1965-02-27 - Jeb Eh Die Uh
Summary: Doug and Jay confront Jebediah about his scars and try to pull out of him just who gave them to him to no avail.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
douglas jebediah jay 

It was easy to hide the cuts on his arms that night after he'd fought with Elmo outside of the club, putting his jacket back on made that easy, but the ones on his face, along with the burns there? Those weren't easily hidden at all. The club had been busy enough that no one had approached him to ask about them, maybe they didn't have time to take note of it and Jebediah had been relieved over it. If Doug thought he was conducting punching contests outside his club, who knows what he might do! He might even fire Jeb… though he sure hoped he wouldn't. Being that he was dating his brother, that might cause strife between the pair and Jebediah was willing to bet that he'll get a second chance because of that alone.

It still wasn't a conversation that he was looking forward to at all.

So Jeb had kept his head low, had come into work and well, Jebediah already worked hard. He had since Doug gave him the club but he worked extra hard now as if that might somehow prevent Doug from ever asking what had happened that night or why he was still wearing the scars. Today was no different. He arrived far earlier than he used to and began setting up, gave all of the cups an extra round of washing just to make them shine.

Doug is a working son of a gun, and some nights he's not in the club at all. So it's a couple of days before he comes down to take in the night's show and do some work around the place himself — and he gets a good look at Jeb, before he snaps his fingers.

"My office, Guthrie."

The owner's office used to be a supply closet. It's tiny, but it's a place where Doug can get some work done, and it has a phone in it. Doug is sitting on his desk, leaning back on his hands. "Ok." He says, "What happened."

Doug never calls Jeb by his last name only. Hell, Doug rarely calls him by his first name. About ninety percent of the time he's "Bean" so when Doug snaps his fingers at him and summons him to his office last name first, Jebediah is already nervous.

He follows Doug to the office looking every bit like a kicked puppy and Doug's not even started yelling at him yet. He looks at Doug when he's spoken to and drops his eyes immediately to the floor when he begins to answer, this is a look that Jay would be familiar with, seen a thousand times when Jebediah had gotten into something he ought not to have and was feeling the guilt. He scuffs his shoe and says nearly too quietly to be heard; "Got into a fight."

Doug says, "Yeah, I see that."

"First of all —" He says, "Are you okay? You look like ten miles of bad dirt road, as Sam would put it."

Then Doug says, "Second of all — why did you get in a fight? Over what? With WHO?" He seems genuinely, if sternly curious.

"Ah'm fine. Ah pulled all the glass out that night. It's not as bad as it could have been. Ah left him with a black eye." Jeb answers, still decidedly not looking at Doug. "When have Ah ever needed a reason. Ain't you heard Sam and Jay complainin' bout all the trouble Ah was always gettin' inta?" Avoiding most of Doug's questions.

All Doug does in response to that is clear his throat. "Ah-hem. You know I have your mother's phone number, right?" He picks up the phone. "Would you like me to call her?"

That certainly gets a response out of Jebediah, launching himself at Doug, hand on top of Doug's own, "No, no, no, no. Don't call my mama! She'll come all the way up here and whoop me with my own belt and she'll worry the whole way up here!" He stammers, pleadingly, finally looking up at Doug. "It was just some guy who Ah ain't like. He said somethin' nasty bout my brother so I hit him… after I shocked him."

Doug considers this, and then hangs up the phone. "Which brother?" He asks. "Because while Jay is a bit of a marshmallow, as much as I like him—" That's a given — "And really, he only doesn't hit back because I'm pretty sure he did, once, and broke somebody's ribs — he doesn't like to talk about it… Sam can take care of himself. But I guess that's not the point, is it."

"It doesn't matter that either of 'em can take care of themselves. Ah'm their brother and if someone says somethin' nasty about them, Ah kick that someone's ass." Jebediah says very seriously. "It was about Jay though. It ain't matter now but no one says anythin' bad about my brother and gets to keep all their teeth."

Doug lets out a sigh, and then he says, "Jeb. Grownups don't respond to an insult by escalating to violence—" He pauses, and then says, "Okay, they do all the time. But they shouldn't. That's not how gentlemen behave. Didn't your mother raise you to be a gentleman?" He crosses his arms, and says, "Look. I get it. You're seventeen, and you come from a family that's… controversial, in Cumberland — so you fight for your honor."

"But you have to start thinking about when you should be fighting and when you shouldn't be. Closed fist versus open hand."

"Ah'm /eighteen/, Doug." Jebediah huffs at him. "You know that because you hired me to work in your bar. And yeah, my mama raised me to be a gentleman, alright. But you can't just let someone talk badly about your brother. Especially some little baby man who ain't tall enough to be talkin' smack. Ah don't fight for my honor. Anyone can say anythin' they want about me and it'll probably be true but not my family and not my friends and considering Ah only got two of those, you and a /vampire/, Ah gotta defend them."

"What do you mean an open hand? Should Ah have slapped him 'stead of punched him? Next time Ah see him, Ah'll do just that."

"Oh, so you are." Doug says. Then his eyebrows go up. "No, I mean that you have to learn how to defuse situations without fighting—" He pauses. "You know what? We'll have that discussion another time. I WAS going to ask Sam to start teaching you how to tend bar, but I don't think you're ready for that yet.

Then he sighs, "But I'm not going to punish you. You're a grown man, and I don't own you. It wasn't very professional of you — but I'm not going to fire you."

"I'm just…" He sighs, "I'm not even disappointed. Just sad that you feel things have to be that way. That's all."

Jeb's face falls, loses all the anger when Doug starts to talk about how he was going to teach Jeb something new but Jeb's no longer ready for it because he's still fighting with his fists and not words or whatever it is Doug would rather him do. Jebediah Guthrie has never looked more upset until now. "Ah… but… Ah am ready. Ah want to learn how to do somethin' other than clean stuff!"

Jebediah hadn't looked more upset until the moment that Doug said that he was sad that Jebediah decided to hit someone instead of talking it out or whatever the hell real men were supposed to do. Someone could hear Jeb's little heart break a state over, and you could definitely see it all over his face. "Ah… Ah'm sorry that Ah upset you." He practically whimpers, dropping his eyes back to the floor, losing all his defiance.

Doug lets out a sigh. "There's a time when you have to fight, Jeb — and it's not always easy to know when you should, or when you shouldn't—" He quirks his mouth, "Even I miss the mark sometimes. Believe it or not. You didn't upset me." He gets up, and moves to ruffle Jeb on the head, slowly. "Because believe it or not, somebody talking trash about either of your older brothers would put them on my shit list, too."

"But the fact is, you're sitting here looking like you got the worst of that fight — and that's the real problem here. You're not always going to win all of life's battles, and since you're a mutant, someday you're gonna wind up having to fight a battle you can't win, just so everybody doesn't lose everything. Almost certainly."

"So knowing that… why pick a fight with some loser? Huh? Aren't you better than him?"

Jeb's still hurting, aching over knowing that part of Doug was disappointed in him, thinks he's still a child because he'd fought someone else. The ache doesn't fade when Doug ruffles his hair either. "Ah don't think Ah'm much better than anyone else. Ah don't.. Ah don't think Ah'm better than anybody. Ah just.. why wouldn't Ah hit him if he said somethin' mean about my brother? He's my brother. What makes that 'not the right time'? Ah just don't understand why.. why you say Ah did wrong."

He knows that he shouldn't be ever fighting. That's what his mama and his brothers and sisters would prefer but when someone says something bad about your family.. you… you hit them. Don't you. "What would you have done, Doug?" Jeb asks, desperate to know what he should have done, what would make Doug proud of him.

"Well I like to think I would've taken the high road, either shrugged him off or tried to engage him in conversation." Doug says, "But to be honest, depending on if this dude was nine feet tall and covered in armor plates, farting fireballs, or had acid sweat or something, I probably would've picked a fight too." He shrugs his shoulders.

"It's hard being the better man." Doug and Jeb are in Doug's office that used to be a supply closet, and Doug is talking to him. Jeb looks like he picked a fight the sidewalk outside.

"But you have to *try*. There's a lot more to honor than just hitting someone who insults your clan. I, uh… hm. Did you ever see the Seven Samurai?"

Jeb is covered in little cuts, most obscured by his jacket, but there are burns on his face, like he'd lost a fight with a glass bottle filled with chemicals… or a lightbulb. Or a lot of lightbulbs that he had looked directly into when he'd lost this fight. He looks better than he /did/ but it's only been a few days so most of it is still relatively fresh. He looks a mess. Enough a mess to worry a big feathered brother.

"Then why cain't Ah learn bar if you woulda hit him too?" Jeb asks, a little heatedly, probably not earning himself any brownie points when Doug's trying to teach him something here. "Seven Samurai?"

"It's a movie about honor, by a great Japanese writer and director." Doug strokes his chin. "Kurosawa may be the best director in the world, but that's not really the point." He says, "The point is, as withered as you feel in front of me, what're you going to do when Jay and Sam see the mess you've made of yourself? Granted, Sam would've also hit that guy, but do as I say and not as I do, and so on—" A faintly perturbed expression crosses Doug's face.

"Because a bartender has to help keep the place running, and that means keeping your head when things get crazy. What about this shows me you can do that, bean?"

"Hey, babe? Ah was doin' inventory—oh, hey!" Jay strolls into the odd little office former closet, a clip board under his arm while the red-headed sibling hangs in the doorway like a fixture, reaching upward to clutch the frame with one hand. Drumming fingers on the wood. "How's it goin', Sprout?" He hesitates, reading the space, his smile fading slightly while he stares at the back of his brother's head, not getting a clear picture of his injuries. "Did Ah interrupt somethin'?"

Doug makes a sour plums face at Jeb, and then makes a circle with his finger, instructing him to turn around and get it over with.

"Well, Ah could keep a level head if no dumbass comes in here and decides to talk crap to the bartender about the bartender's brother! Why would you do that? Why would anyone do that? That's a one way ticket to gettin' your cup spit in!" Jebediah argues, despite the fact that Doug has a point and also despite the fact that Doug looks like Jeb is working his way to actually angering Doug. Jebediah's got a real big hurt brewing because Doug is punishing him, so of course he's gonna argue. That's the only way to combat it, right?

His spine goes ramrod straight when he hears Jay's voice and he glares at Doug when he makes a circle with a finger. He can't believe that Doug doesn't have any little brothers himself with how fantastic he is at making Jebediah feel properly cowed. He sighs and turns to face Jay. "Don't panic, Jay. Ah'm fine." He tries to soothe.

"Are you talkin' about that faght that Sam got in with JP?" Jay murmurs with a frown—less a frown and more like a lack of his usual serene smile. "That was a misunderstandin' Ah think. Ah mean, Sam thought he said somethin' about me, but who can understand half of what comes outta his mouth with all that creole in there, raght?" Flickering his attention between the two when Jeb turns around. His mouth falls open when he sees his brother. "Jeb. Eh. Die. Uh." The hand falls from the doorframe, allowing him to step into the tiny space, setting the clipboard down on Doug's itty bitty desk. "What the hell happened to you?"

Doug moves to sidle past Jay, and out the door. It's a very cramped office right now. Sidle. Sidle. He gets his face caught in Jay's wing. "Pffft—"

Jeb winces when Jay pronounces each syllable of his first name. And he takes a step back away from Jay, bumping into Doug's thigh as he tries to back away from his brother who will certainly respond to Jeb getting into a fight much worse than Doug had. "Nothin'! Ah got in a little fight is all. Ah'm fine. This is nothin'! Ah've looked plenty worse." He insists.

Jay glances at Doug while he passes, whispering an apology and pulling his wing backward, side-stepping awkwardly with a carrosel sort of turn to get past. "Sorry, uh, Ah'm sorta big…" Phrasing, Jay. Phrasing.

Coming out the other side to stand in front of Jeb, Jay surges forward and gives chase to poke and prod at his cuts, plucking at his collar to peer past it, and shoving brown hair around in order to see any that might be hidden. "Just because you've looked plenty worse dun mean a thing, and you know it. Yer all cut up! The hell did you get into a fight with? A lawnmower blade?"

Doug hasn't left — he's getting out of the way so Jay can get into the office. He's leaning in the doorway, arms crossed, watching, with his arms crossed.

Jeb presses himself back against the desk as his worried older brother fusses with him to check on the damage. He puts a hand in the center of Jay's chest to fail at pushing his brother away. It's better to just let him fuss and after a loud sigh, Jeb pulls off his jacket so that Jay can see the cuts are all over his arms as well. "A bunch of glass. I lost a fight to a bunch of glass. I punched some guy and he blew all the lights out. Punchin' other mutants is dangerous." Jeb huffs as he allows his brother to fuss over him and worry.

Jay's eyebrows arch upward and his wings shiver, fluffing out to almost completely blot out Doug from Jeb's view. Shocked and agast at the explanation. "You blew the lights out? What in the black an' blue hell, Jeb? Good lord, lookit yer arms. Did ya roll around in the glass afterward, too?"

"Told you." Doug says, to Jeb.

"No, Ah hit him, he blew the lights out and then Ah took my jacket off and put it on him so he wouldn't get hit with all the glass and Ah got hit with all the glass instead. It wasn't the best thinkin on my part but Ah only wanted to hit him, Ah didn't want to fill him with glass." Jeb insists, hand still on Jay's chest doing him almost no good at keeping his worried and now fluffy winged brother away from him. "Shut up, Doug! Ah'm fine, Jay. It's fine."

"Calling your mother's not off the table," Doug says, his voice going terse from behind Jay.

Jay swings around slightly to glance over his shoulder at Doug. Twisting back around to face Jeb. The hand on his chest really doing nothing to keep him from examining his brother's injuries. "So, ya got into a fight with someone, then overdid it, so you had to /save the guy you hit/ from bein' sliced t'ribbons like you are now." Jay remarks flatly. Inhaling a deep breath, his chest pushes against Jeb's hand, then drops, leveling a helplessly disappointed look at Jeb. "Yer at least keepin' 'em all washed?"

"Don't call my mama! Ah'm over here by the phone, Ah'll shock it and you won't be able to use it to call my mama!" Jeb fusses at Doug, irritated now. "Ah shocked him first and he just like… nothin' happened to him when Ah did, so that made me mad because Ah wanted him to hurt so Ah hit him and he just exploded everythin' so Ah protected him! He did the exploding! Not me!"

And then Jay levels that look at him and it sobers Jeb up immediately, face falling. "Jay, don't.. don't look at me like that. He said somethin' mean about my brother!" He defends with a small defeated sigh. "Ah.. Ah didn't explode anythin'. Ah didn't. Ah didn't want to hurt him bad. Ah wasn't tryin' to." And it harkens back to the last time that Jeb had used his powers against someone else… when everything hit the fan in their hometown. "Ah am. And Ah'm sorry, Jay. No one gets to say nasty things about you and keep the mouth they used afterwards."

Doug just shakes his head, and puts his hand over his mouth. He doesn't say anything more.

"Don't you yell at him," Jay defends Doug with a commanding tone he used exclusively for telling the kids what to do back home and telling Kaleb what was going to happen. The calm, authoritative tone leaves no room for argument. "You know damned well that he's just tryin' to do what's best for you, same as any of us. An' don't you go destroyin' any bit of this place or yer gonna wish we called Momma" Jay sighs and shrugs his shoulders, some of the fierceness draining out of him. One side of his mouth twitching slightly. "Well. At least…y'tried to make sure the other guy didn't get hurt bad. Jeeze, Jeb."

Jay turns around carefully to exchange a long look at Doug. He's radiating guilt something fierce right now. "Sounds like he's got a lotta free time on his hands t'me. What do you think, Dougie?"

"He's a grown man, Jay. It's not my place to punish him. The worst I could do is fire him, and I told him I'm not going to do that." He puts his hand on his hip, and says, "But then again, I'm not blood. You are — you can make him scrub the grout in the bathroom with his own toothbrush, if that's really what you want. But I do know I'm not going to have Sam train him to tend bar. Not right now. Not for awhile."

Jeb swallows hard at the concealed threat in Jay's voice but glares back at his brother hard."Really? You're gonna make me wish you called mama when Ah'm already covered in cuts. Apparently Ah'm not a man 'ccordin' to Doug because Ah punched him instead of talkin' it out with him and now he don't wanna let me learn bar." Jebediah fusses and glares at the desk, thinking about shoving everything violently off of it in his frustration at the pair of them but he swallows it.

The fight goes out of him quick when Doug mentions again that he doesn't plan on letting him tend bar and he crosses his arms across his chest, dropping his eyes to the floor again as he pulls in a deep shaky breath. "Ah defended you… he was talkin' bad about you…" He says far more quietly than before.

"Ah ain't askin' you to punish him. Ah'm quite able on mah own to make that happen." Jay reassures calmly, then nods and turns to look back at Jeb. "But it sounds like the owner got no problem with me runnin' yer narrow backside around here a while. But Ah'm not gonna do that raght now." Chewing on the inside of his lip, Jay considers everything he knows a little bit, then nods slowly while he looks at all that sullen behavior off his brother. A shiver of feathers, Jay reaches out to try to snag Jeb by the shoulder and yank him in for a quick back-clapping hug. "Ah appreciate it, Jeb. Ah'd defend ya t'my last breath, too. But /you/ got hurt because of me, now." He pauses a beat, then mutters. "…an' Ah hope you made that hit count."

Doug just raises his eyebrow, and then reaches out to finger a red feather on Jay's left wing that's caught his attention. He's not interjecting in the conversation, right now.

Jeb flinches at first when Jay reaches out for him but then Jay's drawing him in for a hug instead of whatever Jeb was anticipating. He wants to complain that Jay can't make him do anything anymore, but they both know that to be untrue. He stiffens in the hug for a moment before returning it. "No. Ah got hurt because Ah hit someone instead of just ignorin' them or havin' some diplomatic conversation with them. Ah don't know what the real adult thing was to do, but both you and Doug say my choice weren't right." Jebediah says seriously. Jay absolutely was not allowed to blame himself. "Hell, Ah even started it. Ah don't like him for a few reasons and Ah ain't trust him, so when Ah saw him, Ah said somethin' rude to him first. It's all my fault, Jay. It ain't yours. You ain't done nothin' wrong."

Jay's head turns, feeling the touch on one of his feathers, the sensation adjusting the pressure against that single shaft and sending a myriad little instinctual thoughts through him. The small, fine feathers covering his wing's wrist rise slightly, like hairs held upright by goosebumps.

"Well, not everyone knows how t'keep a civil tongue in their mouth. We got by this far by havin' each other's backs, no matter what, right?" Jay groans and squeezes Jeb again before letting him go. "Yer a fighter. Ah know that, anyone who's known you fer ten minutes knows that. Ah can't expect you not to do that any more than Ah can expect a fish t'do calculus. Ah just worry about you. Yer my brother. Ah don't like it when you get hurt, and this is a little more than a black eye." Jay explains and blows out a breath, rolling his shoulders backward. "Ah wasn't there. So. Ah gotta jus' trust that you did what you did fer good reasons. Because yer a good man, Jebediah Guthrie. And good men don't go around bein' bullies."

Doug quirks his mouth, and says, "I should let you two hug it out. I'll be outside when you're done, okay?"

"Ah ain't no bully. Ah ain't bully anyone. Ah never would, not when Ah had to suffer that same shi-" He stops himself with a sheepish look at Jay. "/Stuff/ when Ah was small. He ain't a good guy, he's rude to my only friend out here besides Doug and he says nasty things 'bout you. He ain't a good guy. Ah gave him a black eye to pay for it but then Ah protected him when he exploded the whole block. Bullies don't protect people." Jebediah assures him, he's not arguing, he's insisting that he wouldn't bully a person. "Ah hit him because he said somethin' real nasty about you. Really nasty and Ah saw red."

"Well, either way," Doug says, "Once you tell us who he is, he's banned from the club."

"Nah, we're done, Dougie," Jay reassures, looking back at the guy he actually let touch his wing with impunity. "Mah brother's a little rough around the edges, but he knows what matters most." Glancing sidelong to Jeb, a hand skates in to ruffle his hair. "Yeah, folks like that soundin' like they're just going around causin' trouble for no reason. If he don't like me so much, then he don't need to be where I perform."

"Aw, hell, Ah can't remember his name." Jeb says and he keeps his voice even, face obscured from Doug's view, he might get away with the lie because he sounds convincing enough. "Ah've only met him twice. Once before this when he was bothering my friend. The vampire, Ah told you about. And then this time when Ah hit him. He wasn't worth me rememberin' anythin' bout. If he comes round again, Ah'll point him out to you."

Doug raises his eyebrows, and then says, "If you ever lie to me again about something that could affect this business, Jeb, I will have to fire you. Who was it?" He crosses his arms, and then checks his nails. "Also, don't ever lie to me. You can't. I can tell you're lying by looking at the way the back of your neck tenses up."

Gentle soul Jay believes Jebediah, nods and squints at his brother slightly. "Uh, yeah. The doctor guy, raght? Mordred, or somethin'. You ever finish that art project you were workin' on for him?" Turning to look at Doug while he hangs in the doorway and pinpoints Jeb's lie. There's a wilted look and shift back to Jeb, trying to read off him as well a little bit. "Why're you tryin' to protect him if you don't like him any?"

"Kickin' someone out that buys your alcohol doesn't affect your business?" Jeb panics at the idea that Doug would actually fire him, and makes a distressed noise as he tries to figure out some goddamn way he can lie without lying. He hesitates to answer, not answering isn't a lie, right? "If Ah don't tell you, you going to fire me too?" It's not a challenge, a legitimate question. "Because Ah don't wanna make anyone else's life more difficult than it has to be." He answers Jay, a conflicted look passing across his features.

"Customers have to obey the rules of the establishment, too," Doug says, "And this isn't the kind of bar where brawlers get to get away with it." Doug says, his eyebrows going up. "Especially not brawlers who have destructive powers that could level the building. That's the kind of business we just don't need, kid."

Jay's expression worries slightly while he considers this weird conflict. "Do you think he's a danger to anyone in here, or the business, Jeb? Or do you jus' not like him?" Turning back to Doug, Jay takes a step back and tries to lean against the wall so that all three of them can get a good look at each other. Thumbs hang in his pockets loosely, considering Doug. He leans forward slightly to say something, then decides not to in front of Jeb with a glance back toward the younger mutant. "Technically, they were fightin' outside. Not inside the buildin'. An' if Jeb doesn't think this guy's really got maliciousness in him, they jus' don't see eye to eye…he's sorta right, ain't he? If everyone minds their P's and Q's inside these walls, that's the point of havin' a place that's neutral ground that everyone can enjoy." The pacifist. The idealist. The angel-imposter offers that out to Doug with a light plea of understanding in his tone and expression.

"He also can't level the building without my help. He only exploded all the lights because Ah shocked him first. When Ah hit him, it was like Ah'd pulled the pen on a grenade, he couldn't control it. He didn't mean to hurt me, not at that moment at least. Ah just don't get along with him, Ah just don't like him. He only said what he said because he wanted to piss me off, Ah don't even think he meant it. Ah mean, it's Jay. Who could ever mean anything rude about Jay?" He defends. "He ain't no threat to anyone in here. Ah swear it and you know that Ah ain't lyin'. We started the fight outside and he came /in/ after and didn't hurt no one."

Doug raises his eyebrow at Jay, and sighs. "If he'd talked trash about your or Sam, I would've done the same thing Jeb did. Minus shooting eye-lightning at him. The only difference is, I could've killed him." He raises an eyebrow at Jeb, and says, "Take this whatever way you want, but I'm gonna remember you're covering for this guy, Jeb. That means if he starts trouble again, it's on your ass for not preventing it now. Okay?"

"Ah know you would," Jay nods lightly to Doug, restraining the urge to push off the wall and head in his direction. "Ah would've done the same thing, myself. S'why we can't be overly mad about what happened. All the damage sounds like it was unexpected. Though all that…combinin' powers and stuff sounds really dangerous." He worries a look back at Jeb. "Ah guess you sorta met yer match, huh, Zappy?"

"Ah started the trouble. He didn't. He planned on just comin' in and havin' a nice night and then Ah saw him and started trouble with him. He didn't have to say what he did about Jay, but he hadn't planned on comin' in here to do anything but drink. So.. if that makes you distrust me because Ah don't want to kick nobody out, then alright, so be it. Ah'm sorry to disappoint ya for the second time in one night, sir." Sir because Doug is his boss right now, not his friend and Jeb distances himself from the hurt that Doug is yet again, upset with a choice that Jeb is making.

"He had a friend with him that said we'd make great team if we didn't hate each other so much." Jebediah admits to Jay when he mentions he's met his match.

Doug shrugs his shoulders. "Believe it or not, what you're doing shows integrity." Doug says, "It's not what I'd do," He admits, "But it shows integrity… so I'm actually proud of you, bean. Just think real, real hard before you do this again." He shrugs his shoulders at Jay, and says, "I'm glad I was an only child, red, because this is maddening."

Jay smiles at Doug, peacefully amused. "Yeah. An' he's not the angriest one of 'em if you can imagine. But Ah'd trust him to watch my back any day of the week. That's the perk of it." Then juts his chin up at Doug, his smile a little more coy. "And you, too. Besides, Ah don't know if Ah can come up with any punishment worse than a thousand cuts. That's some kinda torture, ain't it? Death by a thousand cuts?"

That hurts too, the idea that having siblings is maddening because of Jebediah. Jay soothes with that balm of saying he'd trust Jeb to watch his back and it brings a small smile out of Jeb. "Ah think that the best punishment is you give me the day off and add an extra hundred to my next paycheck. Ah'll definitely learn my lesson then." Jeb insists.

The corner of Doug's mouth turns up, and he pinches the bridge of his nose. "Maybe I'll reconsider about having Sam teach you how to tend bar. Maybe. I expect you to be on your best behavior."

Jay smiles as well at Jeb when he bold little shit asks for his 'punishment' in a specific manner. "Don't push yer luck! Well, he can't pour no drinks with open wounds all over him anyway. So. There's that. You can't be handlin' drinks with cut up knuckles from brawlin', neither. So keep that in mind, Sprout."

"You won't do anythin' mean to me right now, will ya, Jay? Ah'm already all busted up." He teases at Jay when he's told not to push his luck. His eyes widen when Doug says he might reconsider having Sam teach him about bartending. "You mean that? If Ah don't get in any more fights, you might let me learn?" He looks like a kid in a candy shop, eyes practically sparkling.

Doug rolls his eyes upward, and says, "Well, Sam has a say in *that*." Wuss. He's wussing out. Wussy wuss wuss wuss.

Jay smiles and shakes his head at Jebediah when he brightens suddenly. "Uh huh, now you're just /full/ of pep, aren't ya?" He rolls his eyes and grabs the clipboard that he abandoned earlier, walking back to the doorway Doug hangs in. Jay wraps an arm around Doug's stomach as he nears side by side, coming in close. "You mess with Sam's bar and you'll have another brawler with destructive powers in here to argue with."

Doug looks up at Jay, and then reaches up to boop his snoof. "It's *my* bar. I own it. Sam just tends it."

"This is the weirdest punishment ever. Doug, Ah can't decide if you're really bad at this honorary big brother stuff or excellent at it. Jay and Sam ain't never take me out and teach me somethin' new to learn me a lesson for fightin'." Jeb says, and vibrates excitedly in place because he wants to hug Doug but also, they're doing some cute stuff and Jebediah doesn't wanna interrupt any of that. "Ah'll behave. Ah won't start no more fights, Ah promise."

Jay scrunches his face over the boop, then smiles smoothly. "And it's *yer* stage. You own it. But Ah /own/ it. Don't you start gettin' things backwards with yer employees, Baby. Place is only as good as its people." The conversation light rather than combative. Coupled with a merry wink at Doug. "Hear that, he promises." Turning around to look back at his brother rather than the man he's dating. "You got yerself knocked around and cut up. Sometimes a fight's jus' a fight an' that's enough. Yer a grown ass man now. We don't gotta police you like yer twelve."

Doug crosses his arms, and looks away. "Hmph. Somebody's sleeping on the couch tonight. …It's probably me. I'm probably the one on the couch."

That's cue enough for Jebediah to try and squeeze past his brother and his brother's lover to get out of there before either of them change their mind on not doing anything about Jeb getting into a fight. "Probably not, Jay don't like to sleep alone." He teases as he escapes, trying not to catch a wing on his way out.

Jay grins and squeezes Doug's side. "Like Ah ever leave you alone all night on the couch." Wings compress while Jeb tries to squeeze by and Jay's cheeks heat up a little bit, shooting the brunet a look. "An' like you do? You prolly snuggle with Sam every night."

"So, Wings," Doug says, "When are you gonna move in with me officially?" His eyebrows go up. "You know, be my official 'roommate'. You spend half your time here anyway."

Oh this is definitely a conversation that Jay and Doug were meant to have alone. "You're just jealous because you kicked me out and can't cuddle with me anymore so I'm giving it all to Sam, that's what it really is." Jeb teases and then slips from the room to busy himself elsewhere so the pair could talk.

"Ah didn't kick you out, you little shit!" Jay calls after Jeb and his retreating form, then blows out a breath with an affectionately angled smile, turning his attention completely on Doug. "Ah spend half my time here because Ah work here," Jay claims, inaccurately, smiling at Doug. And he knows it, too. Immediately conceeding with a tilt of his head to the side. "Yer roommate, huh?"

Doug just raises his eyebrows, and says, "You can have your own room and everything." He raises his eyebrows, the corner of his mouth turning up.

Jay unlatches his arm from around Doug's waist, stepping back into his tiny office. "That's a real complicated subject with me. But, if we're gonna have that chat" Jay turns around, leaning his hips back against Doug's desk in order to face the man again, hands braced to either side of him. "maybe we should have another one. About how we're feelin' about this." Jay gestures back and forth between them.

Doug pauses, and then closes the door behind them, lest someone eavesdrop. He leans against the door, and meets Jay's eyes. "Well," He says, "All told, I'm feeling pretty good about it. There are rough patches, of course, and there will be, we're two different people who want different things. But, I'm having a good time."

A corner of Jay's mouth lifts higher than the other. He doesn't have a liar's bone in his body, and doesn't try to often deal in them, anyway. It's never like Doug's holding him hostage because of his power, though they have fights over what Doug sees, Jay never tries to lie to him. Once he figured out that it was best to be absolutely face value with him, it got easier for the feathered man.

"Yeah, we have good times. An' we have a lot of disagreements about really basic stuff." He agrees evenly, relaxed. "Slow seems to be workin' for us. But now yer askin' me to move in with you, that's a little more serious. Do you want us to be more serious?"

"I'm *offering*, I'm not asking. I'm not going anywhere even if you say no. I just figured…" Doug handwiggles, "Sometimes you have a difficult time with the people you've moved in with, and I guess… I can offer you a lot more independence, and a lot less stress? At least, I hope I can."

Jay tilts his head to one side, his eyes cutting in that direction, too. Doug isn't wrong. "Yeah. Vic an' Kell are hard to be around. An' Max…" Jay hesitates here and purses his lips together, a ripple of motion flows through his feathers. He admits, begrudgendly, "Scares me, but he don't live there. Ah stay fer Kale. He needs me, an' Ah need him back."

Doug seems to regard that as being the sign that this discussion is tabled, for now. "All right." He says, holding up a hand. "We'll come back to this later, then." He raises an eyebrow. "I guess I'm going to bed, then." He moves to open the office door, and slip out.

"Want some company?" Jay offers, easy as breathing, and completely contrary to his previous comments. "Kale's in Attilan raght now with Max." Because that makes it better.

"Sure." Doug says. …Which means Jay gets to sit there while Doug spends an hour in bed reading about some dude named 'Koschei the Deathless'. In Russian.


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