1965-08-18 - Never So Free
Summary: After weeks of not being able to sleep and his powers shorting out on him, Doug reaches a breaking point early one morning. He and Jay fight and after some very damning and un-Douglike words, Cypher decides he's done. With everything.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
douglas jay 


Doug has had yet another sleepless night. The morning sun is creeping up, and he's sitting in the living room with a book in front of him, bloodshot eyes belying his tiredness. He sits, and shifts, and then reaches down to pick up an empty cup, before he realizes there's nothing in it, and in a fit of pique, he hurls it, where it explodes. He scowls, and then goes back to his reading, turning a page with a thumb.

Jay may be a country man, but he hasnt risen with the sun in months. He's becoming more citified bit by bit. But when he rolls over in bed with the intention of throwing his arm over Doug's body and finds nothing, it sends the red-head shuffling out of bed, just as a crash comes from the living room. That wakes Jay up entirely and propels him quicker into the room, slightly more alert and still bed-rumpled. "Doug?" Concerned, Jay calls ahead.

A quick take of the quiet morning scene, Jay frowns worriedly when he notes the broken cup hurled across the room, feathers shaking out behind him.

Doug looks up, and grunts, before he looks back to his book. "I'm fine, Jay." He says, "I just dropped the cup, that's all." he flips another page, "I'll clean it up in just a minute." He narrows his eyes at the page, and then tosses the book down, before he rubs his temples. He hasn't slept, and he's been reading… his eyes hurt.

Rather than going right for Douglas, Jay slowly walks all the way around to the smear of damage on the wall and the broken pieces, bending down to grab one of the larger pieces and gestures toward Doug with it gently. "Dropped it all the way across the room?" rather than judgment, it's gentled concern that Jay eminates as he looks back at the pieces and sighs, picking them up. "Ah got it, Hon." Worry. Deep in his bones concern for what's happening to Doug—and he definitely thinks there is. Suspicions so loud one doesn't have to be Doug to see it.

Doug turns another page. He doesn't even really look up. Instead he says, "You worry too much. I'm fine Jay, I told you, just fine. I'll power through this." He says. "If I went to see a doctor they'd just put me on lithium or valium or something and I don't feel like drugging myself into a stupor."

Jay finishes carefully picking up the slivers of the cup with his fingers and stands up, fixing Doug with a press-lipped look that smacks loudly like he's a little hurt by the accusation. "Ah do worry, but not about this. Ah ain't sayin' drug yourself, but this is gettin' worse." Hand cupped with the pieces, he walks to Doug, stopping in front of him. "When was the last time you slept through the night?"

Doug looks up, and then gets up. "Quit being such a nanny." He says, before he puts his book back on the shelf. "Fuss, fuss, fuss." He raises his eyebrows at Jay, and then says, "You're always trying so hard to please people and nobody but me ever acknowledges how you bend over backward in order to make them happy. Don't you get tired of being ignored? Of being some kind of non-person?" He snorts. "…I know I am."

Jay arches an eyebrow at Doug, his look a lidded one, ready to defend his fussing, right up until the point that Doug points out with crystal clear acuity how ignored they are by most people. Jay's lips fall open slightly, wounded, if only slightly. He recovers enough to retort on his way to the bin to throw the pieces away. "You know that Ah do. But we ain't talkin' about that. We're talkin' about you an' how you obviously ain't okay. An' Ah notice /because Ah don't ignore you/, Douglas."

"And I told you, I'm fine. I can get through this… I can handle it." He gives Jay a narrow-eyed look. "You'd keep me bedridden so you could fuss over me. You make a big production of EVERYTHING, Jay Guthrie… like you get off on how much you're lowering yourself for other people's benefit. It's really kind of masochistic, isn't it?" He shakes his head, and pinches the bridge of his nose. "Look… look. I told you. I'm fine. Okay? I've got this under control."

A tinkling of shattered pieces in the bottom of the wastebasket, Jay furrows his brows at Doug, growing more defensive in the face of that critical accusation. "Are you even listenin' to yerself? Since when did this become about me, an' not about how obviously not-well y'are? You /ain't/ okay. You ain't no type of 'fine' raght now either." Jay plants one hand on the counter, his wings fluffing up behind him, lifting from his back in a posturing stance to make himself look larger. He gestures out with his free hand toward Doug in a sharp motion. "You look like hell, an' yer cuttin' down someone you know plain as day loves you. Yer bein' paranoid."

"No." Doug says, inhaling, "For the first time, I'm seeing things clearly. You should try living for yourself, Jay, and not for other people who're never gonna appreciate you enough. Maybe that includes me." His expression softens, briefly, and then he says, "I think maybe I'll try it. Looking out for number one. Doing the things I want to do, instead of the things I tell myself are the right thing." He looks up at Jay. "You COULD join me. But I can already tell you won't."

"What the hell are you talkin' about?" Jay shakes his head, fear creeping into the nuances of his posture. "Ah get joy from helpin' people get to where they need to be, even if they don't remember it was me, or return the favor, because that's what people are supposed t'do fer each other. That's what community's about. That's what /family/ is about." Using that word meaningfully, the word he knows Doug's used for his time at the school and the people he held closest. A value they shared. "An' so do you."

Combatting the fear he feels winding up in his chest, Jay pushes away from the counter and strides over to Doug, reaching out to try to clasp a hand around the nape of the man's neck. "Ah ain't in this jus' for you— Ah /am/ in this fer me, too. Yer the best thing that ever happened to me, Doug. You appreciate me. You know me. What about me's ever told ya that Ah give up on the folks Ah love?"

Doug looks up at Jay, and says, plainly, "Yeah? Family? Screw family. Where are they, huh? Not even a fuckin' phone call. They all forgot about me, Jay." He moves to carefully dislodge Jay's hand from the back of his neck, though Jay is stronger than he is. "…I think maybe it's about time I got something out of this world other than cooling my heels waiting for armageddon. I'll wring something out of it for you too, Red." He shakes his head. "Cause in the end, you're the only one who remembered me enough to give a good God-damn." Then he goes to grab his coat.

Jay's fingers dislodge after a moment of stubborn struggle where Jay's expression turns stern, bright eyes boring into Doug's. Joshua Guthrie had a stubborn streak. It's what helped him stay vigilent when things went south. "You know /damn/ well Ah ain't talkin' about yer folks when Ah say 'Family', Doug," Jay remarks, low in his register—quietly, but there is nothing soft about it. He's left standing there, in his shorts, turning in place when Doug goes to grab his coat. Scooping a hand through his hair, wings fwipping in aggitation behind him. "Where the hell you goin'? The sun's barely up, Baby. Come back to bed. Get some sleep."

Doug turns to look at Jay, and he says, "I know that's not who you're talking about. But do you see the X-Men around anywhere? My friends? Your brother? No. They all fuck off and I'm left as the reject. Well, I'm gonna show them what a *reject* can do." He pulls his coat on, and says, "The place is all yours. I'll be back whenever. Maybe." He shakes his head. "Someone conned you into thinking you have to be a doormat, Jay, that all you can do is put up with other people's bullshit and then try to kill yourself when they ruin everything. You shoulda showed them exactly who they were screwing with! I got conned, too… and I've had it!" He slams the door behind him.

For a hot second, Jay stands there, shocked, before the door opens up behind Doug and Jay calls back, "They might not be here, but /Ah/ am, Doug! They all left t'do what they gotta do, but who's the one who's still here? /Me/. An' who's the asshole walkin' off now? To go do what, exactly?" Barefoot, he's rushing down the stairs after Doug, heatedly. Still in his shorts. Screw the coat. "What're you doin'?"

"I dunno, maybe I'll go play the stock market." Doug says, "Maybe I'll take over the damn world. I haven't decided yet. But hell, it's a brand new day…" He pauses, as Jay chases after him, and then says, "Carpe diem."

Even Jay has got to know that one, and he rolls his eyes at Doug, gesturing out at the guy with a hand. "Y'think you might wanna take a shower, or maybe put on somethin' other than yer pajamas before ya go out seizin' the day?" An eyebrow arches up, sassily.

"I'll stop by a department store and go to a hotel." Doug says, as he continues to walk. "…If they can all walk away from it all and forget about the people they ever gave a shit about, so can I, right? Why do I have to be better than any of them? By the way, the out in public in your underwear look REALLY works for you, Red. You should stick with it."

"Because you /are/ better than 'em," Jay responds simply, then looks down at himself for a moment. Sighs and shrugs. "Underwear ain't the first thing folks gonn' notice about me. Ah'm fine with it." His wings stretch slightly in tense aggitation, despite his claim. He hesitates where he's at, then gives frustrated chase after Doug, muttering under his breath. "Damnit, Ramsey…" Wings stretch and unfold, taking to the air to fly after Doug to get ahead of him and drop down in front of the man once again, wings still stretched out wide to bar his way. "Yer gonn' hate yerself if you just run away, Doug. You don't mean it. Yer upset."

Doug pauses, and then straightens up. He reaches up to grab Jay by the chin, and right there in public, he kisses him on the mouth. It's hot, and it's hard, and he doesn't seem to give a damn who might see him. Then he lets him go. "No, Jay. I'm not upset."

"I'm MAD."

That takes the wind right out of Jay's sails. As determined as he is to make sure Doug doesn't do anything he might regret, he is rather weakened by that kiss. Sucking in a hard breath, he's surprised at first, then surges up against it fiercely—a lick of flame he keeps closely banked coming to life. Lucky for them it's ungodly early. For a flashing moment, Jay considers forcibly kidnapping Doug and finishing him off on the roof. Jay's fingers find their way around one of Doug's wrists with that intent. "You got every right t'be mad. Get pissed off. Do somethin' about it. But don't run away from me."

Doug pulls his wrist away. "I asked you to come with me. We could go anywhere, do anything, have the whole world on a plate. But you feel this… I don't know, masochistic need to be around these shitty, tiny little people with their shitty, tiny little lives, I don't know, because I assume that if you weren't around to nanny them they'd open their mouths during a rainstorm and drown. So instead I'm just supposed to… what, Jay? Sit and be a well-behaved, respectable loser because you have a sentamental attachment to people with all the redeeming value of barnacles stuck to your ass? I'm not running away from you. I'm running toward something else. You just won't follow me."

"You don't believe any of that," Jay shakes his head, worry seeping back into his gaze as he searches Doug's expression. "You don't believe any of that. You believe in upliftin' peoplethese people/our/ people. You don't sound like you. You sound like—like someone else." You sound like those brotherhood posters. You sound like Max. You sound like the people we disagree with. "This ain't you. Ah'm full of flaws, but Ah ain't the one yer mad at, but yer tellin' me to choose between you an' everythin' that /both/ of us believe in."

"It's crazy, Doug, do you hear what yer sayin'?" Jay adds in disbelief.

Doug crosses his arms, and then for a second, his expression softens. It looks like Jay had reached him. But then he says, "Sorry man. I just can't hear Xavier's message anymore, over the sound of him honking like a goose while he sticks his dick in Emma Frost. I'm not mad at you — I'm not. But you just…" He shakes his head, "I'll hand you a better world on a plate whether you want one or not. Bye, Jay." He ducks around him and keeps walking. "I don't think I'll be hard to find."

Jay turns around as Doug steps around him. Wings fold up and sag against his back. "Ah…don't give a damn about Xavier. Ah give a damn about you." He'd follow, but for whatever reason, his legs are sort of numb and stuck there. "Come home, Doug." He gives a last ditch plea at the blond's back.

"…No." Jay. "This time, you come with me… or keep using yourself up for them. You're a resourceful guy," he says, throwing his arms out, "You can find me anytime you want! In the meantime, I don't think I've ever felt so free… ever."

As much as people might try to claim the opposite, Jay has matured some since he got here. He doesn't sulk or immediate fall apart. Sure, his eyes get a little misty and his chest feels tight, but he also knows he can't just drop everything—he does feel responsible for others. Hell, his younger brother is still here. But he can't stand in Doug's way either. At least not without knocking him out and forcing him back. He's not his elder brother, either. "Ah'll find you!" It's not a threat, but a promise and a plea sewn into one.

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