop a little, though his wings remain fluffed up and wide spread behind him. "Steal my sleep, /Kaleb/." Sorry, buddy, you're getting an incoming hug.

Kaleb warmed a wry grin and opened one arm to receive that. RARE OCCASION inbound. He went to pick Jay off hte ground and failed. "Goddamn you are heavy." Jay was all wing and muscle where Kaleb wasn't. "I thought birds had hollow bones. There. That help? Am I unmissed yet?" Usually saying it's Kaleb does that and is enough. He was, well he was in a good mood. "Heh, yeah We're in town for a bit. Max had to come in so he brought me by so I could see you guys." He paused and his brow furrowed and simply stated, "I missed you guys honestly. Patsy's playin tonight huh? You do dinner yet? You okay? Did you call dibs on all my stuff?" So many quetions.

Jay chortles mildly and rolls his eyes, squeezing Kaleb back carefully and instead he lifts Echo up a few inches, then sets him back down. "Ah got hollow bones, but mah muscles are superdense, so Ah'm heavy. All muscle." Letting him go, still crowding his personal space, Jay lifts his loose tee shirt and pats the flat of his 'damn son' defined stomach, jokingly. "/No/, yer not /unmissed/ yet. What kinda question is that?" The million rapidfire questions makes Jay smile and tilt his head a bit, eyes shining. Then…fades, his brows arching upward and eyes going wide. "Wait. What do you mean 'fer a bit'?"

Kaleb snerked, "Yeaaaah yeah yeah. This is why I have you to carry shit." The amusement hung in an easy grin. He did miss being home more than he realized. "We're almost done withthe work we're doing. Ooh hey remember when that jerkwad kidnapped my arrogant ass and you were all 'crap the pushy one isn't here, how will we figure out where to go to dinner?'" He paused and relented that one still unable to joke on it though he was trying to move past summer horrors. "Remember when that guy wrecked up our family a while? Someone did it to his family and wrecked his house. He stuck his neck out for us and I don't wanna leave him hanging while he puts things right. I'm not movin or nothin. Just unfinished business still." He paused, "Kellan-" His eyes went slightly wider. Don't ask why he knows what he knows, he knows.

Kellan has no idea what Kaleb knows. He just comes wandering on in from outside the door to the apartment and pauses as he sees Kaleb and Jay. He's been used to coming home to fin himself alone, and sometimes Vic, as of late. There's a pause and then he says, "Hey," with a bit of a grin to both of them. He makes his way over and gives his brother a hug, and hell, one for Jay too if he accepts it, and then he turns around and slugs Kaleb in the arm. "You've been gone too long." An thus is the toll for doing so.

Kaleb hugged his twin. He could hear the familiar drag of Kellan's walk all the way down the hall. Okay he was complete. This was home, though the grin was short lived and there was a slight flinch at the slug in the arm. "Oooh yeah. I deserved that." That still stung. "I…deserved that. Youguys do dinner yet?" He was dressed in attire from Attilan, fit to him well, but a decidedly not Classic Kaleb, quite Asian influence.

Jay seems generally discontent while Kaleb explains where he's been and what's been going on, but that edge of discontent and aggitationeven distrustthat makes Jay's expression taut and wings fluffy rather than sleek is all tossed aside when Kellan walks through the door. A small smile, the red-head dips his chin and takes a half step backward to let Kellan and Kaleb have their moment. Surprised when he gets a hug as well, his face warms only slightly as he takes it and nods supportively to Kellan. Then shakes his head to Kaleb. "Naw. Ah've just been holed up in yer room t'day." Which Kaleb knows is indicative of having one of his lonely, longing days, but he seems okay. Super casual. "Could eat. Lemme turn Patsy off." He meanders back toward Kaleb's room.

Kaleb says, "I missed you guys. I needed to come back a bit. Did I beat the mail here cause that sherpa lady is sloooow climbin that mountain lemme tell ya. Word of advice, do not depending on an 86 year old woman for expediency."

Kellan grins a little lop-sidedly at Jay when the hug is accepted with a little bit of surprise. He dips his head to Jay and then he says to Kellan, "Nah, nothing today. I was just out doing some class stuff and I had to pick up some supplies, then I came home." He looks to both of them and says, "Do we want to stay in or go out?" He assumes that they're all going together, though there's a little bit of hesitance since he knows Kaleb and Jay are buds and he doesn't want to intrude if they had plans.

The sound of Patsy Cline's melodic longing stops shortly after Jay vanishes into Kaleb's room and comes strolling back with his hands quietly tucked into his pockets. One of his cheeks hollowed while he chews on the inside of it, there's a slight shake of his head. "Mail? Nah, not yet. You wrote us?" Dear lord, is that a soft touch in Jay's voice?

Kaleb motioned to follow, or at least indicate he was going to his room. Aaaaah Stuff, sweet stuff! His better shoulder slouched into the doorframe and he looked to Kellan and back to Jay. "In. I've seen enough of other people's things for a lil bit. And yes I wrote Jay. I wrote every damn day near. You know I love my own penmanship almost as much as I love the sound of my own voice." At least he had humor. Echo squint. He had a very full two weeks but all he could bring himself to say is, "You… guys alright?" Any tales of danger, design, and darng weren't so important as that question.

Jay hovers in Kaleb's room when the twins follow. Green eyes flick down a moment as he rocks forward on the balls of his feet, then back on his heels in reaction to Kaleb's writing. "Well. Ah hope you kept a journal, too. When yer old and don't remember anythin' cause you've shook yer brains up too much, yer going to need 'em to remind you." His smile small and serene, his default. Looking back up, Jay's eyes flick back and forth between and he shrugs at Kaleb's question, voice pitching a little high and wings twitching. "Yeah." Liar. "We jus' miss you 'round here. Nobody's tried to throw anythin' out in a while."

Kaleb stays stone silent listening to Jay. Jay might be the strongest of them physically but he left his heart on his sleeve leaving him the most vulnerable at teh same time. Clear blue eyes looked back to Kellan wanting to be back on network but not asking. Finally he walked over and just gave Jay a hug. He reminded, "I told you, I'm comin back for you guys, Jay. Aliens and political urest don't changing that." He wasn't good at hugging but he did it when he needed to and when he meant it. "I wanna hear about school, and if you ever got to go fishin again." He snapped his fingers, "Oh Kellan, had an ephiphany about you while I was out. Had some ideas mabe about your skillset based off what mine's been doing lately." Both hands clapped around Jay's mealon, and he tapped his forehead to Jay's. Still here, buddy.

That's…awkward, but necessary and much appreciated. Jay's surprised flat out when Kaleb walks right up to him and hugs him. Of his own free will. Shocked, there's a couple of startled blinks, but he hugs Kaleb back qith a tight squeeze. "Ah know you said that." But people say a lot of things, don't they? Releasing his friend casually, hands back into his pockets, his whole face flushes red and eyes lower again, wings shivering. "Heh, no. No more fishin'. Literal or otherwise." His face blushes hotter when he recalls the double entendres he joked about during their last chat, scrubbing the back of his neck. He looks interested when Kale mentions powers been doing 'lately'. Lately? What's that mean?! But it's all waylayed by the extra head bump. Jay flicks a small smile. "Hey." Wordsmith.

Kellan folds his arms a little bit in front of him and just leans up against the wall in an odd reflection of his brother's own posture and just watches the two of them catch up and talk. He smiles a little bit but doesn't see any particular reason to interrupt. When Kaleb mentions that he had an epiphany about his powers, Kellan raises both brows and then says, "Sure, we can talk about that. Sounds good." But there's a pause when asked if anything had happened lately. Kellan shakes his head and says, "Mostly just clases, school stuff. Nothing since that whole thing with taking Live in." He smiles a little.

Kaleb seemed very zen all things considered. Okay nerves were assuages in his bird, and his brother was groovy. All was right in the world and he… didn't have to worry about being accidentally shot here. Small mercies. "Yeah I mean it was a long two weeks and…" The content buzz faded a little bit, "Yeah. Live." God he was disappointed with that situationa dn wanted to punch Rosemary. Man he never wanted to turn someone's head into an amplifier so badly before her. "Anyways yeah I got some drawing in and worked on my bio-chem homework while I was there to not fall too far behind. I'll tell you those guys will way overtalk genetics into the ground. Discussion in short: If we were inhuman anot not mutants, Kellan our powers would be dead identical. Since we're mirror identical twins," being Kale was a Lefty and Kellan was a Righty, "I started to look for environmental parallels to our skill sets. Turns out weeeeeee might be more similar than we thought? So I hada short list of things for you to check out." Looking to Jay he admitted, "Nothing so drastic as before but man, things are still settling from when Pendergast jacked me up." Yeah life wasn't perfect but he wasn't having a seizure so this was good.

It's no secret that Jay doesn't take actual school-classes anywhere—the institute or otherwise. So the talk about classes is just between the brothers while Jay listens in supportively and quiet. Brushing the subject of Live under the rug entirely, his wings twitch a little bit in a related hum of 'something', but he stays quiet. The drawn lines between inhumans and mutants though…that's interesting. "That's pretty neat. Are their powers more, uh, predictive? Lahke how in mah family, we all got really random stuff that don't really seem similar. Can they figger if one family member got something that another's gonna be sorta similar, or is it still all a surprise?" Jay quiets again while Kaleb discusses the power similarity with his brother and what may or may not work.

Kaleb thought about the question and was still trying to understand it. "Hmmm I think it's more… when they go through their change it' s because they decide in their society who gets to have kids or. something. It's some crazy genetic combination process. They have a small population so it's really strict about stuff. Everything is super ordered so it's not random, but like everyone in their society has the ability to change. They'd call us the lucky ones. Like a privilege. They celebrate their differences. But like their twins would be identical-identical to the power set. So like that's why I'm thinking if I can dampen sound waves? Maybe he can dampen brain waves. Like squash telepathic activity. He can call out using brainwaves like I use sound waves. If I can bury sound he might be able to… I dunno. Had a lot of time to think."

Kaleb explains a bit more of what he was learning about in their cultural difference and how they each treat difference, well, differently. Jay chews on the inside of his lip mildly, his eyes flickering toward the 'good' twin as they're left alone for a bit to chat. Feathers shiver with motion, whispering together in a rush. "Yeah, Ah bet you did. That's what happens when you leave yer life an' yer responsibilities. Like a shitty vacation." Skating a hand through his hair, ruffling the longer lengths side to side. "The change is voluntary fer them, an' they know what to expect. Ah don't know if Ah'd call us the lucky ones, considerin' we don't have any clue what's goin' on, an' none of their infrastructure."

Kaleb shook his head. "They science it somehow. THey dunno what they were gonna get and Max's brother?" He took a deep breath, "He's like me only like inverse. He can't talk without hurting others. I can barely hear without hurting myself." His jaw tightened at the emotional punch, but he wasn't going to hit back. He stood there and he took it. He sat down and folded his arms around one pulled up knee and fell quiet. He took a ddep breath adn offered gently, "Jay, some bad people are holding his brother hostage. I didn't leave my responsibilities. Someone took Sam, or Paige, or your ma? I've be halfway around the goddamned globe standing next to you bitching about the bugs toughin me. You know that right?"

Jay's listening, certainly. He's good at listening, even if he doesn't understand everything being said and will put it together when there are more pieces. But there is definitely a more pressing matter on Jay's mind aside from how Inhumans function. He doesn't give a damn right now about the fascinating scientific processes of a race of people eons away from him. His focus is more present. Kaleb takes a seat and Jay remains on his feet, consciously compressing his wings tight against his back as he fixes his attention on Kaleb. Answering back quietly, "I would never ask you to go by yourself into danger. Because we are a team. We're a family—that's what you said."

Kaleb looked up to Jay and squint at him and sat very still. He didn't entirely understand. Jay's family was tight and he only ever had Kellan really in a sea of lies and liars. This situation was an anomoly for him from front to back but he was trying. "Yeah, man. We are." He blinked and watched with those steely blue eyes. He was trying. "Talk to me, Jay. I'm not… good at this stuff. You wanna bust my balls, fine. You want to hit me? Aim for the left side. Just tell me what you need from me."

Kaleb goes home.

"Ah ain't gonna hit you, Kaleb," Jay responds quietly, his brows knit together softly, shaking his head somewhat when Kaleb says to just tell him what Jay needs. "Never mind. Spoon feeding you isn't going to make you understand, really /understand/. If you can't understand why you leaving us is different than the scenerio you said, Ah don't know what Ah can say."

Kaleb was watching his best friend carry on and justly so. He drew up the other knee and took a deep breath and looked at the floor. "Jay I called. It was all I had time to do. this wasn't fun okay? I didn't just fuck off all my classes and take off for a couple weeks on you and Kellan cause I wanted to. I mean I chose to, but he left his family to help Kellan find me. He broke a ton of foreign policy to help me keep my hearing and not lose my mind. I wasn't going to leave him hanging Jay. Of all the shitty things I actually do do we're gonna gig me on trying to do the right thing here?" His fingers flexed trying to find voice for his feelings. "It was scary as hell, Jay. I'm doin the best I can. i'm not good at this."

"That was /his/ choice, Kaleb. Ah can't yell at him fer anything he does, an' Ah got no idea how close he is with his family," Jay points out, casting away max's actions with a slow shake of his head. "Yer situations ain't the same. You sat there an' told me that /our/ team, that /our/ family here in this apartment meant so much t'you that you didn't want me /movin' out/ because of it. That you were afraid of me leavin' because somethin' might happen. How the hell do y'think we all feel when you leave us fer somethin' you /know/ is dangerous?"

Kaleb tilted his head and squint, "Yeah. Yeah I do, Jay. You think that was easy for me to watch him have to do this alone either? I'm on a fence here." His jaw set and his chest hurt. He took a deep breatha dn said "I'm sorry I scared you, okay? I'm sorry I was gone too long. I wrote you every damn day. I can't help I beat the mail back." His head rest against the edge of bed and sighed letting his eyes close. "I know you guys needed me, Jay. I needed you guys too."

"And that's the point, isn't it, Kale?" Jay frowns, pulling his arms in close against his torso, hands in his pockets and gaze drawn downward. "You needed us, too, and you left. Family means you don't fuck off by yerself when yer in trouble, Kaleb. A /team/ means you don't abandon eachother because you know yer stronger together than you are when yer alone. You made that choice, Kaleb."

Triton got to his feet and looked hurt, "Jay we had five minutes to leave. The world's not idea. If it was I wouldn't have had to leave my home at all. I didn't even have a change of clothes. You think if I had any time to do whi I would have taken more than my homework?" He looked up and his expression looked pained and he drew up his other kneeand rest his forehead on them buying himself a moment.

"I don't know," Jay answers honestly, quietly. "Of course Ah don't know. Ah couldn't know, now could Ah? So don't give me the sad puppy look when you know that the information Ah got about all this is nil." He doesn't sound angry. Kaleb has seen him angry, after all, and this isn't what it looks like. The young man shakes his head slowly, looking out into the living room from Kaleb's bedroom. "Ah know the world isn't ideal. Ah know emergencies happen. An' now yer gonna go back. So how're we all supposed to react to that? Any of it?"

Kaleb sat quietly and thought about that answer and extended a hand out to Jay. "I think… we try things. We get mad at the people who create these situations instead of the ones that deal with em, and bereally thankful we know the value of good family now before it's too late. You know I ain't ever mean to hurt you Jay. I needed to do this for me and it ain't over and I can use help, brother. The ride ain't over. So I think our reaction is thank god it weren't worse, let's put the Miles Davis on."

"Ah know you don't mean to hurt me, Kaleb, but you ain't hearin' me. You don't understand why Ah'm hurt in the first place." Jay frowns, brows knitting together as he looks up at his friend finally, perched on his bed with a hand extended. He doesn't take the hand as it's offered, but stares at it for a good, long time. His eyes still soft as they focus on Kaleb's fingers. "Do you know how much you mean to me, Kale?" Jay purses his lips together in a thin line, then straightens himself, lifting his eyes to find Kaleb's. "Do you know how important you are to me?"

Kaleb extened his hand with a flick again like grab my hand dumbass. His gaze flipped up to Jay and his eyelashes were clumped but his face was dry. "I really, really do Jay. Now help em get my ass up off hte floor please. I thought you were gonna have a flop down and we'd talk but this is hurtin my neck and it's ridiculous to have this conversation this way. Help me up off the floor, would ya?" Practical Echo was practical, but the tone suggested, he was grasping this.

Jay huffs out a breath and bows his head, letting his eyes slip shut for a moment while Kaleb waves his hand up at him again. Rather than help his friend up off the floor, wings fwip softly and Jay melts down to the floor, legs crossing in front of him and those extra appendages cocked out to either side. Looking back to Kaleb, there's a tired sort of look slid back to his friend, eyebrows lifting slowly. "Better?"

Kaleb gave him a faint smile and muttered, "Yeah man. better." He extended a leg and tapped Jay's knee with his foot. "Jay, you know you're the best friend I'll ever have you know that right?" Which must be true since he didn't subscribe to telling anyone what they wanted to hear, only what was on his mind.

The foot is eyeballed as the toes push against Jay's knee for a waggle, his lips stretches slightly over the tiny bit of contact. "Sure. But that's what Ah mean to you. Do you know what you mean to me?" The red head lifts his brows with an arch, still staring at Kaleb's toes. Jay reaches forward to grip one of the wiggling appendages between his fingers. "What do you think would happen if you just vanished and never came back?"

kaleb was watching his toe and the smile faded. "Know what I see in my mind? I see a man broken before he's 25 because his communty turned him out and was forced out on his own and repeatedly he keeps having faith in all teh wrong people, so he takes a chance on this asshole. Because this asshole doesn't give enough shits to lie, but he's scared because who is he…to that asshole…when he's stickin his beak out there one last time. I see that guy falsely wondering if anyone notices when he's not in the room… and the answer's yes. It's a lil Jack Kerouac, I know, but I didn't write all those letters for my health. And you won't like what I have to say in all of em, and at some point you're gonna say goddamn Kale did you write down your every waking thought? Yes. Most of them. I just went through hell and back and writing you fuckin helped because I've been trying to keep my shit together because Max has been more out of sorts over all this than I have. I know you want to punch me when I do stupid shit in the hopes that someone will bother trying to make me a better person. I dunno why you haven't given up most days… but you do. I don't know any one person ever hurt me Jay. I dunno why my head's broken. What I do know is that it's important to you to try to find all the pieces you can and put them back because you want to teach me somethin about not giving up on people and I guess… you're a good reason to not do that too. Am I coming close to the mark yet?"

Still holding onto that toe, how's that go? Catch a tiger by its toe? Catch a sound mote by its toe. If he hollers—well, you're in trouble.

Jay listens quietly while Kaleb uses his words. And on some level, Jay is so proud of him for using so many words all at once. A couple of times within that space, Jay's wings lift slowly, still compressed to his back but moving subtly none the less. Tiny flickers of response to those thoughts here and there, though by the end, the musician takes in a slow breath and counts the seconds as he lets it out. "A bit," Jay agrees quietly, the hanging 'but' on the end doesn't need to be said out loud. His voice stays low, talking more to Kaleb's foot than the rest of him. "You can see a lot of things, Kale. Ah know yer sharp, an' Ah know that you see a lot more than other people can sometimes, but you still got trouble puttin' together all the pieces that you see to make a picture." Gentle, Jay's tone remains so while he tries to help Kaleb put those pieces together.

"Yer right about a lot. Ah felt…alone, and unwanted. In a weird place, not allowed to go back home. It's not a new story. The folks Ah did find only made me feel more isolated an' convinced that it really was all mah fault. That Ah was bein' punished for somethin' Ah did. Josh, Max, Rose, even Kai an' Bert—just confirmed that it was /me/. That Jules' daddy was right, and somethin' was /wrong/ in me. Ah was broken."

Wings expand with a breath, reaching around to his shoulders in a moment of self-comfort. "You gave me my home back, Kaleb." Fingers slide away from that one toe and Jay slips his hand around the whole of Kaleb's foot. "Not jus' that, but you /fought me/ to make sure Ah did. What would Ah do if you left an' didn't come back? What would happen if somethin' happened to you and Ah wasn't there? Ah've been hurt beforeAh've been killedan' in those moments, full of fear an' isolation an' hopelessness, worryin' that you might be hurt like that an' Ah'd have no idea about it, possibly ever…" Jay shakes his head lowly, letting his hair help veil his face. "…my home is where you are, now."

Kaleb sat back and listened.



It was hard to hear.
This whole sentiment thing was new and Kale's personality was fortified with bunker grade concrete when he was not even a teen. His brow furrowed and his jaw set. That wasn't irritation or anger. It was feeling. Only his face didn't have a mode of expression for most of them and his brain processed most feelings and put them into the nebulous pile of un-deliverable things like letters to god or Santa.

He felt.
And that made him afraid,
because not that meant things were close enough to hurt him again.
It was fitting though
because that was
where Jay lived.

"Damn right it is."
He took a deep breath and swallowed hard. He wasn't gonna get weepy. nope. nooooooope. He looked over and said with a deadpan smug, "So…you admit I was right." His lips curled into an impish grin. "I'm glad you chose to stay."

Jay keeps his head bowed, clutching Kaleb's bare foot like an anchor, and though he breathes out a small chuckle, there's a sniff that comes with it as the angel-impostor nods in agreement. "Yeah. Yeah, you were right." He sniffs again but wills tears to either not dare to fall, or to somehow reabsorb into his body before they fall off his cheeks. "But, that makes it more terrifyin' when this happens. Ah'm angry at you because Ah'm scared an' helpless. You can't jus' make me /feel/ these things an' trust you, an' then just walk away, Kale. More than the 'team' an' all, though that /is/ still in play, mister." Jay sniffs again and takes a deep breath, wrapping his wings close around his shoulders. Warm, downy blanket. "What if you die, Kaleb? What if Ah'm not thereif none of us are therean' you die? Worse, what if you /an'/ Max die, or he loses it an' never comes back to tell us, and we never find out what happened to you? What if you get hurt an' yer alone? What if you get captured again?"

Kaleb hung his head. It was a bit on the nose. In truth? Well… he was scared too. He was scared because he still had a lick of common sense to him. He leaned forward and said quietly, and thoughtfully, "Jay… if I die? I'm a be pissed, and then I'm gonna haunt you. And you're gonna drop my body in front of Josh and say "Fix it so Ah' kin yell attum." He had a plan for this. Just… in case. He tightened his jaw and he said quietly, "We almost lost Max." Which was the truth as he was the target. "Also Scarlett from upstairs who teaches at the school and or Crystal would get message here if the rest of us were st- you know hwat, that's not the point. Look, I'd really dig havin you there. If or when we head back I can talk and see what we can do about using some of the space in the guest wing, but it ain't mine to offer. I'm the guest. But, I can see what can be done."

He swallowed again and looked around his room. It'd been too long. "Don't like bein scared. Just makes me angry. I don't like scarin you, Jay. Like it even less actually. I jsut need a lil trust that I ain't gonna be careless. I met your brother. We are very different people." He considered the math. Yup, he was pretty certain he was on the opposite end of the spectrum from the thrill seeker. "I mean for one I don't htink I've ever yelled Hoody-Hoo before, so… there's that. If I go into a situation though, it's generally with an exit plan or a very very supurlative team that can get the job done. I ain't askin you to trust Max. I can't ask that. I can ask you to trust me though cause this shit is important to me. You might say I have a biased vested interest in continued breathing and functionality."

Jay is already shaking his head, squeezing Kaleb's foot when he starts to outline the chain of command and who'd be responsible for telling them that Kaleb wasn't coming home. That /isn't/ the point. You're damn right. And Jay would've reminded him of that fact if Kaleb hadn't pointed it out. The offer of seeing what he can do about not going back alone makes Jay's stomach tighten. Forest-deep eyes flicking up between the bits of red hair to shoot a look at Kaleb. "You know that if you try to go back, alone, you are gonna be fightin' Kel, me, or both of us. The first time you got five minutes. You ain't got no five minutes now. An' for all of your well plannin' into a situation, Ah'm not thrilled to remind you that we've already had to drop your body in front of Josh twice before, so maybe Ah'm not so trustin' of your record." Jay exhales a breath, dropping his head and giving it a shake. Whatever bristling in his feathers he had comes right back out again as he holds on to the limb in his possession. "It isn't you that Ah don't trust, Kaleb. Ah trust you with my life. It's everyone yer goin' against that Ah don't trust, and Ah don't think Ah'm far off base to say that."

Echo chuckled bitterly, "Yeaaah it's a shit record. Ya know what sucks? None of em were my fuckin fault. That's what pises me off. I ate soup, I tried to sit in the same room when we interrogate Wire and he made Kwabena go nova, and I got coffee. Like I was sitting still miding my own business and not even being in a combat fucking situation. Shit, maybe I should go live in the Congo; it almost seems safer." He rolled his eyes. Echo reached out a hand and gave Jay's knee a squeeze. "I'm not dyin. I got shit to do. WE have shit to do. And… thank you." Awww he learned a new word. Kaleb nodded, "I mean that. Thank you. And I'm sorry I put you through that. Wether it was what I intended or wanted it …happened and I'm sorry man. we gonna be alright?"

Jay inhales deeply and lifts himself upright once again to look at Kaleb straight. Deep, soulful eyes retaining a little bit of that glossiness, though most of it had faded at this point, and his features bereft of his trademark serene smile. "Kale," his name spoken like a call to drop the bullshit while Kaleb started to slide into his irreverent chatter. Come on, man. Jay tilts his head to one side. "We're always gonna be all right, Kale. You just gotta understand what this stuff means." Pausing. "Coffee? What do you mean?"

Kaleb says, "sighed and shook his headand said plainly, "It means I can't do the simplest most mundane goddamned thing without a fuckin crisis breaking out. But… we'll work on it. I like to thinkI get through this shit because good planning and having very good taste in company, but… I want us to be okay. I mean I wanna be okay too but I worry about you. Bout us. I ain't ready to lose a brother. related or hypothetical, Jay.""

Jay exhales a reluctant breath when Kaleb seems to hedge around something, his brows dipping together while he eyes Kaleb's left shoulder, where he told him to hit earlier. Pressure moves from one side to the other of his mouth, frowning gently at Kaleb with a cast off shrug, eyes tracing the floor. "Ah've tried to explain what Ah think about all this. Ah just don't think you get it." Finally releasing Kaleb's foot, hands pairing back into his lap. "Ah don't know how you can say everythin' you said when we talked about me movin' in, an' honestly believe it, an' see no problem in runnin' off. But Ah ain't your momma."

Kaleb looked pained. He wasn't going to tell Jay he was wrong, but he wasn't going concede that he was right either. His jaw tightened and he just rubbed his eyes tiredly to keep them dry. He looked up, and said quietly, "Ask, and listen then Jay. But don't be like them. There are enough people in my life that do that. You're hurt? fine. You're scared? Well I'm fuckin scared too. I neve ronce gave you reason to think that I've thrown you away like all those miserable shits before us - charming as they may be. Don't brand me by them. I ahve to be on 100% of the time even here? Yeah maybe I fucked up. Maybeb the whole situation was fucked up, Jay. I was in an impossible situation I had 2 mintues to resolve. I wasn't even home yet. When someone cares about how I fucking felt about any of this lemme know, otherwise I'll shut the fuck up and just go back to being nefariously selfish. I care th world about you, Jay, but I can't win with you because I dunno how to do this. I'm learning and I fucking need room to fuck up."

Straightening his spine slowly, defensiveness soaks into Jay's bones while the conversation shifts. "Hey now, why're you turnin' this around on me? What did Ah do, Kaleb? Because last time Ah checked, Ah've just been here, waitin' fer you with the rest of the team." His brows dip down, peering sidelong at his friend. "Of course Ah care about what happened, or how you felt about it all, but Ah don't think that you get to be angry at me fer feelin' abandoned and worried about you when you vanish. Ah am /relieved/ that yer home. Where you should be. With yer brother, an' yer mote, an' yer /stuff/." Jay gestures with a flick of his hand out the door and around Kaleb's room. "And that's it! That's it raght there. Just say so, Kaleb! Jus' /say/ you fucked up. It's okay to be wrong, man! It's even okay t'do something raght in a wrong way. We ain't gonna love you any less fer bein' human, fer cryin' out loud."

Kaleb looked pained and just… angry. He was angry and his face was wet. Too tired. Too much anger, too much fear and nothing to run at and hurt left him sitting still and raw. He looked to Jay and tried to convey what happened rolling back now that he finally broke through and they got on the same page. "He's… my stuff… and someone hurt my stuff, Jay. Took his family… his home…everything. I don't… I don't think I want tobe the guy who can just stand by and watch that happen. Had I not been there? He'd be gone. Caring… hurts, Jay. I dunno how to do all this." He wore a scowl but there was a vibration that faintly resonated in the foot Jay was holding. He was scaking. "How do you DO…this?"

Jay had released Kaleb once the conversation started to turn, severing that point of contact. But he couldn't very well ignore the fact that Kaleb's cheeks were wet, now could he? Caring was sort of his bailiwick. He couldn't turn it off, as much as he wanted to at times. No matter how he felt about the rest of it, Jay's head bowed, lifting a heavy sigh from the center of his chest, letting it ripple through his feathers.

It was a good question. How does he do it?

Jay's eyes locked on his own knees while he sits cross-legged on Kaleb's floor. "Ah know it hurts. It can be a pain just as real as any physical attack on ya." Frowning, Jay reaches over and carefully wraps his hand around Kaleb's foot again, noticing the tremor, he looks up, worriedly. "Yer shakin'. Okay, jus'…trust me an' c'mere." Jay waves Kaleb closer on the floor, hurrying him along to scoot nearer in front of him.

Kaleb sould argue, but Jay knew about these things better than he did, and no matter how hard he tried to do right he still hurt someone he cared about. Caring was hard and it hurt and he really, truly, didn't understand it, how it worked, or what to do. He grew up in the world of 'think of yourself first and everyone will get over it'. This evidence sidn't stack up to what he'd been taught and everything jsut felt raw and he could feel the fiber of the caraful balance of things in his world shaking at the base again, and him with it. He moved forward, his face still stuck in that infuriating 'neutral' mode of his when it didn't know what else to do. He took a deep breatha nd dropped the guard. "Jay, You… you know I can't ask you to trust me. I can't. I want ya to. I'm… gonna fuck this up and I didn't mean- I don't like it when this happens to you. I punch people for less. I'm not… good at this. I wanna be, but I'm not. Everything's jsut so… huge right now."

Jay shoves down his concerns and feelings when he watches Kaleb be confused and hurt and kinda crumbling. Sucking in a breath, feathers shiver and flex, shaking himself loose a bit and as Kaleb scoots over on the floor in front of him, the red-head flops his legs out of the way, stretched to either side of the sound mutant and forcibly grabs Kaleb around his shoulders, manhandling him around to hold him against Jay's chest, hard and sudden enough that he honestly expects Kaleb to collapse against him. "C'mere, dummy," Jay responds lowly, holding on with an arm around Kale's shoulders, the other pale limb touching the side of his head. "Keep talkin'…and breathe in, real deep. Don't think. Jus' talk."

Kaleb actually does thud his forehead into Jay's collarbone when he's pulled into the hug. "…ow~!*" He did as he was told. When they were trying to figure out self care? Well Kaleb could explain that. He was an ace with self sufficiency. This? This was Jay's wheelhouse. His lungs filled with air slowly, and exited with words. "Jay this is the first time I ever had a place that I felt like I belonged, you knwo that right? This… apartment. It's like a fuckin eggshell. I'm here, things are where I put them- and I don't expect anyone to sit on their laurels and wait around for me. People have lives. When I'm here though? I feel better. Like I'm figuring out who I am. And MAx? Beat his way into my life. Until you guys I ain't had anyone fight so… hard… just to care about me for different reasons and I don't… I don't want to lose that." Echo sighed and slumped against the bird. Wise bird was patient and more forgiving than most anyone else generally was even if he punched him from time to time. "I heard they were taking his… THIS from him and I felt my heart tighten in my fucking chest Jay." He sighed, "I have to go see Josh or someone to find out why it's doing that. I'm too young for for heart failure."

Durable even when it's a headbutt to his collar, Jay very simply wraps his arms tight around his friend, shaking his wings out and adding the weight of blanketting feathers around Kaleb's shoulders in a protective cucoon. Listening quietly, fingers swishing back and forth against Kaleb's shoulder in a comforting motion, as a caregiver in general, he knows a few tricks, though he wouldn't do this for just anyone. Kaleb is an exception. Patiently, he holds on to Kaleb while he unburdens. No judgment. Except when he mentions Josh, then there's a spike driven through him momentarily, and Jay makes the effort to physically relax himself. "We can find someone t'check you out to make you feel better, but Ah think that's just emotion, Kale," responding patiently. "Feels like yer heart is pushin' up against your ribs, an' yer blood turns into thick battery acid, swelling up in yer veins until it's poundin' through yer whole body?"

Kaleb had way too many feelings and nno real way to get them out or know what to even do with them. In the end he let Jay and Kellan figure them out for him. Best valet friend ever. He groaned at the description, "Gaaaaah stop describing it you're making it worse." He slumped into the hug and sat very quiet for a while and added, "Like my throat felt molten like it was gonna close up forever and my chest might explode." His fingers tighened into a ball and he jsut stayed there like a kid in a fort. Wing fort. "Jay, someone tried to kill em while I was there."

Blanket forts can suck it, wing forts are where it's at.

Jay nods a few times, squeezing Kaleb apologetically, but at least he can convince him that maybe he knows what he's talking about. "Yeah. That's emotion, Kale. We do it to ourselves. It's really, really hard." A pale smile touches the winged man's mouth, maudlin in nature while he smooths his fingers down Kaleb's arm. "It's hard. Ah understand how it can get. You've seen me when it starts t'get bad." Laying on Kaleb's floor, drunk and broken, listening to the same song over and over again while he drinks. Yeah, Kaleb's seen Jay in some pretty damn unflattering positions.

Arms tighten slowly with a squeeze, tipping his head to rest his cheek against the side of Kaleb's head. "That's terrifyin'," empathetic, he's faced something similar once. "He okay?"

Kaleb was still shaking and wasn't even conscious of it anymore. "Nah man. He's not. They missed him cause they fucking hit me. I'm… fine. I'm not okay but I mean I'm- I'm fine… Goddamn I can still see it, Jay" he was hale and hearty like nothing ever happened. He's in terrificly top shape in comparison to when he was brought back from Pendergast's or had a medical lab dropped on him. His fingers held onto Jay's sleeve waiting for the rage, or worse, teh silence. "Jay, I'm sorry… I didn't even do snything."

Fingers still on Kaleb, no longer swishing in those rhythmic, reassuring strokes. Frozen, Jay's eyes close, and he needs about fifteen seconds of silent holding back before he can resume the sensation of his soft hand stroking Kaleb's arm. Stilted, Jay nods slowly, not able to trust his voice, the angel impostor remains quiet and solid for Kaleb to lean on.

Kaleb just stayed perfectly still and said nothing. The good part about Kaleb is he cna keep his shit together in a crisis. The bad part about Kaleb is he keeps his shit together for too long and lets it feter into something else. This? This was fear with nothing left to fight.

Holding on for those quiet moments, Jay breathes smoothly, perfectly, counting between those breaths so they're spaced out similarly. He can feel the tension in his friend slowly rise back up to the surface. Quietly, Jay advises, "Take in another deep breath…hold it fer a second…then let it go. Jus' leggo, Kale." Trying to draw Kaleb back into a place where he feels safe. The sudden ceasing of his shaking, concerning.

Kaleb didn't want to breathe. That took away from holding the world in place. In fact he shook his head no. nuuuuu. Later maybe. There was a strained sound from teh lightbulb in his lamp but it didn't pop. Words were quiet, but they weren't coming from him. "Why do people do this? Fucking… cowards."

"They are," Jay murmurs in agreement. "Angry people, scared people, do stupid things." Frowning when Kaleb refuses to take a breath. Jay squeezes his arms around Echo tightly, squishing the angry, stubborn ball against his chest for an uncomfortable moment, then relaxes his arms again. "/Breathe/ Kaleb. Yer holdin' on t'it. Ah've got you right now. Trust me."

Kaleb turned and let out a tired breath. and just fell quiet. He was, well he looked angry. It was what he knew how to be. "I'm really… tired of this shit Jay.I don't like being used… to hurt my people. I don't like… being fucking helpless. I'm… pissed that I keep getting used to make you guys feel that way. I need… to be able to do anything, Jay. I can't protect you, or Kellan, or VIc, or fucking Max?! I can't even protect myself. I finally found something that makes ME happy and this fucking world keeps screwing with it." His eyes squint closed. "I hit… the ground, Jay and all I could see was this… terrified look. It broke him and he's still… not alright and someone used me to it. "

Encouraging Kaleb to get it all out, Jay nods a couple of times when he starts talking again. Breathing again. It might be an ugly knot of anger, but it's better than holding it all in and waiting for it to fester. "We're all jus' people when you get down to it, no matter what 'flavor' we are. None of us are perfect an' none of us can control everythin'. Change is the only thing that stays constant in this world, y'know? We gotta, heh, evolve with it, or get left behind. An' that's hard." Jay murmurs evenly while he tries to get over his own reaction to that news, though these moments are for Kaleb, not for him. "Someone thought somethin' was so bad that they lashed out an' you got caught in the way. That ain't fair. Ah'm sorry, Kale." His voice stays even and gentle, holding on to his roommate protectively. "You tried to do somethin' right, by puttin' yerself in a dangerous situation that you couldn't control, where things like this happen. Fightin' like that…people get caught in the middle. It ain't yer fault."

Kaleb sighed and said "I got up to go get coffee and that person thought I was Max because they were too far away and I had to borrow his coat because it was cold!" There's the coffee. He took a deep breath and shook his head, "We keep getting punished for doing the right hing or minding our own business or… being." His soul was fucking tired. "I need a drink, and food. And…and I dunno."

Jay nods very slowly while Kaleb explains with his frustration in tact. "Sometimes yer damned if you do and yer damned if you don't." He would know. "This was a freak thing. It's just…Kale, Ah love you, man, but you ain't got the best judgment in the world." Jay shakes his head gently and sighs, trying to be gentle about his observations. "Ah know you wanna do right by everyone, but yer angry because you were there an' got caught in the middle, which was sorta…bound t'happen by bein' there. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Ah'm just glad that yer home in one piece." Chewing on the inside of his cheek, there's another nod. "Food's a good idea. Food an' some rest."

Kaleb took a deep breath and gave Jay's arm a squeeze. "I'm glad I'm home too. I thin… I need help sorting this one out. If you're game." He actually cracked a tired half smile, "Doin things on my own is apparently not..so great." He paused and squint at Jay, "I really really really want a waffle. Let's find someone to demand waffles from." Because that was how food was born.

Peering down at his closest friend, Jay's gaze flickered away and back again momentarily. He then nodded. Wings slowly retract from their resting spot draped over Kaleb's back, returning to settling against his own once again. "If we got an iron, Ah can make waffles, Kaleb. You don't gotta make demands. Ah'm just glad yer home." Slowly sliding his hands away from Kaleb's head and back, relaxing enough to let him withdraw when he's ready.

Kaleb got himself more together and looked to Jay. He was quiet squinting at the red-winged birdman. "Jay… thanks. I know… I know." He reached our and squezed his arm. A hand pushed his hair back recomposing himself. "If you iron them they become pancakes, Jay. Even I know that. We can't let this get to us. At least not our food too."

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