1964-12-01 - Who's Gonna Look Out For You?
Summary: Doug unloads what's on his mind to Jay.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
douglas jay 

Jay had a gig in a nightclub! Well. Sorta! It's basically a Mutant Town hole in the wall that serves drinks… but they needed someone to play guitar and they paid him ten bucks.

And there's a familiar face in the crowdDoug got off of work for the day and he's sitting in the audience in his business coif and his glasses and bow tie, drinking… cola. He's off of alcohol for a whilehe woke up in one strange hotel room too many with clothing that wasn't on the way it was when he started drinking, and a note from some guy named 'Clint' thanking him for a wonderful evening.

Pay for doing what he loves is something in general that Jay is always game for. All those lessons he gives away at the community center has the happy side effect of 'exposure' aside from helping other music lovers do what they want to, so it's no surprise that he wrastles up a couple gigs here and there.

What /is/ surprising is catching Doug at such a place. Jay's still living in that realm of existence where Doug is 'his brother's friend' and therefore he's too damn cool for Jay to actually know what he likes. If one can imagine it; Doug being too cool. He catches a first glance at the familiar face, waiting until his first break to approach the guy's table with a smooth smile written serenely across his face. "Fancy meetin' you here, Stranger."

Doug still has a tense look around the eyes, but he kicks out a chair for Jay. "Hey wings." He says, "Have a seat, stay awhile." He curls his fingers around his glass of coke, and then says, "Really nice set," He says. "You really really do a great job of conveying the message of the music. When you sing a sad song, there isn't a dry eye in the house." He looks down, at his drink, and his brow tenses. "And I've noticed you're mixing in a lot of blues guitar."

Whatever may or may not have happened over the past week or so, it at least seems like names were not mentioned as Jay cocks his head slightly at Doug, reading something…something odd off him. It's a 'listening' sort of look, but he isn't here to prod. Taking the chair and spinning it around, Jay kicks one leg up and straddles over it to lean the bredth of his chest against the back. Green eyes searching the omnilinguist over, the compliments are absorbed with a modesty that cannot by any means be feighned. That 'aw shucks' smile and dip of his head adds to the mild, "Thanks, Doug. That means a lot to me. If anyone's gonna notice those little nuances, Ah'd bargain on it bein' you." His body language smacks of modesty, but there's also a proud little flutter of his wings. "Blues is kind of the mood Ah've been in a lot lately. Blues folk. It really /breathes/ and leans with you, you know?"

Doug takes another sip of his coke, and nods. "It's really good at getting to this meloncholy place in the human mind and shedding a little light on it, helping you deal with it." He runs his finger over the rim of his glass. "Jay, have you talked to your brother?" he asks, after a short exhalation of breath. "I just…" he sighs. "I just—"

"Deal with it, or slog through it until you find the right combination of words an' notes until you make a hit record you can try to console yerself with," Jay seems to agree mildly, his serene smile looking a little brittle, but well-practiced. The mention of his brother has his brows twitching gently, a little confused. "Sam? Ah mean, sort of, yeah." Anxiety ticks up by half a notch, imperceptible by a normal person's attention, Jay leans forward on the back of the chair and tilts his head mildly. "Why? Is everything all right? Are /you/ all right?"

Doug looks down at his coke. He is silent for a long time, and he furrows his brow. He's unsure if he should talk — unsure if he shouldn't. Finally he says, with a resigned sigh, "I… screwed up, Jay. That's all. I screwed up and I just want to make sure he's all right."

Folding his arms over the chairback, the younger mutant's attention stills on Doug. "Well, if it's got somethin' to do with Sam, he's not the sort to hold a grudge, Doug. You gotta know that." Concern ringing loud and clear in his tone as green eyes flick back and forth between Doug and the glass of soda. "Sam seemed fine the last time Ah saw him. We had a good long talk about a lot of things, but he was good. Ah remember you told me that Ah needed to really talk to him, so we opened up a few beers and had at it. By the end, things seemed good." He hesitates for a moment, mouth opening up and closing a couple of times before the red-headed Guthrie dips his head to ask. "Can Ah ask what happened?"

Doug pinches the bridge of his nose. He holds it there. And then he says, his voice quiet, "Sam and I have been friends for a really long time, Jay." He drains his coke, and then sets it down, and says, "…I picked a hell of a time to decide I was done with drinking for awhile. Do you want a beer? I need some more cola." He looks around for the waitress.

Watching Doug react to his words and observations, tension squints around Jay's eyes slightly. The look of someone who is trying to grasp something, reaching out with both hands and still only just barely scraping the surface of the bulk of it with his fingertips. "S-sure?" He blinks, looking around a little bit, finding a waitress and making a gesture down at the table. He mouths the word 'coke' and 'beer' while miming holding a bottle by the neck. A thumbs up after the fact, Jay ducks his attention back to the guy he's sat with. "Ah know you two have been friends fer a long time. Ah remember the first time you came around the house and gathered up as many embarrassin' stories about me that you could. That just proves my point though, don't it? You've been friends a long time. It'll blow over, whatever happened."

Doug quirks his mouth, the universal expression of 'I'm not so sure'. "Jay…" Doug says, "…What exactly did Sam tell you?" He asks, before he rests his chin in his hand. He looks straight ahead.

That unsure expression is met with one of Jay's own, arching his brows softly with a very direct look at Doug. Met with one very similar, Jay sighs and seems to wilt momentarily with a bow of his head. Defeated. Okay, fine. "Well, he told me the whole reason why he got arrested an' spent all that time in jail." Feather ruffle and fwip gently, pressing his lips into a thin line of 'well, you asked'. "Then Ah had questions, an' we talked a little about what he was doin' and what was goin' on with me. He gave me some advice. Ah tried to give him some." Very, very general brushes of topic.

Doug looks up at Jay. And then back ahead. There's an awful, awful lot of dancing around this. It's like a big pool full of pirahnas. "Jay—" Doug says, "I'm bi. Sam and I had a moment." He gets his coke, and instead of drinking it, he takes some ice and rolls it around in his mouth. "…A couple of them. And then I said some things that upset him."

Then he begins to get up. "I should probably go."


Jay's whole body says in surround sound from the raise of his eyebrows to the slight stiffening of his shoulders and backset of his wings. It's on a delay that the man actually echos that sentiment with a soft, "Oh."

"Well. That. Explains a couple things." New information. Sam definitely didn't mention all of that in their talk. Jay's cheeks warm, ears beginning to turn red as some of that color begins to leech into the edges of his face. Jay presses to his feet slowly, reaching out with a hand toward Doug to still the fleeing man. "Doug, Doug, Doug, c'mon. You don't gotta run off just because of that. What're you runnin' for?"

Doug turns, and he colors across the bridge of his nose. "Because I hurt my friend, Jay. And that was the last thing I wanted to do." Jay has hold of his arm, and Jay is much, much stronger than Doug — but Doug looks like he might try bolting and just forcing his arm back into the socket—but he hasn't taken off yet. "And I just wanted to make sure that he was all right." He looks away. "Don't you have to get back on stage soon?"

Jay might be much, much stronger than the omnilinguist nerd, but the thing that keeps all o fhis weird, tiny mutations from becoming more threatening is that the musician doesn't have a cruel bone in his body. Bright eyes practically vibrate as he searches back and forth between each of Doug's blues for a moment. The inside of Jay's cheek hollows as he chews on the inside of it thoughtfully. "Yeah, Ah do, but some things are more important than gettin' up there for my third set of somethin' that Ah can play in my sleep. Sam might be okay, but who's makin' sure that /yer/ all right?"

Doug pauses, and then he says, "…I'll be okay, Jay. I'm tougher than I look." He holds up his hand, but he's not trying to bolt yet. "I just—It's uncommon that I find myself at a loss for words, that's all." He pinches the bridge of his nose again, and exhales, slowly.

He is… unsure of many things—that much you don't need to be an omnilinguist to figure out — like looking for the light switch in a dark room with an alligator in it.

Jay rolls his eyes in the face of Doug's bluster and claims. "Says the guy mounrin' over a /coca cola/. That's two of the saddest things Ah've seen in a hot minute." Still. Jay squeezes Doug's arm and slowly releases the guy. "And sometimes silences can be just as purposeful as words. Doesn't always have to be filled up with talkin'. It's like music sometimes; it's okay to let things /breath/ a little before you dig back into it. You don't gotta say anything."

Doug looks down, and then he says, "…Talking's pretty much my super-power, Jay. Except when it blows up in my face." Still, he settles back into his chair, and curls his fingers around his coke, as he looks down into it. He tries to let the silence do the talking for awhile, then — mostly he just looks awkward.

"And flyin' is mine," Jay points out with an arch of his brows when he sees Doug settle back into his chair awkwardly. "That doesn't mean Ah gotta do it all the time, now does it?" A gentle twitch of his mouth curves at the edges, trying to insert a little bit of levity into the situation. "There's a time and place fer it. But, okay, here, if Ah'm readin' this right, you an' Sam had some, uh, moments, and then you opened yer mouth. Unless you told him that he looks stupid nakedwhich Ah sorta doubt is the caseyou probably said somethin' that was sorta…attached. Am Ah gettin' close?"

Doug finishes his second cola, and puts his hand over his mouth. "Well" Doug says, "I started talking to him about some things *I* had been thinking about… about the future. That I was thinking of buying a house. And when I said 'I'… I think he heard 'we'. And I" He sighs. "I don't *know*" He looks around. "I don't *know*. This isn't a disney movie. Butthere… is a spark. Or was." He rubs the back of his neck, and frowns. "But I… spooked him. And I didn't want to! And I just… wanna make sure he's okay." He looks like he'd like to slide under the table, really.

Muffled words or not, Jay listens carefully, a slight wince touching his expression just around the edges while Doug begins to explain the issue. In a crystal clear instant, Jay can see precisely where things started going sideways. "Yeah, that sounds about right on the money," he has to admit, painful as it may be to do so. "He's okay, Ah can tell you that much at least. By the sound of everything he told me, an' as much as Ah know mah brotherwhich Ah sorta have to amend every once in a while it turns outhe's really fond of, you know, sewin' his wild oats?" Jay lowers his voice over the table with a glance around to make sure he's not overheard. "That sounds like the very sort of thing that'd startle him."

Doug rests his chin in his hand, and says, "I am aware." He shakes his head, and exhales, and sees to be trying to figure out what to say next, but he can't quite seem to find it. Finally he says, somewhat lamely, "I promised him I'd always have his back no matter what happened between us, and I meant it." He pinches the bridge of his nose. "He's something else, Jay. He really is. But" He puts his hand over his eyes. "…There's a part of me that was taking advantage of him." Now THIS part he mumbles out. "My love-life is a famous disaster. And… well… oh my god why am I talking to his little brother about this" He puts his forehead in his hands.

That's a really, really good question, to be fair.

A really good question that Jay actually takes pause from the conversation to think about for a moment, his eyes dropping to the table top for a moment to ponder it over. His brows arch slightly and head tilts to the side in place of a shrug. "Because if anyone's not gonna judge you, it's gonna be the other guy whose love-life is just as screwed up as yers, and who understands how impossible his magnetic goober of a brother is?" Jay offers mildly, his attention jumping back up to Doug's face—as little of it as he can actually see.

Doug puts his hand on his chin again and he raises his eyebrows. "I remember when you were just a redheaded kid with freckles and a guitar who was mad at Sam for leaving the house." Then he sighs. "Yeah. Confession is good for the soul, except I was a Mormon, so shouldn't it be repression? I don't know how I feel. I said some… some stuff. Because I… communicate. And he startled, and Iughhhhhhh. And I don't know ifif—"

Jaythe eternal 12 year old in Doug's eyessighs and smiles in spite of himself as he turns his attention down to the table, fingers rubbing on the polished wood back of the chair he leans into while Doug takes a stroll down memory lane. Forcing a very small chuckle up and pressed against the backs of his closed lips, Jay nods a little bit. He's not wrong. After their father died and Sam and Paige ran off, well, Jay became the Man Of The House and ersatz father. He didn't always respond /well/ to that kind of responsibility. Who could blame him?

He lets Doug talk and get it out of his system. Because talkin is the guy's super power. Until he starts to overload and skip like a bad needle on a record. "Whoa, whoa, whoa, hey now…" Jay reaches out again, his fair hand reaching across the table, but landing beside Doug's drink rather than touching the guy's hand or anything. "Take a breath, Doug. Yer going to scratch the record. You don't now if what?"

Doug sits up. "He thinks he was using me. I think I may have been using him. I don't know how to make this right and I'm afraid I'm going to lose a really good friend because I acted, and talked, without thinking." He exhales. "I feel *gulty*, Jay. I'm ashamed of myself." He looks down into his coke. "It was just nice to be close to someone."

Listening long and hard at all of Doug's concerns on the matter, all the way from who was using who to just being ashamed and afraid and the soul crushing feeling of lonliness where they halt, Jay can only smile. The sweetest, most understanding maudlin smile that's ever had the misfortune of crossing the angel-imposter's youthful expression. Feathers whisper behind him as they shiver together in a trembling concert of emotions while Jay settles on empathetic understanding. "Yer not going to lose a friend over a misunderstandin' like that, Doug. Just…give him some time, okay? Give it some time to breath." He offers, confident and honest. "Ah'm sorry. Ah am…truly and honestly beyond sorry that yer goin' through this. It feels good to be close to someone, an' not a person in the world would fault you for wantin' to feel wanted."

"…Except me." Doug says, with a resigned breath.

"You're only doin' it because it's /you/, Dougie," Jay point sout with a flat intonation and a lurking smile on the corner of his mouth to try to banish the too-close-for-comfort moment of emotional rawness. The smile blooms warm and smooth over Jay's mouth without quite touching his eyes. "You'd be sayin' the same thing if it were anyone else. Yer harder on yerself, though, because you expect more from yerself. Guess what, mah friend?" Jay flicks a hand out to bump Doug's elbow. "Yer human."

Doug closes his eyes, and then he looks up at Jay, and says, "Jay Guthrie," Doug says, "Somewhere down the line, that freckled redheaded surly kid became *wise*. Must've been all those sad country songs." He pats Jay on the shoulder. "I'll leave it lie, and let things shake out how they may. Just… keep an eye on him, okay? I would feel better if I knew someone was—you know. Looking out for him."

A hint gratified by that moment of recognition for being something more than the sullen teenager Doug first met, Jay angles a crooked 'aw shucks' smile and glances briefly at his drink. Popping his attention back in Doug's direction with a rueful chuckle pressed nearly inaudibly up against the backs of closed lips, he responds, "Yeah. Yeah that must've been it." Haaaaaaaah. "It's almost like he grew up or somethin' crazy like that, ain't it?" Jay scoops a hand through his hair, ruffling it about until the long bits of red frame his face. He nods. "Yeah, Ah'll keep an eye on Sam." As backwards as that initially may seem, Jay's used to watching after his siblings. "Don't worry about that." Peering across the short distance to Doug, Jay pops his brows up slightly. "So who's gonna look out for you?"

"I guess I look out for myself." Doug says. "Well… there's Warlock. But… yeah. I'll be okay, Jay. Don't worry about me, okay?" He says, having mussed up his yellow hair a bit before he leans in over his empty coca-cola and says, "…I suppose that answer's not really good enough for you, huh? I dunno. I don't know who's looking out for me, Jay."

Jay's serene smile takes an angle to it as he shrugs toward Doug in lieu of a nod when he guesses correctly. "Yeah. Not worryin' about folks isn't exactly a skill that Ah've developed too much on. Sorry." Watching Doug stare down at his empty glass, there's a decisive nod from the red-headed mutant. "Well, then Ah guess yer just going to have to deal with me checkin' in on you from time to time, then."

Doug puts his hand over his eye, and looks at Jay with the other. "Are you brothering me, Joshua Guthrie?" He sighs, and then says, "…Okay. Okay!" He holds both hands up. "I guess I can't fight it. I'm living at the institute, but I rent a room in Mutant Town at the… ugh, Hairy Arms when I'm in the city doing translation work and putting in a lot of late nights. Okay?"

Jay physically winces over his whole name, but tries to cover it up beneath a smile anyway. "You can think of it as bein' a pain in the ass friend if that makes you feel any better about it, Dougie. But the short answer is yeah, Ah suppose Ah am. Everyone needs someone lookin' out for them, the very same as everyone wants to be wanted and feel close to someone. It's part of what makes us human." Jay shrugs mildly. "Why fight it?"

Taking note of the apartment building, Jay nods. "Ah know the place, sure. Ah give lessons to a few folks who live there." Patting down his pocket momentarily, Jay produces a pen and clicks it, reaching for Doug's arm. Like a savage, he writes two letters and five numbers down on Doug's palm. A phone number. "Ah moved apartments, but Ah'm in the same building. If ya ask the door man, he'll point you to it. And that's mah phone number. If you need someone to talk to or just hang out, you got that. Okay?"

Doug looks down, and for a moment, his eyes are far away and thoughtful. "Okay." He says. He pauses, and then he pats Jay on the shoulder. "Thank you, Jay. It means…" He grins, slowly, "It means a lot. Let me buy you one last beer, and then you go get back up on stage, kay? The crowd's starting to get antsy." He looks around at the crowd, which… isn't.

Glancing around the crowd, Jay doesn't protest, but only smiles and nods at Doug. "Okay, Doug." Accepting the polite 'please go away' this time around. "It's not a problem. Everyone should have someone looking out for them." Jay pats Doug on the shoulder in return and gives it a squeeze as he gathers to his feet. "Enjoy the rest of your night, okay? Figure out somethin' to do for yourself maybe. Ah don't know, somethin' you like. It's not goin' to make everything okay again, but it'll help remind you that maybe there are still things to look forward to, even when you feel like crap. Even for just a second." Jay flicks a minute smile in Doug's direction, his eyes dancing down to the floor and back to find the blond mutant again as he pivots about smoothly and heads back to the stage, gesturing vaguely in the waitress' direction for another drink.

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