1965-09-16 - Not the Business of Decent Men
Summary: Doug give Xavier's the finger by showing up at the lake while Jay is trying to work a few things out. The two finally have a moment to talk since Doug's … 'change'.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
douglas jay 

There are many coping mechanisms to indulge in when things get rough. Some of them are worse than others. Some drink. Some get high. Some pick a race to genocide. Some throw themselves into work. Some hoard newspapers.

Jay has a hard time abusing substances, and he's already been throwing himself into work and community, so it's hard to amp that up. He leaves the threatening genocide for his best friend and now his boyfriend. Jay also tried the suicidal attempts to bring the pain to the surface, but he's lost the taste for it since his best friend brainwashed him psychically to not do it again. So, instead, he throws himself into physical things to try to bleed it out. He broke a string on his guitar two nights ago, so he decided maybe something else would be in order.

The summer days melting away into autumn, sun setting a little earlier each day, it gets close to dusk and a red figure rises high above the treetops on a property in Salem North, New York. Icarus pushes his limits, challenging his top speed as he climbs straight into the sky over the lake in the back of Xavier's. His body taut as it contorts as he dodges sharply side to side, dodging imaginary obstacles and spinning around to tighten up arial acrobatics lessons he had learned in the last year. He falls and swoops dramatically, trying to mimic the blink-of-an-eye front rolls that some birds of prey master in mid-air, wings twisting to their limits as his limbs pull in and stretch out again to assist. Not always succeeding, he falters and tips or veers off the course, then corrects again and climbs high once more to try it again.

Trying to work himself into exhaustion. Jay sweats through his dark green tank top as he climbs up high into the sky again. Veer right. Spin left. Gain altitide. Backward flip. He dives down, headfirst, toward the lake at a sharp angle. Unflinching, a blur of motion. SNAP, his wings crack out from their deep cutting angle just before his hits the water and send the man practically skipping across it. Ripples scatter across the water with the impact of air pressure, sending out a wake behind him. Sure, Jay can't move as fast as his older brother, but he has far, far more fine tuning.

…Doug is probably not who Jay wanted to see. And to be fair, the school is probably one of the last places that you'd think he would come, so it's a refuge from the familiar…

But then when Jay flies over a copse of trees on an outcropping out into the lake, Doug is there, sitting on an old fishing dock, bare feet in the water, his hands leaned back behind him, before he raises one and waves. He has a smile on his face… but it's a hard smile.


Jay's expression was set in firm concentration, but shot wide open in a comical array of shock when he noticed the LAST person he expected here of all places. shooting across the water like a skipping stone, one of his feet shifts in a lapse of concentration, dipping his bare toes in the water and creating unexpected drag.

Jay jack-knifes left and dangerously dips one hand in the water as well to try to 'catch' himself. Wingtip just skimming off the surface. It's very nearly disasterous at that high speed, and Icarus flails for several breath-holding seconds before he lifts back into the air again and twists around in a fluid arch of his back to send himself serpentine back into the sky. Lower, this time. Slower.

He takes a second to search the area to make sure Doug is aloneor rather, to see if anyone else knowsthen comes about, landing behind Doug in one of those ridiculous picturesque 'walked straight out of heaven' strolls and keeps walking as his wings close up behind him. Winded, Jay's chest rises and falls noticably while his heart hammers away for a couple different reasons. Sole attention focused on the back of Doug's curly head. "Dougie?" Hopeful, but he knows it's likely for nothing. The yearning in his voice is audible but there is a core of steel that wasn't there before. Resolute. Ready to stand and fight.

"You're surprised to see me." Doug says, looking over his shoulder at Jay. "You forget — I grew up in Salem Center. I know every landmark, every woods trail like the back of my hand. They'd have to send one of their trackers to find me before I got onto the grounds, and they don't consider me enough of a threat to bother."

He turns and looks back out over the water, and he lets out a breath. "Nature's first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower, but only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, so dawn goes down to day. …Nothing gold can stay."

"I had such happy memories here when I was a boy. I was so STUPID.

Jay's brows both pop up in a minute approximation of a shrug while he looks Doug over. "Ah didn't ferget," truth. "Ah just didn't think you'd come here of all places." Truth.

Didn't expect it. But he is glad for it.


His bare feet stop on the planks behind Doug. Just behind him. Jay's fingers twitch at his side, then reach forward to try to hook some of them in some of Doug's hair, pulling through them. "Frost?" Jay breathes out. Yeah, he knows gloomy poets. What? "You weren't stupid. You were young. You /have/ happy memories here."

Doug shakes his head, and says, "Time adds tarnish to all things. I used to see this place as an island, a refuge… now I know that it's just a cage, a box we put ourselves in, and eventually they'll come to take it away, and mutantkind will have nothing."

Doug leans back into the touch of Jay's hand, and he closes his eyes, before he says, "You're finally getting some steel in your backbone. But there's nothing here to save. You could come with me… be a part of what I'm going to build. But you won't… because you have to be somebody's martyr. You have to suffer for SOMEBODY."

He sets his jaw. "I came here because I figured you'd come here and I wanted to talk to you without your un-trained hangers-on falling all over themselves trying to protect you. Poor, fragile Joshua Guthrie… always in need of protecting. What a delicate flower you are."

"Is it a tarnish or patina?" Jay has to ask, breathing out tension when Doug leans back into his hand. Fingers dive deeper, sliding along Doug's scalp to cradle the back of his skull. "That's where Ah think we see it differently here. This place ain't supposed to be a box. That's why it's important we grow past what's here. Like you did. Like Sam, an' Bobby an' all them did. The important part is that y'all had a place to grow up strong, then /get out/ in the world where folks need you." He sighs and shakes his head. "You get so mad about yer team not stickin' together, but the world needs y'all out in it. Not stuck t'gether in a clump. Ah admire you fer how much of the world you seen…that you didn't just stay here. You have that courage in ya. Nobody is /forced/ to stay here, but y'still gotta have courage to step out there. It ain't easy. You know it ain't easy."

Jay purses his lips while Doug comes at him again, looking down at the man while he closes his eyes. "Ah got resolve, Doug, an' you know Ah do—stop tryin' to beat me up. Kindness ain't a weakness. Some part of you still /knows/ that." The fingers cradling the back of Doug's head slide down the nape of his neck and slide around his collar, intent on crawling down Doug's chest as Jay crouches down, balanced on the balls of his feet. "Ah'm the least delicate person you know. Don't fault them fer caring about me. Or caring about /you/."

Doug narrows his eyes, and then says, "Do I get a phone call? Do I even get a christmas card? No, I get forgotten about… or treated like a stranger." Doug curls his fingers into the wood of the dock. He's stiff, as Jay touches him, the motions of a man who wants to yield to it at least in part, but isn't going to allow himself to. "You cut me more than you knew, with the things you said. I hid it. It all boiled down to one thing — I wasn't enough. I'm never *enough*."

"Well I'll show the whole world just how much I am. And I'll never be not enough for anybody… not ever again."

Jay's arm slides over Doug's chest, planting his knees down between the tense arms Doug leans against while Jay holds on to him. "You ain't that easy to forget, Doug. An' Ah…didn't know."

Truth. Apology. Regret.

"Ah was afraid. Ah am convinced you can have any person you wanted, an' you comin' fer me was a shock. Yer raght. You are raght." Jay affirms solidly, tightening his grasp around the bredth of Doug's chest, leaning in to touch his forehead against the back of Doug's head while he speaks in hard, resolute, /honest/ syllables. His confession. "You intimidated me, an' Ah was afraid of getting hurt, so Ah kept you off. Ah kept tellin' mahself you didn't really mean t'be with /me/, but Ah was a good rebound off mah brother. Ah didn't see what you had buried cause Ah didn't want to dig fer it."

Fair fingers curl and the bar of his arm tightens as he pulls in close, taking a deep, selfish breath in against Doug's hair. "You. /Are/. Enough. And Ah am gonna prove it to you. Ah am gonna do raght by you an' fight you for it every step if Ah gotta."

"…But you can't be with the person I am now." Doug says, his voice dark, as he looks back out over the lake. Then he snorts. "Fucking Sam. I thought maybe the guy I trusted, the guy who I'd follow anywhere… but somewhere along the line I guess that Sam died, god knows where, and all that got left in his place was some shiftless, worthless asshole who treated me like dirt — to hell with your brother."

"And what precisely do you think you're going to do?"

"Why not?" Jay counters, his tone gone quiet, but still easily heard from the near distance. "Sometimes all ya need is to start over, new. How many people get that? Show me who y'are." Answeing both the first comment and the last question in one swoop. Loathe to speak poorly about his elder brother—for all the disagreements that Sam and Jay may have and where they clash, he loves his brother and is loyal. Though. He. Can't honestly disagree with Doug

Doug wrinkles his nose, squinching it up, before he says "I'm going to change the world, Jay. I'm not going to sit in that charming little bar and wait for someone to come and take everything away. And that is…" He says, "I'm going to be doing some very cruel things to make that happen. I have no choice… believe me when I tell you, I'm racing a genocide clock. If I could share the things I've seen with you…" His mouth tightens. "And you'll keep trying to save me, hold me back… but there is no holding back. The others tried to hold me back in the end, too, once they'd seen where things were going. They didn't want me to become a monster. It took that to make them give a damn about me. I ran your brother through the heart, with a sword-stick." Doug squeezes his eyes shut.

Jay's heart feels like it skips and there is a fundamental shift in the earth beneath his feet on that old fishing pier when Doug gives a few more details to what he remembers about murdering Jay's brother. Doug's friend. His arm tightens around Doug's chest and a hard breath is exhaled against the nape of his neck. "You said," Jay's voice is quiet and somewhat breathless. "You didn't want to. Ah believe you. Ah believe that." He also believes that Doug remembers doing it, and that is horrifying.

"Ah don't want anything taken from any of us. Ah…had to pull mah best friend out of an experimental facility where they tried to tear him apart from the inside. His /family/ did that to him, Douglas. Ah understand cruelty. Yer disgusted with how Ah reacted t'what happened with the Cabots, but you think Ah don't /understand/ what's comin'? After all that? After bein' murdered fer bein' what Ah am…do you really think Ah don't understand?" Jay's head tilts, the tip of his nose tracing a line against the shell of Doug's ear. "Ah don't want to hold ya back, but Ah don't want you t'do this alone. Never alone. S'why Ah couldn't leave Kaleb alone in that apartment…because you ain't the only one who feels this way. Who wants this. An' Ah know yer both raght, but that don't mean ya gotta be alone."

Doug snorts, and then says, "You say that now… you'll change your mind." Doug says, closing his eyes, before he gets up. "You'll change your mind. You're a decent, gentle soul at heart — and this is not the business of decent, gentle men. Remember their names, Jay — Fitzroy, Hodge, Stryker, Creed… and there are others. These are men who'd make music with our screams." He shakes his head, and he says "…You'll change your mind." He gets up, and moves to grab his shoes off the dock, before he reaches up to grab Jay and kiss him on the mouth, firm and hard.

Jay stands with Doug, still clutching him hard around the chest, firming up for a moment when he tries to step away. Eventually, Jay's grasp relaxes, letting Doug slide away while five fingers leave hot, firm trails across Doug's body. Wings flicker and Jay silently repeats those four names, mouthing each in turn as Doug names them. Something itches at the edges of his memory. "So, what? /Only/ folks who can do awful shit can make a difference? You know that's bullshit, Dougie." Jay challenges, rising to it and stepping in to shove his finger in Doug's chest. "Even if Ah'm the only normal thing in yer life, that's important. Not holdin' you back doesn't mean not bein' there. Ah /will/ be there. Ah'm not leavin' you alone until you find a way to keep me dead."

He's still taken by surprise when Doug grabs him for that kiss. Jay sucks in a breath, surging forward into Doug and snagging a firm arm around his waist, pinning the madman to him as he kisses back.

"I won't destroy you by making you a part of what's coming." Doug says, after he pulls away, and then puts his shoes on, wet feet be damned. He turns, and walks away, back toward the woods. "I want to remember you the way you are, now." He casts one look over his shoulder, before he slips into the treeline.

Jay licks his lower lip when Doug pulls away, breathless for a different reason now as lust comes off him in a heavy wave for Doug's benefit. "Don't taunt me and everyone fer treatin' me 'too delicate' then turn around an' do the same thing, Douglas." Jay points out, stubbornly. That steel resolve making the lean on his southern accent rather defined. "Ah /refuse/ to be lahke everyone else an' let you walk away. Ah'll see you soon, Dougie."

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