1965-02-07 - Secret Shame
Summary: Jeb arts loudly but secretly at the same time. Doug tells the little bean that he should tell his brother he likes to art and thinks there are too many secrets between the Guthries so Jeb aggressively reveals his secret shame to his winged brother who… is fine with it.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
douglas jebediah 


Jebediah didn't have school, not yet anyhow, he was slowly coming around to the idea of going to the mutant school. College wasn't exactly an idea for Jebediah's future. He's not smart enough to get a scholarship and he can't afford it otherwise. But, he did occasionally sneak into the bar early and bring some sort of work on the stage before setting up. Usually, no one is around to bother him. Jay doesn't get here until he's supposed to.. if he's here early, he's probably with Doug. Doug is doing Doug things. It's a moment of peace, where Jeb can art without worrying that someone will see him and say something nasty to him. If Doug were to catch him, he wouldn't be rude. Neither would Jay, but he hopes Jay never catches him. The stage is just perfect, surrounded by instruments, with the room to spread out…

Though, he does occasionally leave the faint smell of burning wood behind. He's brought a scented candle with him today, placed it on the stage ahead of him. He's got a piece of wood, pilfered from behind a grocery store most likely and today he was concentrating hard on making the boat from the painting he and Doug had scene at the museum from memory. Eyes narrowed nearly so small that they're closed to burn the design into the wood.

Doug can pretty much read all of those emotions when people have them, and he doesn't really try to argue people down from internalized feelings. If Jeb doesn't feel like he's in a place where he can go to college, Doug doesn't argue with him on him, but maybe he does hint that he could take an art class here, or do something else there… nobody should starve to death in a city full of opportunities.

Today, just prior to the club opening, he's come in from whatever it was he's doing, and as soon as he opens the door and notices Jeb, he shuts it very quietly, and stands very still.

Jeb blinks to turn the plasma off for a moment as he shakes the wooden blank to cool it. His lower lip caught between his teeth as he takes in the lines of the waves he had crashing against the ship. They aren't perfect. The copy isn't perfect but it was better than his last attempt. He mumbles something to himself, critique likely by his tone and pulls up a clean plank as sets the other aside. He pulls the plank close to his face, eyes narrowed and starts again. Despite the stress around his eyes, the rest of Jeb's posture is relaxed in a way that he's never been before.

Finally doug speaks. "I could buy you some charcoal pencils," He says, "And you could try doing a sketch of what you want to burn into the wood before you burn it. That way, if it doesn't come out looking the way you want, you can wipe it down and then try again, before you do the final version." He approaches, slowly, and looks at the discarded piece. "Can I keep this?"

Doug's voice scares him and Jeb puts a hole through the wooden plank in his hands without meaning to, burning the hand he had placed behind it with a hiss. "Doug!" He startles shaking his injured hand violently. When Doug looks at his discarded piece, Jeb looks almost shy as he picks it up slowly and hands it to Doug. "You want it? Ah.. Ah was thinking about tryin' drawing.. maybe paintin'. Ah was looking into some art classes at the rec center.. just don't tell Jay or Sam, alright? If they ask, Ah'm in like.. an underground fight club or somethin'."

Doug gives a little grin at that. "All right, Jeb, if they ask, you're beating people up for fun." He crosses his arms, and says, "You're doing a really good job. But— I made you ruin it—" He winces. "I'll get you some more wood, okay?"

Jeb sits up straighter when Doug praises him, praises him for something he's still not sure if he should be proud of and it gives him a confused feeling in his chest, makes it tight with both happiness and worry. He shakes his head when Doug says he made him ruin it and lifts his leg so that Doug can see he's got a tiny little pile of planks beside him. "Ah steal 'em from behind stores. Ah don't know if it's really stealin'. They put em by the dumpster. An' then I tear 'em apart so Ah can work on em. Do.. Do you really think Ah'm doin' good?"

Doug considers this, and then he walks over and ruffles Jeb on top of the head. "I don't know, maybe my yardstick for that is different than yours, bean. I think… one of the points of life is to grow, as people. To be a little more us than the person we were yesterday. A little smarter, a little braver, a little kinder. So if you're *reaching*… then yes, I think you're doing good. "Would you be willing to make me one? I'd like to give it to someone as a gift."

Jeb smiles up at Doug when his hair is ruffled, preening under that attention too. "Ah am… Ah… Ah maybe wanna do stuff like this.. for a living. Even though the folks back home, maybe even Sam would say that being an artist isn't a real job… Ah like this.. Ah'm /good at this/ and Ah ain't good for nothing or good at nothin'." He admits. "You want one?! Sure, Doug. What can Ah make you?" He wiggles a little, excited about the idea of making something for Doug.

Doug raises an eyebrow, and says, "Jeb, if it pays the bills, it's a real job." He thinks about this, and then says, "Make me… a comet crossing the sky, maybe over a forest."

Jeb reaches over to a small black bag he'd brought with him and opens the inside. If Doug tries to look, he'll see that Jeb has pilfered art supplies in there, half used things of paint, pencils snapped in half or nearly so small they couldn't be held. Jeb has either been stealing from an elementary school or pilfering from trash cans behind art supply stores… or a school. Some pens that have the names of buildings and phone numbers on them, the chain that attaches them to the counters snapped, ripped off and pilfered as well. He pulls out a pencil, this one snapped in half and starts to draw what Doug had described. The forest first, and then the comet, with great flowing detail.. the kid actually is very talented with his hands as well. He holds it up to Doug, the comet looks less like a spunky Kentucky spitfire drew it and more like some college granola and protein shake eating artist had been trained in this. The trees are less so, because…

"I'll… sila… sila… Silhouette.. the trees. That means they'll be blacked out, right? Like you'll still see 'em. I learned that word from a book at the library."

Doug raises an eyebrow, impressed at the kid's thrift. He doesn't call into question Jeb's dumpster-diving, because frankly, a lot of people do it, and at least he's not getting his lunch in the trash out behind the chinese restaurant. Yuck. "Good deal. If you'd like, I can get you some more books on art, some portfolios of artists I think you'll like. Some anatomy texts, maybe, for if you draw people?"

Jeb's eyes light up in a way that has nothing to do with plasma when Doug mentions books, art books! He could learn to draw people better! He digs in the bag to pull out a sketchbook, looking worn but not previously owned. He flips through it to show Doug a sketch of a very specific winged brother of his. It's not the best but it's also not terrible. The anatomy portion of it needs work but Jay's wings? Beautiful. Like Jebediah's been practicing for years, formally trained in drawing feathers, each individual one is incredibly detailed. He hands it to Doug to look at. "I need to get better at drawin' people."

Doug looks at the sketch, and says, "You really think your brother is something, huh?" He says. "DId you ever show him this?" Then he says, "I'll get you some stuff. Did you ever see da Vinci's Vitruvian Man? Nevermind, I'll find you some anatomy guides. You're really talented, Bean. I think we're onto something here… I really do."

"Jay's got these big beautiful wings and Ah like to draw 'em a lot." Jeb admits. "But Ah also really like Jay. Ah don't 'member much about my dad, but Jay's been as close to a daddy as Ah ever had. So Ah like to draw him a lot. He's my brother, but he's kinda my dad and he's my best friend. But Ah only got two of those, you and Jay." He mentions and then shakes his head /violently/ when Doug asks if he's ever shown Jay his sketches. "No No No No, but Ah did burn those birds into his guitar. The one he performs with."

"I saw that." Then Doug sighs, and says, "You Guthries… you all keep so many secrets from each other. It's like…" He says, "You all have this fear of showing one another who you really are, like it'll lose you their love. *I* know it won't. But I can't convince any of you of that." For a moment, Doug looks really sad. "And I guess it's not my business to try."

"Ah think it probably says somewhere in the bible 'thou shalt not art if yer a boy'. That's the way they treat it in the south and Jay and Sam, they're big, strong guys. Ah just wanna be like them. This.." He gestures to his bag, the little wooden planks decorated with his designs. "This isn't like them. And Ah ain't got no girlfriend either so maybe it'll make them think Ah'm a sissy. Ah don't know. Ah'm scared.. but maybe Ah could show Paige. Paige is a girl. Ah could make her things, she'd like them."

Doug raises an eyebrow at this, but says absolutely nothing calling Jeb's thoughts into question. No, that would NOT be helpful. "…You might try. You guys… you project your feelings onto one another a lot. You never ask how your brothers feel. None of you do."

"Ah do too! Ah always ask Jay if he's okay!" Jeb says indignantly, shoulders tightening. "Ah /love/ my brothers. Ah always check on 'em! Sam don't want to talk about his feelins. Jay always wants to talk about me instead of him. Ah ask though!"

Doug just rolls his eyes, and sighs. "Nevermind, I'm sorry I asked." He turns to go to the bar, and get himself a glass of water, probably muttering something under his breath about getting tangled up in this mess.

"Why are you mad at me?" Jeb asks easily as he rises leaving his artist mess on the stage. "Ah don't want you to be mad at me. Ah'm sorry Ah snapped at you, Doug."

"I'm not mad at you, Jeb." Doug says. "Linguistic difficulties. Frustration, a reminder that what seems simple to me might as well be ancient Greek to all of you." He shakes his head. "That was rude of me, I'm sorry."

That hurts and it shows all over Jeb's face. Jeb, who's unafraid to be himself with Doug, shatters when Doug insults their intelligence. He wants to get mad but he just hurts instead. He turns around to head back to the stage and gather his things, quietly, for such a loud little excitable shit, that silence speaks a lot for how hurt he was by Doug's words. Jay fears indulging in a secret side of himself even /with/ Doug but Jeb's walls all fall down around the linguist. He shows him his forbidden talent with ease, something he hides everywhere else, stuffs in the back of his closet in his apartment so Sam won't discover it, in a floorboard he's pulled up and guaranteed they won't get the safety deposit back. So it hurts bad when Doug's words aim to stab.

Doug pauses, and then frowns, and says simply, "That's not what I *meant*, Jebediah." He puts his hands on the bar, and says, "*I* see what you all hide from each other. And it… gives me a lot of trouble."

"Don't say my full name. You only use it when Ah did something wrong. You sound like Jay." Jeb huffs as he gathers up his mess. "We're all just big fraidy cats. Ah don't think Sam and Jay hide anythin' from each other. Jay hides things from me but then I find out about 'em anyway because Ah'm pushy."

Doug considers this, and then looks down. He doesn't say anything else.

"Don't be like that Doug, where you don't say anythin' at all. That ain't fair either. You want me to talk about stuff, you gotta too." He huffs at Doug from his place on the stage. He doesn't clean up though. He settles back with the plank he'd been working on for Doug and brings it close to his face, narrowed eyes as he works on burning the silhouetted trees first.

Jay probably wasn't upstairs when all this started. He probably wasn't just hiding in Doug's apartment, doing whatever he does up there by himself, but that's the direction he comes from, rather than the normal entrance. Probably the roof, all told. His stride as telling in the way people get to know one another's strides and begin to tell who is coming and going just by the patterns their footsteps take. "Dougie? You already down here?" A vaguely more tender tone than usual, not expecting his brothers to be hanging around yet.

"What am I supposed to say?" Doug asks, looking up at Jeb. "Remember, everything you don't say, I read anyway. So when I hurt you like that, I can't be ignorant to it." He shakes his head, and goes silent again, before he looks up, and lets out a small breath. "Yeah, Jay, we're down here."

Jeb has to blink this time before his eyes go wide and destroy the wood. Jay was here?! Jeb thinks to quickly collect all his things but Doug wants Jay to know.. Jay to know that he does this art stuff. Doug thinks it's stupid that they all keep secrets. So he looks to Doug, one eyebrow raised and drags his sketchbook around and purposely starts drawing. Let Jay find him then. No more secrets.

We? Jay finishes the stairs off in a quick succession that almost sounds like someone falling down them, his cheeks still colored and hair wild and windwhipped. He smiles when he comes around the bar and sees who 'we' is. "Hey, Sprout." then sniffs. "What smells like burnin'? You makin' another thing? Sketchin' up a design or somethin'?" entirely unphased. Right up to Doug's side, the musician's fingers reach over to tug on his sleeve cuff, then slides his palm across the blond mutant's lower back. "Hey."

"He's been talking to me about his art." Doug says, "He's going to make a woodcut for me." Doug considers this, and looks between Jeb and Jay — and because apparently he's the destroyer of worlds or something, he leans up to give Jay a brief, warm kiss on the mouth. "Hey yourself."

Jeb doesn't even avert his eyes, who cares? So they're kissin'. Whatever. Jay doesn't even /react/ to Jeb doing art loudly. He doesn't seem to think it's some gateway drug to the homosexual deviant lifestyle as Jeb seems to have worried he might. He pulls in a deep breath. "Ah wanna take classes. The rec center sometimes has them and Ah've been studyin' in the library and Ah know you wanted me to go to mutant school but.. what.. what if Ah went to college for it? Doug.. Doug thinks I could." He says, just vomitting his secrets at Jay like he's showing Doug what for.

Jay's surprised by the pda, his feathers whispering behind him, but seems gratified immediately after. Jay smiles back at Doug when he draws away, and some small stress he was carrying simply melts, no longer visible around his eyes. "Hey," he murmurs again. Yes Jay, you already said that.

The elder brother blinks back to his aggressively art-ing sibling, his brows pull up. "Classes? Ah thought you didn't wanna do any more schoolin', an' yer artsorryyer craftsman stuff was jus' a hobby?" Jay tries to keep up, struck completely unaware by whatever weird 'I'll show you!' war he's stepped into. He dares a sidelong look toward Doug, stiffly, then back at Jeb. And shrugs. "Okay? If that's what you wanna do? What're you all wound up fer?"

"He didn't actually say anything to me about wanting to go to college." Doug says, his arm slipping around Jay's waist. "I was going to point him in the direction of some evening classes." He leans into Jay a bit, putting his weight on him, before he just smirks. See? SEE?

Now it's time for Jeb to blush. "Well, Ah was.. Ah was thinkin' about it because Ah guess Ah'm kinda good but Ah'm not very smart and Ah can't afford much with the apartment and.. just… Ah haven't told you, so now Ah'm tellin' you." Jeb stammers looking down at his little bag of stolen art supplies. "Ah was scared. That you'd be disappointed in me if Ah told you Ah wanted to make it more'n a hobby."

Jay's hand still rests on the small of Doug's back, accepting the lean of Doug's body against his side without issue. "Well, we gotta figure out what sorta classes we can afford and stuff. Night classes, the rec center or what the college looks like." Jay shrugs and one of his wings drops down to cup around Doug's back. Jay's brows begin to arch toward his hairline, going higher with every second of quickfire word vomit from his brother. So now he's told! "O…kay, Jebby. Ah told ya before, ain't no shame in being a craftsman. Why'd Ah get disappointed? Ah mean…you realize Ah'm playing music in clubs for a livin', right?"

Doug might subtly snuggle into that wing, when Jay drapes it around him. It is soft. It does smell good. "I'll put together some stuff. And college is doable — as long as Jeb is working. I mean, we may not be talking Julliard, not right away, but there's options." Because this is 1965 and college won't put you in the hole for life.

"Night classes cain't work Jay, Ah work at a club. That's when it's jumpin' maybe Ah'll get up real early. Ah don't know. Ah don't know why you'd be disappointed. Ah always worry about disappointin' you. You're my brother. And you're not like.. you're not just that. You've played a lot of roles in my life, Jay. You've been my brother, you've been my dad and you've been my best friend. So Ah always worry Ah'm gonna do somethin' that you're not gonna like. Ah go out and Ah get in a fight and Ah come home, and you have that look on your face and it's like a knife right in the heart. Ah always worry that Ah'm not turnin' out the way you want me to." He admits, flushed cheeks and all, eyes trained on the floor, afraid to look Jay in the eyes.

Jay holds on to Doug securely, nodding slowly while he listens. Doug would have more expertise in this than any of them after all. "Sure. We'll make it work. We might not be city folks, but we don't give up, either." Turning on to Jeb with that reassuring curve of his mouth. They were a tenacious bunch. Usually.

The explanation as to why Jeb would be worried he'd get disappointed is kind of heartbreaking, though. Jay winces toward the end. "Jeb…yer just a kid." Jay searches for the words and sort of falls on his face. Pre-emptively putting a hand up to stop the immediate claims of being a grown ass man. "By that Ah mean you got lots of time to figure out how yer turnin' out. So do Ah, matter of fact. So's Sam, an' Paige, too. We're all just figurin' it out still. An' Ah worry about you fightin' because Ah worry about somethin' happenin' to you, dummy. Ah ain't disappointed that you're a fighter. Ah worry that yer gonna get hurt and Ah won't be there to protect you, an' Ah'm /useless/ fer anything except a human shield, so if you get hurt and Ah ain't there, that's it." Jay shakes his head, rocking back slightly on his heels. "And it's /art/, man. This ain't like you tellin' me yer gonna go be a…hell, I dunno." Jay looks at Doug, trying to think of something that would disappoint him, but he's grasping at straws. "Like…yer gonna go work in a factory you hate fer the rest of your life or somethin'. We're in New York, Jeb. We sure as hell don't belong here, but we're gonna make the most of it. An' if that means yer gonna go be an artist, then okay. Hell, one of mah best friends is an artist." He squeezes Doug's hip. "Ah told you about him, Dougie." Nodding back to Jeb. "I'll introduce ya."


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