1965-08-12 - Lightning, Petals and Feathers, Oh my!
Summary: Carson meets Jay at the community center while dropping off a delivery, Elmo runs away from another grandmother trying to set him up with a life. Shenanigans ensue.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
elmo carson jay 


The community center and Carson's garden went hand in hand with each other and Carson didn't quite frequent the community center per se, but he did occasionally deliver cartons of fresh vegetables (with their chemical make up bumped so that they were more filling and could feed someone for an entire day who couldn't find much more to eat) over on his own. Sometimes, he also coerces someone else to come by to pick it up, mostly because the community center has people in it and Carson is bad at people.

Carson is attempting to pick up the last of the wooden crates he's left outside the door, this one full of various vegetables, heavy potatos being the culprits of difficulty here. His curly hair, all askew, a few petals and various leaves sticking out of it and always, the smudge of dirt on his forehead, as if he had wiped his hand there. "You know, weight lifting is said to boost dopamine and serotonin, making it a natural antidepressant but you're just frustrating me." He grumbles at the box, as if it can hear how inconvenient it is being.

"It's probably only a natual antidepressant if you can actually lift what yer liftin'," Jay's voice comes out of left field as the red-head appears in the doorway from somewhere on the other side. his serene smile in place and eyes dancing with easy warmth, the young man is barefoot currently and has his long hair shoved into a half ponytail to stay out of his eyes. He has an aura of 'I've been working' about him from the faint dampness around his temples and sheen on his skin from the heat. No air conditioning in the center, that's for sure. Wings behaving themselves behind him, held high and broadly relaxed, he's dressed in a worn out pair of blue jeans and a pale green tanktop tucked unto them, arms and back bare, though the thin glint of a silver chain is clear around his neck, tucked under his shirt.

"Need a hand, there, pal?" Jay offers before taking over, hanging in the doorway comfortably.

Carson forgets for a minute how to speak English, speak at all or breathe as the young man meets him in the door way. Mostly because plants don't do a lot of talking and they aren't that gorgeous. "Sweet potatoes belong in the same family as morning glories, you know, while regular potatoes, they belong to the same family as tomatoes." He looks down but not quite in embarassment but instead at the frustrating box. "They are also meant to be eighty percent water and twenty percent solids but this batch appears to be solidly solid. That is to say, yes. I could use a hand. Could you take the other side, please?"


This new information about sweet potatoes is somewhat…earth shaking to Jay, who is very familiar with both of those things. His expression shifts to curiosity, head tilting in a vaguely birdlike motion. "so, wait, Ah thought morning glories were poisonous? Or is that jus' their seeds? Dang." Jay thinks on it, then shakes it all away with a smile returning when Carson accepts his help. Rolling off the door jam with his shoulder, the winged young man chortles and bends down to grip the crate by the sides. "T'be fair, water is /heavy/. Y'all ever try t'move a water bed what ain't drained?" Picking the crate up as if it were full of cotton candy, Jay whistles low as he straightens up to his full height beside Carson, smiling. "It's a chore. C'mon. Miss Ethel gon' be real happy to see these."

"As far as morning glories go my fine feathered friend, its only the seeds that are poisonous. You can actually eat the flowers." Carson explains, a little relieved that the fact doesn't seem to drive the red head off. "I cannot say that I have.. I.." Carson watches as the other man lifts the box as if it were filled with air, with one finger up in pause as he had been about to tell the other man that the box was heavier than it looked. "Water beds were originally called pleasure pits and were also invented solely to combat bed sores."

He follows after Jay into the community center, shoulders going a little stiffer. "I do hope she does. I boosted their nutrient content. Each vegetable in here is enough to feed the average young adult for a day."

"Well, that's a relief," Jay says with levity of morning glories as he totes the box inside and back toward the currently empty kitchen, though there is a very large silver pot on the boil, simmering with its lid on. "Pleasure pits? Fer bed sores? Ah feel like…those things mighta come at different times? Also, sorta gross. Mah parents had one fer years. Never gonn' think about /that/ the same way." Exhaling a soft puff of breath initially born to be a laugh, green eyes flash with humor as he looks back at Carson.

Jay sets the crate down on the counter and immediately starts unpacking veggies near the enormous basin sink that belongs in a laundry more than it does a kitchen. They make due. "Oh yeah? These are all yers?" He pauses, picking up a potato and turning it over in his hands curiously. Then something occurs to him, putting the veggie down quickly and turning to Carson. "Wait! Are you Mister Flores?"

"I believe that was just the first official name they gave it. It was just a bed for patients with bed sores at first, and then they, as they often do decided that this thing needs a shorter name and well, that is what they decided on." Carson explains and then laughs a little when Jay says that his parents had one. "Well, how many siblings do you have, Mister.. uhm, darn. We haven't formally introduced ourselves have we? Mister Gorgeous? Is that a good placeholder for now? Mister Bird. No, I don't like that one. Not descriptive enough, Mister Very Beautiful Bird. I like that one better but it's a lot of words. Mister Beautiful Bird, and then the very part can be unspoken but understood." Carson rambles for a minute, holding his chin in his hand while he thinks of a proper name to call Jay, as everything that leaves Carson's lips, it's almost as if he's just stating facts rather than flirting. "Oh, sorry, I've gotten a bit carried away. The question was if you had many siblings, because if you do then I would say that 'pleasure pit' probably wasn't a far off name."

Carson nods when Jay asks if these are all his. And then startles a little when Jay knows his name. "Well, I would say that Mister Flores is my father but Flores is my surname. You can just call me Carson. Or.. Ah, there was a little handsome guy who came by my garden who told me of 'code names' and I believe I've been assigned Petals. Either one I will answer to. Did you like Mister Beautiful Bird or do you happen to have a name already?" This though, Carson smiles at Jay about. This time, that's flirtation, really awkward flirtation. Clearly, Carson doesn't do this much.

Jay is about to answer Carson's question on his name, honest to his sweet, unforgiving, petty, abrahamic god. But before he has the opportunity to do so, Carson goes on his odd naming ramble, which leaves Jay rather confounded at first. Mister Gorgeous? Well. I /do declare/. Jay's blushes in Southern, just around his ears. Shock turns to gentle bemusement eventually while Carson spirals. Jay pivots against the counter, laying his hand flat on it right beside the crate, the other plants itself on his hip while he watches Carson just…go. A gentle ruffle of his feathers shiver behind him, whispering their own private chuckles. "Well, Ah mean, Ah see what you mean with the lotta words. Lahke the water bed. If it helps, y'all could call me 'BB' fer short, though Ah ain't a bird, feathers aside." He's not making fun of the guy. At least not in any cruel fashion. Just some good-natured humor as he fully enables this frame of thought, then offers his hand out to Carson. "Or you could jus' call me 'Jay'."

Kindly giving him the alternative, Jay's eyes dance with warm amusement. "Ah got ten siblin's, like every good southern man oughta. Yer pretty sharp, ain'tcha Carson? Or do ya like Petals more? Ah know some folks are more fond of their mutant name."

Elmo's instantly-recognizable voice can be heard outside the kitchen, telling someone something. "Yeah I got" they interrupt him. "Okay, y" Interrupted again. "That'sOKAY! I'm trying to" Nope, still interrupted. "Uh, I'll be right back." Then he's fleeing into the kitchen, a little wild-eyed. Carson and Jay are there! "Guys, oh thank God, hi." He does not notice either of them seeming a little flustered. Elmo doesn't notice things, come on. He ducks behind the counter.

"BB. Well, of course you're not a bird but you do have wings and you are beautiful and those two descriptors can describe birds, so ergo.. I mean, I could think of many other wonderful names for you but I might lose the wings and really… the wings… so amazing." Carson says, spreading his hands apart to gesture at Jay's fingers. He does notice the faint blush on Jay's ears and it makes him smile, slightly, shyly. "Jay works too, I do like that and um… well, I think that I might like Petals when you're the one saying it, your accent is lovely. Where down south do you hail from, Jay? North Carolina?"

He takes the hand offered to him but a beat later than he means to. Shaking it firmly. "How did you know me? You pegged my surname right away and I don't think my potato there told you the answer. Unless you are also a potato whisperer on top of being a gorgeous man with equally as gorgeous wings. That's a rather odd secondary mutation."

Who the hell is this guy?

Jay whispers a hard exhale of a laugh shocked straight out of his chest, ripples of motion whispering through his feathers as they're complimented. "Good Lord, man. You always this bold? Dang." his words sound complimentary as Carson takes his hand. That ridiculously soft, warm hand. Jay grips it firmly, without muscling him around. "Kentucky. Cumb'rland mountains, actually. An' Ethel's always talkin' about you an' yer gar…den?"

The hesitation because Elmo appears and Jay's attention goes right to him, lous and clear. "El? You hidin' from someone?"

An older lady, grandmother to a couple of mutant kids, pokes her head into the kitchen. She looks around, not seeing Elmo. Hmfs, tells Carson and Jay, "You boys be good, now," and leaves.

Elmo whispers, "Is she gone?" not daring to peek over the counter yet.

"Bold? I was just speaking the truth. Are you not honestly aware that you are the most gorgeous person in this room and that your wings are beautiful as well as your voice? You must know, right?" And Carson looks generally confused. How can Jay not know these things? Carson holds onto Jay's hand a little longer and then takes it with his other, turning Jay's hand over so that it's palm up if Jay does not resist. "I would have expected your hands to be rough but they are very soft." Carson's are the opposite, rough and calloused from working in the dirt all day, picking and shelling vegetables, hoeing and rowing and cutting and all of that.

Carson cants his head to the side when Jay draws attention to Elmo. "Oh! Sparkplug! This is the small handsome guy I told you about. He named me Petals." He nods to the question. "Yes, you are very safe."

Someone's granny comes in, answering the question for Jay as his head whips up. Nope! Wasn't looking down under the counter at anything! He smiles, just a little forced. All feathers puffing up slightly behind him, startled and trying to play it cool while Carson investigates his palm, and Jay lets him turn it over like a palm-reader. A thin tendril of bright hair falls out of his small ponytail, arcing across Jay's brow. "Always, ma'am."

In lieu of answering Carson's inquisitive questions, Jay too tilts his head toward Elmo, then arches a brow to Carson. "This is the guy? Well. That makes sense." Jay looks back at Elmo and queries

Jay says, "Petals? Really? Also, why're you hidin' from Ol' Miss Bessie?""

Elmo raises up a little, peering over the counter. Coast is clear. He stands up cautiously. "Uh. She's kinda decided I'd make one of her daughters a great husband." He's red all the way from his hairline down his neck. "Got a trade 'n all, yannow. Hi, Jayl. Hi, Petals." He grins sheepishly at the two of them. Then, "Hey! Jay, you met Carson. He grows these gevaldik plants." And then he finally notices Carson's got one of Jay's hands. His eyebrows go up. "Am, I, uh, interrupting?"

"You are only interrupting my fascination with Jay here's palms as they are quite soft, shockingly so." Carson just realizes now that he's still got Jay's hand, pointer finger gliding along Jay's palm in fascination. "So, in essence, no you aren't interrupting anything of importance at all, Sparkplug." Carson finally gives Jay his hand back, politely folding up Jay's fingers, patting the top of his hand and then guiding it back to his side as if he were putting something back in its rightful place.

"Ah, Petals. I can show you why he picked that." Carson fishes in his pocket, pulling out three different petals, he holds up the purple one to Jay, closing one eye before holding up the white one instead. He places the other's back in his pocket, clearly unable to make a decision between the two, he folds his fingers over them, holding up one finger from his other hand, he steps a couple steps away from Jay, opens his palm and blows on his hand.

The petals multiply before their eyes and wrap Jay in a gentle swirling breeze of purple and white.

Smile gentling in understanding, Jay nods to Elmo. "Yer a good lookin', unmarried man in Manhattan with a good job an' a trade. It's a wonder y'ain't always dodgin' mommas tryin' t'give ya their daughters' numbers." He looks down at his hand in Carson's, his wings fwip but are generally pretty subtle about it. He doesn't blush or anything to make him look guilty, and as his hand is given back, he claps Carson on the shoulder heartily. "Yeah, Ah was jus' helpin' him get his load in here. Ethel's gonn' be real happy to see it came. She can't stop talkin' about these sweet potatoes. Which!" Jay grabs one and uses it to point at Elmo, smiling. "Are related t'morning glories." He winks at Elmo and puts the root veggie down with the rest on the counter to be scrubbed.

Still unpacking the delivery while he watches Carson decide between his … flower petals? Huh, okay. Like watching a magic trick closely, he isn't paying much attention any more to the veggies while he unloads them, attention raptly set on those colorful bits. And with a breath, there's suddenly hundreds!

Shocked by the stream of color that comes at him, Jay's wings start and cock out to either side, as wide as they dare in the cramped kitchen space in a soft hush of feather friction, challenging the path those petals are on, whorling around him. "Whoa!" His eyes wide and hands lifted loosely in mild defense. He relaxes quickly, however, when they don't cut him apart. Jay reached out to try to grab one out of the air, still bewildered and awed by the power.

"Eehhh it happens," Elmo admits, blush cooling now that Miss Bess isn't here to talk up her daughter's charms. He gives Jay a sideways little smile when he calls him good-looking. "Morning glories, ya don't say." Carson does his trick with the petals, and Elmo grins outright, watching color bloom and swirl around Jay. "Yep. That's why. It was either that or Facts. I thought Petals was prettier. Looks great on him, don't it, Petals? Not that he needs it, he's gorgeous enough already."

Carson transfers the two original petals between his fingers, not unlike someone rolling dice across them while he watches Jay's reaction to the move. "It's not exactly very useful in a combat role, but, it's distracting and makes gorgeous men like the pair of you more gorgeous. He holds his hand up at Elmo, the purple and white petals caught on his fingers and with a flick of his wrist, they seemingly change to a light blue and yellow. He holds them out on his pointer and middle finger, like a princess in a cartoon might do for a butterfly to perch there and he blows them towards Elmo, giving Elmo a dose of the same attack, swirling him in blue and yellow instead.

The petals settle among Jay's feathers, making quite the mess, Carson will need to sweep up later. "I feel as though anything on Jay looks great." Carson says matter-of-factly. "Do you know, that it is said, if you look a red head in the eye for more than ten seconds you'll fall in love?"

The stream of petals ceases—or rather, redirects while they settle in Jay's feathers and all over the kitchen in a scattered mess. Jay holds on to the bunch of petals he was able to grab onto, laughing under his breath while Elmo is subjected to the very same. Green eyes aglow, he shakes his head at Carson. "Hey man, it ain't about useful. You got a gift. An' /this/?" He holds up a potato from its nest of bright petals. "This is more 'n makin' up fer it. The petals are /fun/. Don't you tell me that fun ain't important. Morale is important. Makin' people happy is important."

Finally, finally, Carson gets a loud flush of color from Jay, and a laugh as well, the guy looks away while he finishes unpacking the crate. "Is that so? Ah ain't heard it before, but Ah like it. Guess Ah gotta be more careful who Ah look in the eyes."

"Oy!" Elmo complains, as he gets his own storm of petals. "Ethel's gonna plotz, all these petals in her kitchen." But he's still grinning. It's just good-natured kvetching. "My favorite colors, how'd ya know, Carson?" A joke; he only wears bright blue and yellow all the damn time. He turns a hand palm-up to catch a drift of vivid, silky petals, then lets them slide off in a miniature stream. "Yeah, well, did you know lightning can be red? Caused by upper atmosphere ionization." He goes to help Jay. "We choppin' these?"

"I suppose you are right, BB, I am also not a combat mutant. I grow my garden and talk to trees and make handsome men more beautiful by surrounding them in petals. I do not fight, unless you step on my tomato plants, then I make them bite you back." Carson admits and smiles. "Well, I was going to offer to sweep them up but look how much more beautiful they make the place. Or that might just be the pair of you." He pockets the petals in his hand. "You definitely should be careful as that's probably why red heads were painted as such sinful creatures in the olden times, but you can't help that you're as beautiful as you are, especially with those green eyes! Such a rarity, you are a diamond among common rocks, Jay."

"You may chop them up, though each one contains enough nutrients to feed the average young adult for an entire day, so anything she happens to make with them will feed more people with fewer servings. I was hoping too that perhaps, she could cut down on the meat consumption here as well, with these boosted nutrients but I guess we shall see." Carson admits, worrying his lower lip, this is clearly a topic of concern to him. "Ah, and separate the brocolli out for her, I promised to bring buy some that tasted like candy to hook some of the pickier eaters on it."

Carson looks over at Elmo with his broad eyebrows raised, Elmo had taught Carson something. "I did not! Thank you! I did however know that lightning is about 54,000 degrees, which means that you and Jay here are just /slightly/ hotter than lightning."

Jesus H Christ, Carson Flores.

Jay shakes his head while Elmo kvetches about the mess, setting the heavy wood crate aside easily and leaving the pile of veggies on the counter, separated by type. "Ah ain't even gonn' worry about the mess, El. It's beyond hope raght now, so might as well enjoy it." His advice practical and low-stress, as can be expected from a southern fellow. "Good lord, you two are full'a fun facts, an' /you/," Jay points at Carson with a stalk of broccoli. "Sound more an' more lahke mah boss. He's always puttin' facts about art in conversation.—Ah was jus' gonna scrub these puppies up an' Ethel can use 'em how she likes. Nobody touches that woman's stewin' pot unless you want yer fingers smacked by a wooden spoon. Ah guess some people could be int' that." Jay flashes a smile to each of them, cheeky.

"Carson Flores, yer mutant name shoulda been 'Rascal', the way you talk. You always divyin' out compliments like this? It's a wonder you ain't got pounded into the ground by half a dozen men." He shakes his head, trying to cast it off, but there is still a ripple of worry in his tone. Until Carson whips out the comment about temperature relation between he and Elmo and lightning and Jay can't help himself any longer. He just /stares/ at Carson, his expression a mix of wonder, befuddled humor and delight that he could even exist. "Where the hell are you from, man? Yer somethin' else. You gotta melt hearts an' pants left an' raght."

Elmo can't take that cheeky smile from Jay and the compliments from Carson, and covers his face, blushing again. "And, uh, and lightning's way hotter than the surface of the sun. Only fifty-five hundred Celsius there, practically balmy." Cracks the hell up when Jay says Carson must melt hearts and pants, and leans on the counter, laughing into his hand. "Ain't he great, Jayl? Can we keep 'im?"

"Well no, not al-" Now it's Carson's turn to blush, tan cheeks tinting bright red, curls bouncing when he ducks his head down to hide his face when he talks about Carson being pounded into the ground and then Jay gives him that stare and god, is it pretty. His breath catches in his throat and he stammers something that sounds like it tried hard to be a sentence but fell short, "I.. an.. well, you.." before he gives up, flushing even brighter. "Well, you see, this.. fact spewing tends to turn them off before we can get that far, I believe, I'm not very good at talking to people as I generally practice at socialization with plants and I'm, blessedly, not attracted to them. I was merely stating facts that you are very beautiful, Jay and that Elmo is very handsome." He looks down at his shoes, scuffing one lightly on the floor. "That last line was a bit less than innocent though, wasn't it? No less true, though, the pair of you are certainly a fire hazard."

"Though, on the matter of melting hearts, Jay, you have definitely just proven that fact true. You should definitely be far more careful who you fixed that brilliant gaze on." That's another less than innocent line, Carson and you know it. "Lightning contains a million volts of electricity, Elmo, which is exactly what happens to my chest any time I look at either of you." The delivery falters a little that time, with Carson's cheeks so red and his voice stammering.

"Keep him?" Jay smiles back at Elmo when he asks if they can keep the shy guy. Jay turns the water on in the basin bin and starts scrubbing potatoes with a stiff brush with all the idle familiarity of someone who has done this a fair amount. Steam rising from the water. "Keep him like a house plant? Lahke a peach tree, cept instead of peaches it doles out juicy compliments?" playing along with Elmo's joyful amusement.

His attention falls back on Carson, eyes shining with warmth over how /red/ he's gotten. "Maybe shrinkin' violet is a better name. You ain't so used to takin' it, huh?" damnit Jay, that's phrasing /again/! twice now has he done that, entirely unaware. The dumps a potato onto the other side of the deep sink and grins at Carson, that single dimple flashing briefly. "Lord. Now he's a poet. He's dangerous, El. The only /factual/ thing Ah know about lightnin' is when it hits sand, it makes glass tubes that look wild. An' what it looks like after it strikes a tree down. Ah ain't a lot of use on the trivial pursuit team like y'all are."

"And facts," Elmo says to Jay, grinning in delight. He grabs a potato to wash it off, too. The big sink is convenient for that. "Compliments and facts. We'll put him in a sunny window, he'll make lots a both. Dangerous—ain't he, though." And then, oh, the sly look he gives Carson, his dark eyes narrowing with mischief. "I contain a million volts of electricity, boychik. Tell me a fact better than that."

Carson hides his face in his hands when Jay says he 'ain't so used to taking it' trying to take a deep breath like it might hide his blush but when he pulls his hands away, it's still there, making /his/ green eyes even greener as he smiles shyly at Jay. "No, I suppose I'm not. Truly, all of this hasn't won me anyone's affection." He says gesturing to himself. The two of them talk about keeping him and that blush is never fading now, unused to the attention of attractive men or even people in general. "Jay, that's a fantastic fact, have you seen these glass tubes? I am sure that you know more about things that Elmo and I have no knowledge of. Makes you no less astounding than either of us."

"Now, that is simply not fair, Elmo, for I do not know any more facts about you. I have told you what I know. That you are beautiful and brilliant." He teasingly complains at Elmo for not playing fair in their game of trivia. "Though, given opportunity, I would rather enjoy becoming an expert in the fields of both Elmo and Jay. Do you know of any master degree programs I could apply to?"

Jay gives Elmo such a look! A look of amusement which is clearly none the less playfully exasperated when Elmo pours it on thick as well. Jay can only whisper a chuckle as he scrubs up. Elmo helping him make short work of the delivery. "Very dangerous. You two. Good lord, Ah could just sit back an' watch you two go back an' forth. This is great. An' Ah /have/ seen one. Cousin of mine had one though Ah can't remember fer the life of me what they're called."

His addition to the conversation about lightning comes to a halt, and Jay glances between Elmo and Carson. Falling quiet, he can only shake his head a few times while his hands work quickly. "Masters, huh? Might wanna start with just the starter program first. Luckily, Ah think Ah might know a couple of experts in the fields. Don't know if you'd find at least one of 'em a whole lot of interesting, though." Jay casts a quick smile in Carson's direction. Amused, but flirtation isn't as hot and heavy on his end.

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