2009-11-24: Join Our Gang Or Go To Jail

Starring:

Ian_V4icon.pngJade_V4icon.pngLena_V4icon.pngTiago_V4icon.png

Date: November 24, 2009

Summary:

Jade is told that she may need to go on the run as well. But it's okay, because Lena and Tiago have a plan.


"Join Our Gang Or Go To Jail"

Give 'Em Hell Kid Arcade/McDonald's

Spy VS Spy bullshit isn't so bad when it's you calling the shots. For one, you can pick awesome places to meet up, like the local arcade. What better way to spot any potential G-Men tailing you than to duck into a place where they'd stand out like sore thumbs?

Lena's genius knows no bounds.

So the call went out to Jade that the pair of them wanted to meet with her. They didn't come home last night, didn't call, probably kept her waiting up all night worrying, fretting over their welfare (although they'd never expect her to admit it!). But rather than offer reassurances to their friend and erstwhile roommate, Lena's call was somewhat terse: "Yeah, more shit's gone down. Can you meet us at Give 'Em Hell Kid? We'll probably be by the shooting games." Because Tiago does love his shooting games. Click.

Sure enough, the bottle blonde is leaning up against a shooting gallery machine, arms folded across her chest while she watches her partner in crime pit his sniping skills against the mafia. Or maybe it's zombies. Lena isn't entirely sure; she's looking fidgety, and keeps glancing over her shoulder.

Actually, it's a zombie mafia. Toting his plastic shotgun replica, Tiago is currently blasting the heads off of mutated pixelated monsters with surprising efficiency, his brow furrowed in a way that implies that he's taking this game all /too/ seriously. And as he blasts away, occasionally cocking the large firearm in order to reload, it's even /more/ obvious that Lena is going to be alone in her look out duties. Because giant boys will play, and play well. "Aw, fuck!" He comments as he loses a life, darting a quick, fleeting glare to a couple of kids running past him. "I swear ta fuckin' God. If I could shoot these little buggers I will. I'ma break the high score, but it's /impossible/ if they don't shut the FUCK up!"

Having spent half the night sitting up by herself with bad reruns on Nick At Nite, then trying to get to sleep only to jump halfway out of bed at every sound that she thought might be the turning deadbolt, Jade wasn't exactly in a happy mood. Cryptic calls certainly didn't help improve her disposition, either, but she gamely hailed a cab to shorten her journey over towards the Arcade considerably. She swore to herself she'd take both of their heads off with one punch if this was just another night out.

It's not too long before she's walking through the entrance of the arcade, wearing a windbreaker that didn't quite push out the chill, and with a purse slung over her shoulder. It takes a few minutes, but she eventually spots the other duo, worming her way through the kids to get to them. It wasn't often that she felt old and out of place, but this was one of those times.

"I always knew you weren't a family man, but damn, that's pushing it." Jade crosses her arms with a narrow-eyed frown, first at Tiago, then at the older woman. "Where the hell were you two last night? I told you to call if you weren't coming back!"

It's fortunate that Lena was looking, because up close she's even twitchier than she did at a distance. Tiago's given a light whack on the arm; either it's to take him to task for speaking that way about the kids or to alert him to Jade's presence. Her gaze cuts past the young woman, scanning the crowd as if this were a bad movie. "Shit got kinda crazy, my phone got fried somehow and then…well. Lotsa stuff happened. I called you soon as I could. We found another place to crash and…"

But here Lena pauses, looking suddenly uncomfortable. "Jade…you gotta promise not to like…kill me or anything, okay? I swear to god, I didn't know any of this was gonna happen."

That's almost always a bad way to start a conversation.

"Ow! What? Oh, c'mon, like they don't hear swears from their parents when they think the kids are sleepin' or somethi-…" As Tiago complains to his girlfriend, his attention reluctantly drawn from the video screen. He trails off the moment he notices Jade, however, and as his brows quirk upwards, he ends up losing all his lives. Straightening up, he tosses the shotgun controller away before fixing his attention on the women. "I…yeah," he begins, supporting Lena's explanation as Jade's ire prompts the lad to shuffle on his feet uncomfortably. "Sorry for makin' ya worry or somethin'. But…we gotta talk ta ya, man. Now, note, nothin's for sure, yet! But…we jus' gotta warn you, is all."

The dark-haired teenager's brow actually twitches at Lena's starting disclaimer and pleading for clemency from her wrath. One wouldn't think it was possible, but her eyes actually grew even more slitted, until, given the right skin complexion, she almost /could/ pass for an asian. She shifts her weight onto one foot, unfurling her arms to cock a leg, hand-on-hip in a typically-teen I'm Waiting posture.

"I'm already aiding felons, and you've already told me that you've drugged me twice. What the hell else could there possibly be to get worked up over? Look, I'm glad you found a new place to sleep, my place isn't exactly the height of luxury, so I understand. But why the hell couldn't you just tell me over the phone? Did I really have to come all the way down here just to hear that?"

Jade lifts a hand, before letting it fall back against her thigh with a small slap that was probably lost amidst the myriad sounds of social gaming going on all around, as well as jabbering pre-teens. "'Warn me'? I don't care if you found someone with better digs to shack up with. I live in a freaking closet, it's fine. Just, shit, a little courtesy would've been nice."

"There's a really small chance, like really really small, that…um. I maybe got tailed for being around the wrong person, and got seen going to your place." Pause. "And Randy's shop. We couldn't call you from her place until I got my phone fixed, because if they're watching then they're listening too, right?" That's how the script goes, and since hasn't had to attend school for several years, she's had a lot of time for movie watching. "We don't want to get you into any more trouble…but if it happens, the lady we're with now has said you could come too."

Tiago runs his hand through his hair gingerly, his eyes widening with guilt and discomfort the moment Lena admits the reality of the situation, but in the end he lets out a faint sigh. "But listen, it's cool! If they /are/ keepin' an eye on you, they should give it up once they realize that we're not livin' there no more. Plus, you don't got any powers, and they can't like, take ya in jus' for /knowin'/ one of the supers. And hey, we don't even know for sure! It was jus' a possibility and boy am I glad we got that off of our shoulders - d'you wanna go eat? Let's go eat, it'll be my treat." Yes. The last bit is, undoubtedly, the Brazilian's desperate attempt to keep Jade from hating them.

For a moment, Jade just looks at Lena, as if not comprehending exactly what she was talking about, like it was some sort of foreign language that she was required to decode before it would compute into her brain. She blinks once, and the scowl lessens a bit, then a second time and it vanishes.

"Oh my god…"

She places a hand over her mouth, her entire face falling in dismay, then terror. She looks over her shoulder, then to either side, as if half-expecting a government spook to already be standing there with a taser already. She grabs the hair on the side of her head with both hands as her eyes tear up. "Oh my god, I'm going to jail for the rest of my life! This can't be happening!" Tiago gets shot a harrowing look that depicts her doubts as to his sanity. "They're snatching mutants up, what the hell makes me any different!?" Her voice was a shrill, whispered shout. "I don't even have any powers, so there's not even any point in keeping me alive! Oh fuck, I'm gonna be silenced. They're gonna give me a lobotomy. Or a cell or a freaking garrote!"

Lena's fingers twitch before she can still the movement; she wants very badly to reach out and put a hand on Jade's shoulders. But we all know how well that might go over, considering their history. Instead, she looks pained. And uncomfortable. "You aren't gonna get lobotomized or killed, Jade. I swear to god. Since you're normal, you'd probably end up in a jail but we'd get you out. The folks we're with now…they're pretty hardcore awesome."

The once and future brunette takes a deep breath and glances up at Tiago, willing him to support her in this. "You could come with us. Leave your place, stay where we are…I mean…it'd get you in deeper to what's going on, but…" Pause. "Look. You're pretty awesome. I mean, Chi was saying you remind him of us and please, don't take that as a fucking insult, okay? You're like…a friend. And we feel shitty for getting you into this. Come stay with us, we can keep you safe."

"Hey, hey! Stop it," Tiago calls out, finding himself increasingly uncomfortable as he notices that peculiar phenomenon - the watering of her eyes. "/Stop/ doin' that, Jade! They aren't goin' ta get you, and they're not goin' ta kill you, or lobotocize you or nothin'. /Look/ at me, man." Suddenly fierce, the man clenches his jaw tightly and reaches to grab her chin with his large, rough hand. The end result is that he's forcing her to meet his gaze solemnly.

"Listen ta me…I aint gunna let /shit/ happen to you, okay? You helped us out and ya didn't even have ta, so I swear ta fuckin' God, I will do everythin' in my power and then some ta make sure you're goin' ta be okay. You're…you're family now. Tha's jus' how it is. And I know, it's fuckin' scary, but I need ya ta be tough, jus' for a little while longer." Here, he pauses, loosening his grip on her as his eyes flicker around the room. "Unless, y'know. Y'want ta be called a crybaby by all the twelve year olds 'round here."

"Oh my /god/, now I have to join your gang or go to jail!?"

Apparently, the offer didn't exactly have the calming effect Lena had intended, and the news isn't taken well. Instead, it induces sobbing, though the girl tries to trooper through it, keeping it from becoming the obnoxiously sniveling bawling, to just a few sporadic hiccups with extremely watery eyes, placing both hands over her mouth and nose, as if to contain the outburst. She says something more, but it's a little shrill and unintelligible, broken intermittently with a hiccuping sob. Before it can degenerate into something truly scene-causing, well, more of a scene than she was already drawing, her attention is forced onto the male of the group.

Even with the figurative 'Game Over' flashing before her eyes, her brain can recognize the very few viable options laid out before her: accept help, or play stupid and hope for the best. First and foremost, Jade was a survivor at heart, so there really wasn't any choice to be made. She nods dumbly at Tiago, trying to glance at Lena, though the angle from the way her chin was being held made it awkward. She wipes at her eyes and nods stupidly again, sniffing deeply to clear her suddenly runny nose.

If Lena seemed awkward before, it was nothing compared to her excrutiatingly painful awkwardness now. The crying is heart-wrenching (and it's ALL HER FAULT!) but the way that Jade settles under Tiago's fierce declaration of eternal protection…well. Her eyes cut back and forth a number of times from one face to the other before dropping to study the floor. "Pft…don't have to be twelve to call you a fucking crybaby," she mumbles. The joke's a flat one, delivered in a voice as tight as the hands she's dripping her own arms with.

"The people helping us, they got money. We could get you enough to get out, get set up somewhere else, I bet. They…they want what I could do," Lena goes on after a moment of contemplation. It isn't easy, with the tinny electronic music that blares at them from all sides. "So I just charge instead of giving it away."

"Okay…y'good now?" Tiago inquires slowly, narrowing his eyes and inspecting her carefully. Once he's confirmed the fact that the young girl no longer looks like she's about to break out in hysterical sobbing, he pulls his hand away from her. "You are, right? Yeah, you're not some li'l /girl/ or nothin'." It's a challenge, designed to hopefully bring the defiance out of Jade and, perhaps, even send her to the right direction. The right direction being her verbal abuse of him and everything else in the world.

Glancing over towards Lena, the man claps his hands together a couple of times. "Chyeah, we could. I mean…no 'ffense, but your apartment was more like a hole in the wall, and it sucked. We'll get you a new place, easy as pie. It'll…well, it wont be grand or nothin', but you might even have enough room ta spring for a table or somethin'! Listen, this ain't a bad thing. We're movin' you on up in the world. And - ugh, let's get the hell outa here. If I hear the Pacman theme one more time, Ima kick someone."

"W-Why?" Rubbing at her eyes was pretty slow progress, as it seemed the moisture was readily replaced by still more of it's kind, leaving them red, and slightly burning. Folding her arms around herself, sticking her hands under her arms, she gives a few more sniffles before some unnecessary blinking holds back the rest of the waterworks, finally ending The Crying Game.

Deciding her question was rather vague, she elaborates, after bobbing her head at the Brazilian to indicate that imminent danger of public sobbing was over. "Why do they want what you can do? God Lena, they're not drug dealers, are they?" Lifting a hand, she wipes her nose on the back of her windbreaker's sleeve, near her wrist, the tip cherry-red from the strain of crying. It's but a moment before she leans over just far enough to slap Tiago in the chest. Hard.

"This is serious! My whole life's in that apartment, and I can't even go back to it! Dammit…" Frowning down at her shoes, she turns obediently towards the exit. "I'm gonna lose my diary."

"They're not drug dealers. They're…people like me, trying to stop people like that doing this shit. And I do more than just get people high, you know?" But then, Jade wouldn't know. Lena slides what may well be an apologetic look at the blotchy-faced teen, winding her way through the masses of midget game-players. Her hand slip deep into her pockets to prevent any accidental drugging of the kids. Even punks like her have a conscience.

"You don't gotta tell us how serious it is. Everything we have except for some clothes are still back at our place. The TV, the stereo, my sketch pad…"

It's too loud to hear the young woman's sigh but it is full of self-pity.

Tiago lets out an 'oof' of pain as he is unjustly attacked by Jade, and though he shoots her a rather sullen frown, he doesn't much complain. After all, it's preferable to the tears that might've fallen otherwise. Allowing Lena to lead the way and explain her relationship to the other Evolved, he reaches behind, looking to rest his hand high on Jade's should to guide her forward.

"Huh? You kiddin'? Man, of /course/ we can go get you some stuff. I mean…maybe not /everythin'/, but the important shit, for sure. I'll sneak in and grab it, if you need. I'm good at loosin' the authorities, and like, disguises and shit." Beat. "You've got a /diary/? Heh. D'you write 'bout me in there? Anyway, let's go. I'm hungry for real now."

"You can do more?" Jade casts an uncertain glance at Lena, and it's notable she doesn't exactly walk within easy touching distance, either. "Can you, you know, control it? Or does Chi get high every time you guys… You know." She pokes the points of her index fingers together to indicate the 'you know', apparently unwilling to say it out loud, though whether it's for the sake of the Brazilian's modesty or the children is anyone's guess.

She shoots the male a narrow-eyed glare over the hand on her shoulder as he comments on her personal journal. "Yes, I have a diary. And if you read it, I'll make sure Lena'll never have a use for you as a man again. Like, ever." She hunches her shoulders defensively. "It's the only thing I have from when I was a kid, so shut up. Anyway, I don't have any money for food, I kind of spent it on cab fare."

…You think you can really get it?"

The door to the arcade is pushed open and Lena walks through, holding it for the other two to exit. She glances up at Tiago as he passes and then Jade; a thin smile is summoned for her questions. "If he says he can get it, he can get it. That's kinda his specialty. He won't read it if you make him promise though. Right, Chi?"

The matter of her abilities is another thing entirely. As the girl leads them down the sidewalk (there's a McDonald's about half a block down, and she's a sucker for their fries), Lena slips her hands into their pockets again and allows her steps to lag to bring her near enough for a quieter conversation. "I can't turn it off. Yet. Maybe I can some day, but right now…I can tone it down though. Or…um. Knock people out. Maybe even make them forget stuff," she explains, although the mentioning of it makes her look even more depressed. She's not a mind rapist, really! Honest! "It gets you hooked too…not like you, Jade, you didn't get enough. But if it goes on long enough. So if you're not getting your fix, all the bad shit you're not feeling when you're using hits you all at once. It kinda sucks, really. One of the folks helping us, he says maybe he can turn it off though. I dunno if he means it or if he was just trying to get me on his side."

Once Jade starts making her way out, Tiago allows his hand to fall to his side, looking considerably more optimistic about their situation. And as he fits his hand into his pockets, he can't /quite/ help the way his lips broaden and adopt a rather smug attitude the moment his sex life is inadvertently brought up. There is no shame, no hesitation in the way he says, "Yeah. Kinda. I mean, she can turn it down and shit…or at least she can /try/ ta, but when it's real good…" Ahem. Perhaps he should not be bragging at this moment in time. Automatically, the man slows his gait to match with theirs, although when Jade makes her cold-hearted threat, there is no doubting the way he flinches and turns away from the girl. "…I do. I can get it, I promise ya. And…yeah, I won't read it. I kinda like bein'…useful, anyway." With this offered, his green eyes drift over towards Lena, fixing his attention on the woman as she gives the broad explanation of her abilities.

"So he can make you normal again?" Jade's eyebrows raise with equal parts surprise and skepticism, her mind reeling at the validity of that claim. "He's not going to experiment on you, is he?"

Her train of thought is momentarily derailed as the mental images Tiago not-so-subtley attacked her with invade her mind's eye as they near the McDonald's, causing her to grimace, then gag a few tims, turning her head to the side and covering her mouth as she makes a few fake-vomiting noises. "Please, no more. We're about to eat here. I don't think I can take too much more before I hurl and ruin everyone's appetite."

She turns, starting to reach out and place a hand on Lena's shoulder, but stops halfway, her hand hovering for a second, before she rubs the back of her neck. "You, uh, have my condolences. I only have to put up with him during the day."

Lena's eyes flick to the side, making a note of the hovering fingers. "Chi's not so bad, he's got an amazing ass," she assures the younger teen, smile going all crooked. "And you can touch me without getting high. Just not my skin. I'm not gonna get you doped up again, I promise." Conversation is put on hold for a moment as the door to the best fast food joint in the world is reached. Again, she holds the door for the other two. Lena's just nice like that.

"I dunno if he's planning on experimenting on me or what, I didn't get to really ask much about it last time we talk. That was…right before I found out I might've fucked up big time, you know?" It's subtle, the look that's directed at Tiago. As if Lena were just stealing a peek for reassurance. Or maybe making sure he doesn't run off to assault the indoor playground this particular store boasts. "I don't even know if it's like a permanent fix, or if it'd work on me…last time I saw him things were too crazy to ask about it. What do you want, Jade? I still got a little leftover from the money Eric gave us."

Tiago's merry arrogance is drained summarily as Jade begins to mime throwing up. Suddenly, his expression turns almost mortified, before switching over to a sullen, sort of glare in her direction. Way to make a dude feel insecure, man-killer. "Shut up," he snaps at her, glancing over her towards Lena with appreciation as she proceeds to defend him. "I aint even that bad, and you know it. Anyway…right. Y'haven't gotten a chance ta talk ta them, have ya, baby? 'Bout what they meant, when they said they'd help you out about it…" He follows the girls into the fast food restaurant simply, approaching the counter and looking over the neon menus with enthusiasm. "Well, if they all show up like they did yesterday all the time, it'll be real easy ta ask about, I guess. I want the number seven. D'you have 'nough, you reckon? 'Cause I've still got some bills left over on me."

Pulling the sleeves of the windbreaker over her hands, Jade fidgets with the excess material as she pads into the relative warmth of the eatery, biting at her lower lip. "I dunno, I'm not that hungry… It's just, like, wow. I really can't go back to that shithole again. You know that was the only place I've ever had actually registered in my name? Huh?" Her eyes snap up towards the counter. "Just gimme some fries off the dollar menu and a pink lemonade."

She stands a little off to the side, frowning worriedly down at the floor as the issue of money is discussed. After a moment, she pipes up, but without looking up. "Look, I know my diary isn't really worth going back for, but I kind of have some money hidden in the same spot. You know, all that cash I was saving up from work. I mean, it's just a couple hundred bucks, maybe three or four, but it's something, right? Hey, what about Randy? I mean, they probably won't think much of you having gone to a pawn shop, but he's not in any danger, is he? Because he's one of you guys. Like, with powers."

"Number four, no onions," Lena adds to the order, extricating an old wallet from the pocket of her jacket. The entire total comes to less than twenty, which is good because that's what she has to pass over to the counter jockey. "How about we talk about that when we get to our table, huh?" A pained look is given to both of them. After so many days spent around freaks like her, it's a little odd to be around a couple of normals who aren't paying the subject its proper due. Which is to say, rampant paranoia.

Therefore, after making that request, she remains stubbornly silent until their order is piled up on a cheap plastic tray and they can move to a corner booth where no one's likely to eavesdrop. She slides onto one bench and begins doling out the food and drinks before even bothering to speak again.

"I figure I'll ask the next time we see them, yeah. Syd's place looks like party central so it probably won't be long now…I dunno about Randy though. I mean, unless they've got a mansion or something where they can put us all up, it's gonna get awful crowded. And if no one but us knows what he can do, we just have to keep our mouths shut, right?" Pause. "What does he do, anyway? It's nothing flashy, right?"

Tiago is eager once the order has been given to get his hands on the food, but alas, the food might be 'fast', but it is not instantaneous. As a result, he has time to turn and peer at Jade, pursing his lips slightly. "Hey…it's cool. I'll probably have a friend of mine go pick up your shit. I'll get you your money and diary, most of you clothes, and…well, y'got anythin' else that you /have/ ta have?" After this inquiry of offered, he falls into silence while they relocate.

Tiago slides into the bench beside Lena rather quickly, reaching over and grabbing his fries as quickly as possible. "Well…I mean, we haven't really interacted none with Randy. He should be good - 'cause /you're the connection ta us, right? And…I mean, damn. I didn't even /remember/ he could do somethin'." Chomping away at the fries, his attention swivels from one female to the other, until he wags a flimsy fry in Lena's direction. "What she said - what's he do? Does it got somethin' ta do with why you shacked up with him?"

"Uhhhhhhhh, no." Cringing slightly at the thought of someone else picking up her unmentionables, particularly the one with the panda face printed on the rear, the dark-haired teenager glances up and shakes her head. "I'm pretty used to not having more than I can carry, so, you know, I'll make do with whatever can be grabbed quick. The money and the diary are what I really want. I can go to some Salvation Army store for more clothes."

As she slides into the seat across from the other two, Jade hunches her shoulders, her eyebrows rising and falling in tandem with them, in a shrug and expression combo that adequately communicated a feeling of 'I dunno'. "Uh, well, he says he can see stuff. But he must not be very good. I mean, he thought I had your power, 'member? He said he saw something in me, so I don't know. Maybe someday I'll start shooting lasers out of my eyes."

Because Tiago was out of easy hitting range, she smacks the table in front of him instead. "Look, that was just a fluke! We're just friends. I don't think we'd really mesh as anything more."

Lena also chooses to attack the fries first. They are, after all, the only reason to eat at McDonald's. "Huh, yeah? Sounds kinda boring." Score! Someone who lost out in the mutant lottery worse than she did! She's going to bitch about the lack of fireballs until the day she dies, probably. "Seeing stuff…like powers? 'Cause yeah, he totally didn't call that one. If you got them, you got them. I was, I dunno…sixteen? Seventeen?" The tone of her voice makes it sound as if it were an age ago instead of just a few years. "And that's smart," Lena adds, before drowning several fries in ketchup and popping them into her mouth. "Mmf…he's too old for you."

Tiago unravels his burger, licking his lips gingerly before arching his brows and glancing over to her as she proceeds to smack the table in lieu of him. "…Damn. Baby, why's she like hittin' things so much? I think she's got like, anger management issues." He comments lightly, a jest accompanied by the wry smile he throws in her direction. Lena is given a nudge of his elbow, asking for her help in utterly teasing the hell out of their youngest Musketeer. One bite into the large sandwich is taken, before he arches his brows at the current conversation. He waits until his mouth is /mostly/ empty before speaking, at least. "…D'you think that people can still get powers and shit?" His hope is quite palpable. As is the snort that he gives the subject of Randall. "Chyeah, too old. Too old and too…curly-haired."

"What am I, this month's cover of Barely Legal?" Jade shoots a sour-eyed look at the woman across the table. "He's like just five years older. Wait, is he twenty-three? Or twenty-five? I don't know, it doesn't matter anyway, because I can't go back to work and dating on the run probably isn't the greatest idea ever. And you don't look much older than me, you know."

A member of her stash of french fries from her small one-dollar order is flicked at Tiago as The Look transfers over to him. "I think you have this deficit self-esteem problem that prompts you to become envious any time a male is paid more attention by any female in your presence." After a moment of silent chewing, she decides to explain in layman's terms. "You're a jealous little pigheaded weasel. Randy's totally kind of cute, just not really my type. And I doubt I'm his. He probably likes the intellectual type, or swimsuit models, and I like 'em kind of dumb and beefy." She pauses before taking a sip of her drink to offer one last comment at the Brazilian. "But you take that first one too far."

"I think she likes you," Lena quips, reaching for her soda and finally finding a grin to flash at Jade. "Wait…he's twenty-three? Okay, I take it back." A significant look is sent at Tiago, arch and teasing, as if challenging him to argue whether that is too old to date teenagers. Not that she's going to rat out his real age to their newest gang member. After all, Jade's probably right.

"But you know, Jade, Chi and I make it work. The whole dating on the run thing. If you wanted to keep in touch with him, I bet we could manage it. Get you some of those disposable phones, so you can't be tracked, kick Syd out of her bedroom if you want some privacy…" Really, she's only teasing. But it's fun teasing, and even more fun to finally be able to relax in a humorous environment and not obsess over the fact that she's a horrible, horrible person. "Don't diss my man though. Chi's smart when he has to be. He lets me boss him around the rest of the time."

Tiago narrows his eyes upon Jade, offering her a sniff for her quip about the age. "Please. Ya fit in right perfect at the arcade with the other kids! Man, I aint even carded, and I haven't been carded for like…fuckin' years now." With this declaration in place, he proceeds to work on making his chicken sandwich disappear. His brows /do/ arch with interest as she describes her 'type' per say. And after using the back of his hand to clean off the corners of his mouth, he grins that wide, broadh, shit-eating grin at her. "I take the firs' too far, huh? But I'm good on the second? /Ha/! Y'think I'm beefy! Y'heard that, Lena? You're my witness."

As Tiago continues to stew with pride, filling himself up with unhealthy goodness, he turns to beam in the direction of the faux-blonde. His smile only grows in size and warmth as she speaks up for his intelligence. "Heh. Thanks, baby." Partially to thank her, and partially to rub in the fact that they are dating in accordance to Lena's sudden 'pro-dating' campaign, the man leans over and attempts to peck her cheek. "I'm smart, I am! But thinkin's borin' most of the time. Actin' dumb is more fun."

"Wouldn't have to diss him if he'd keep those lips closed once in a while." The younger teenager mutters around her drink, sucking down the pink lemonade. Despite the easy nature of the conversation, her inner nervous is betrayed by her furtive glances outside the windows and the subtle shake of her hands whenever she picks anything up. But falling into the old tried-and-true abuse and counter-abuse scheme kept her mind occupied, at least. "Yeah, that's a good idea, though. I mean, he's still a good friend, and he might come in handy some day. Tch, but I like my phone…"
Unbuttoning her purse, Jade pulls out the slim, pink cellular device, decorated on the flip-cover with a rhinestones set in a floral pattern. She distracted from it by Tiago's boasting, however, resisting the urge to send it sailing towards his nose. "I think beef's about all you have in that head of yours. And spare me the act. I'm older than you'll ever be. You're like an annoying little brother trapped in a man's body by some freak accident of science."

Flipping open her phone, she scrolls through her abyssmally small address book. "Can they really trace this? I really kind of like it."

Lena tilts her head enough to allow the kiss, just this once, and mostly because she's distracted by unwrapping the burger she'd ordered. It's an absent sort of public display of affection. "You're welcome, darlin'. You are pretty beefy," she remarks, though whether she's agreeing with Tiago or Jade is difficult to say. "And I dunno, Jade…might not be a good idea. I bet we could get you one a lot like it, though. Like I said, these folks have lots of money. And the one guy, Eric, he's really nice. I asked for cab fare and he gave me a hundred, shit like that." In another time, that'd make the man an easy mark but right now it means he's in the cool book.

A huge bite is taken from the burger, chewed and swallowed with the aid of another sip of soda. "Mmph…but this is like, super high government stuff going on, so you don't wanna risk it, right? They've got billions to throw at this. Like the movies."

"Ah, please. If I shut up, you'd say I was jus' too dumb ta talk like normal people. There aint no way for me ta win with ya!" Tiago remarks in an unusual display of insight, and he wags the end of a couple of some floppy fries in her direction before stuffing them in his mouth. The man does sober slightly, however, when she pulls out her phone. "…Well…how 'bout this. Keep that phone. We'll get you 'nother one - prepaid and untraceable, for when ya have ta call us. That way you'll be normal-ish, and still safe?" After this is offered as a solution, the man takes in a deep breath and peers over in Lena's direction. "Eric? The dude that was in the shower with Syd? He's like…rich?"

"But…" Tracing the little silver and pink glittery flower design, Jade lets out a dismal sigh, beginning to root through her purse for the palm-sized notepad and pen she kept inside. Uncapping the cheap, black-inked Bic, she begins to write down all the numbers she had programmed into the device, which was only about six, before holding down the end call button to cut the power. Once the little chime sings, announcing it's disconnection from power, she snaps it shut and weighs it in her hand, tossing it up and down lightly.
"But can't they, like, triangulate my position? I think I read that. I mean, if this is seriously serious shit and not just you messing with me, then they know that I know how to contact you. And once I don't go home for a while, they'll look elsewhere right? I'm sorry, but I'm not cut out to resist torture or interrogation or whatever. I'd pee my pants if I had a gun to my head."

Well damn, now things have gone all serious again. At least Lena was able to finish her burger before it got all gloomy. She takes a deep breath after sucking the last of the soda from the paper cup. "Yeah, that Eric. He's rich. Look, Jade…" The girl leans forward, folding her arms against the table and meeting the other teen's gaze squarely. "That shit isn't going to happen, okay? No torture, no guns."

Because it's much more likely to be fireballs and people who can read brains. But this is a need to know situation, and Jade seriously does not need to know that.

"We're not just fucking around with you. It is serious but maybe not as bad as all that. Maybe I didn't get spotted, and they didn't see me go to your place. If so, then it's cool, right? You get a little vacation, some free food. But you can't go around thinking about the worst that could happen, 'cause it's gonna get old fast and you'll make yourself sick." Besides, Lena's got the worrying part down for all of them.

As the atmosphere darkens once again, Tiago rolls his eyes with irritation and sinks back into the bench, slurping sullenly at his fountain drink. Finally, he gets to the point where he just /snaps/. Suddenly, the man sits up in his seat and throws first Jade, then Lena a glare. "Yo," he growls, looking to get their attention. "Listen. It's goin' ta be fuckin' /fine/. They're not goin' ta fuckin' kidnap you - /we/ haven't been caught yet, and honestly? We aint even been all that sly and stealthy about shit. Why would they grab ya if they found ya by followin' Lena? Why didn't they jus' grab Lena back then, huh?"

The question is posed as the man clenches his brows, bringing that wrinkle above his brow to life in a display of how serious he takes this. "If you think about this shit, ya'll are goin' ta die early, 'cause you're goin' ta give yourself a heart attack. We're not doin' this 'cause we think there's somethin' shady goin' on an they're goin' ta hurt you. This is a fuckin' precaution, yeah? Jus' makin' sure that you're goin' ta be safe, 'cause bein' safe is better than bein' sorry. But /don't/ let it scare the bajeezus outa you."

"Sick? I already threw up a little bit in my mouth when you first told me about this!" After a suspicious glance at her phone, she sticks it back in her purse. "I guess it'll be okay if I just keep it off, right?" After replacing her notepad and pen as well, she looks up with a quizzical frown. "Just how will I know when it's safe to go home again? I mean, a government conspiracy doesn't just go away."

Jade leans back at the outburst from the Brazilian, though, looking around the McDonald's interior to ensure no one overheard his little declaration. The look on her face says perfectly that she wants to verbally smack him back into place, but she had to concede his point about them not having grabbed Lena. Still, she didn't look too happy with the male being right for once.

"People are out there kidnapping other people with powers that, until a few weeks ago I didn't even know existed, by the way, and somehow, I may or may not be mixed up in all of it! How the hell is that not something I should be scared of? God, the worst thing I've ever had to dodge is social services, and they're not exactly competent. You can't just spring super-powers and government conspiracies of constitution-bypassing proportions on someone and not expect them to freak a little!"

The kids are tucked away in a corner booth but courtesy of Tiago growling at the two sweet young thangs seated with him, they're getting a few looks. Mostly from disapproving soccer mom types who are far too interested in other people business but even so…Lena puts a quelling hand on Tiago's arm, shaking her head at him. "I think being scared is probably the smartest thing we can do. It's keeping us on our toes, right?" She cuts a glance at Jade, face twisting in sympathy. "Believe me, we know how you feel. A month ago, I thought I was the only one. It's okay, really…well, shit, no it isn't. But you're allowed to freak out. Just…keep your voice down while you do, okay?"

SPEAKING of super-powers. It's Surgeprotector Boy. Ian's got his hood up when he comes in, pulled low over his face like he's trying to pretend he's a Hunter zombie. Though at least he's not screeching and leaping. He tugs it down to expose black hair barely longer than stubble, as he insinuates himself in to the line to wait. He looks nervous and tired, face rather drawn.
Tiago glowers openly at Jade, though his frustration doesn't seem to be focused specifically on the young woman. When the hand appears on his arm, his green eyes flash over in her general direction, only to be followed a very audible sigh and the slouching back down in the bench. Grunting to the woman, he rolls his eyes and proceeds to stare off in some random direction. "There's a diff'rence between freakin' out and self-prophetizin'. If you /say/ bad shit's goin' ta go down? That you're goin' ta get kidnapped and shit? Then, it probably will happen. So…so, I get it. It's big and hard ta deal with. But…don't say shit like that. We gotta be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best. Okay?" After he explains what's going on in his head, his arms cross over his chest defensively.

Glancing around with a bit of a sullen aura, as if somehow not being able to shout at the top of her lungs put her in a slightly bad mood, Jade huffs as she sits back against the booth seat, polishing off the rest of her pink, tangy drink. She motions with the empty paper cup, speculatively eyeing the new arrival into the restaurant, deciding he didn't look the part of government spook.

"You can't tell me to be prepared for the worst and then to quit talking about the worst in the same breath! Really, Cheech, the grownups are talking. Can you get me a refill?"

Naturally, the last question is delivered sweetly, along with a smug, spoiled little smile. "So anyway…" She plants her elbows on the table, interlocking her fingers together and propping her on top of them. "Who are these people? Am I going to meet any of them, or you gonna stick me in a hotel by myself for a couple weeks? Because if you do, I want one with the good cable and a complimentary continental breakfast. With omelets."

"Trust me, I am hoping for the best. And that means thinking of the worst that could happen. But it's not gonna happen to you or Jade," Lena says in a tone that brooks no argument. "Speaking of, Jade, you ever used a gun before? Or a knife?" It might be disturbing how hopeful the teen sounds when she asks this, out of the blue. "You'll meet them, don't worry. You don't have to go to a hotel either, 'cause Sydney is putting us up at her place. I dunno if she has cable though…maybe we could get Chi's friend to get our X-Box too…and, hey, I know that guy."

Lena straightens up on the bench, brow furrowing as she tracks Ian's progress across the floor. "I think I know him. Huh."

He's got it all under control. At least, enough so that the register system doesn't go down, nor the deep fryer explode to terrible execution in the back. He's too clean, too trim to be homeless, too pink and healthy-looking to be a junkie. But there's that furtive air to him, glancing over his shoulder now and then. Like the MIBs are gonna bust in here and steal him right from under his Mcnuggets. Ian's all but jigging with impatience in line.

Tiago narrows his eyes at Jade when she hits him with the immaturity card once again. For a couple of seconds, he sits there, just stewing in light of Jade's request for more, but eventually, with a groan of irritation, he reaches out to snatch the empty cup. "/Fine/, but only 'cause I'm such a damn good guy. Y'didn't even say please!" Making his way to his feet, the lad proceeds to shuffle forward, although he does take advantage of the opportunity to smack Jade gently on the back of her head.

In the process of chasing after the elusive refill, Tiago just so happens to pass by Ian, accidentally bumping into the teen. "Whoa! Sorry there, man," the human wall offers by way of apology, lifting a clumsy hand to scratch the back of his neck.

The bump to the back of the head is taken in good enough stride, with Jade turning her head just enough to curl her lip at the male. She has the mental fantasy of kicking him under the table when he gets back, but by the time he did return, she'd have likely forgotten all about it in the face of Lena's startling question. Fighting back, even to defend herself, hadn't even occured to her, if her blank expression was to be believed.

"Well, if by 'use' you mean 'seen', then yeah, I've used them. What do I look like," She leans back and gestures at herself. "A soldier of fortune. The only special skill I have is the ability to rip totally bitchin' waves. …You don't think I'll need one, do you? A gun, I mean."

Pushing aside the uneaten portion of her fries, which was most of them, she begins to straighten thin strands of hair between her fingers. "I don't know, Lena. I don't know if I can, you know, shoot someone. I'm getting the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it."

<IC-Radio> The last song fades, crossing into: "Cat's In the Cradle" by Ugly Kid Joe

Lena certainly can't resist the amusement that comes bubbling up at the rough and tumble harrassment between Tiago and Jade, especially when Chi takes it to the next level with that head-bop. She looks away from the young man's encounter with Ian, nose crinkled lightly and eyes dancing. Here's hoping her fella doesn't get himself knifed. "Hey, don't worry about it, okay? I mean…I ran with a pretty tough crowd down in Miami, so I know what's what but I'm shit with guns, myself. I got a knife though. Self defense, in case I end up not being able to touch anyone for whatever reason. I just thought I'd ask, you know? If you did want something a little extra, I bet we could get it for you."

Which is when Tiago gets the mother of all static shocks, and Ian lurches away from him as if the little touch'd been a blow or a shove. He looks back, startled, dark eyes wide, but doesn't follow with any of the invective you'd expect from a native New Yorker. Quite the opposite. "Hey, man," he says, in a Californian drawl, "Careful with that taser there, will ya?"

The past month and a half have been particularly difficult to deal with, but Tiago's getting by, with a little help from his friends. He's quickly becoming quite accustomed to a few things. And, being shocked is one of them. Automatically, the man draws away from Ian, eyes wide with surprise. "What was…" But, it's already fading. It's not like the Elle shock he was subject too not too long ago. "…Heh. I guess that was God's way of checkin' whether we were awake or not, huh?" He inquires, shooting the Californian an accent of his own as well as a faint smile. "Taser? What's that?" He's clearly not that bothered, seeing as he's proceeded to gather Jade's drink in preparation of heading back to their booth.

"You do think I might need one, don't you!?"

Judging from the harsh shout-whisper, and the way the dark-haired girl practically lunged forward in her seat to hunker conspiratorily closer, it was obvious that Jade's question was pretty rhetorical. "Holy shit, you think I might have to shoot someone in self-defense!" Shaking her head, she rubs at her forehead, as if trying to soothe her thoughts through the healing powers of self-massage.

"That's just… I dunno… I dunno…" Leaning back, away from the table, she lifts a hand to fan herself, tugging at her collar, looking around herself with mild panic, as if afraid the walls were closing in. "Is it hot in here. I'm hot, is it hot? I need some air, okay? I just need some air." Jade does her best to escape the booth, and the feelings of claustrophobia that it represented. Of course, standing didn't make her feel any better, as she wraps her arms around herself, hugging her wind breaker closed, and quick-steps towards the side exit to step out into the harshly refreshing cold air. At least she left her purse behind, proof that she wasn't likely to wander too far off.

Oh…well…Lena's fairly certain she could have handled that better. She blinks several times in quick succession as Jade has her breakdown and then leaves the premises. "Um. Yeah," she remarks to the suddenly empty table. At something of a loss, she glances around, then sighs and gathers up the other girl's purse. It's off towards the counter for her, to meet up with Tiago again. And his new friend, who looks vaguely familiar. "Hey, darlin',." That's for the Brazilian, Twitchy Boy will have to content himself with a look of mingled curiosity and suspicion.

"Yeah, looks like," Ian says, clearly mollified….not that he was all that disposed to be upset in the first place. He orders a chicken sandwich and a coke, steps aside to await his order. Still shuffling his feet in that little antsy dance of impatience.

Tiago is busy filling in the medium cup with girly pink lemonade when Lena calls out to him, causing the lad to glance up in her direction curiously. Unfortunately, the activity sends the uncapped cup tipping over and spilling some of its cold liquid down his jeans. "Aww, fuck!" He exclaims energetically, grabbing the cup and setting it right. But unfortunately, he isn't quick enough to save himself from looking like he had a bit of an accident. With a groan, the lad rolls his eyes and turns to toss a glare in Jade's direction, only to realize that she's not there.

"…Hey. Hey, where's Jade?" Tiago inquires, sudden concern flashing on his features as he glances towards Lena quizzically.

"Hey, careful there." Lena's lips twist in a faint smirk as Tiago threatens to send lemonade all over the floor. She's so sympathetic to his plight that she…steps back to avoid getting splashed on. She's a giver, this one. "She, uh, got kinda freaked out 'cause I said something stupid. Outside waiting for us now, I think. But I got her purse, she has to wait for us," she explains, lifting the item in question. A quick, narrow look is shot at Ian. "Hey…you look kinda familiar, guy. What's your name?"

Eyeshift left, eyeshift right….and then, perhaps realizing he's just totally telegraphed his intention to lie like a bastard, Ian blurts out the truth like a child with a bubblegum hiccup. "Ian," he says, bluntly, and then looks surprised at himself.

"But I…got her drink for her and shit…" Tiago protests, arching her brows and frowning heavily. "…D'you think she's okay, man? D'you think she'll be fine?" His concern is on display at this point in time, and he reaches for a handful of paper napkins so he can blot at his crotch and /not/ look like he wet himself. Of course, this makes for quite an interesting visual as he turns to peer at Ian curiously. "…Who's this, babe?"

Lena should be helping Tiago, like a good girlfriend, but being an evil wench means that she continues to study the frustratingly familiar young man. "Hey Ian. I'm trying to figure out where I know you from. Everything cool? You looked kinda nervous." That said, she spares a glance at Tiago, finding a faint smile for him. "She'll be fine eventually but you should try being nice for at least a couple of days, okay? She's dealing with heavy shit right now."

"I dunno,' Ian says, almost sullenly, though he tries to punctuate it with a smile. It comes out rather sickly and wilted, in all honesty. "I'm sure I've seen you before. You go to NYU, maybe?"

Tiago is still trying to dry his pants by the time a little five year old pads by, sniggering expressively at Tiago while he points and laughs. Needless to say, this results in the giant kidlet glaring daggers at the actual child in the vicinity. "Fuckin' brats…Yo, Lena, we aint never havin' kids." This is huffed in an impulsive snort. Afterwards, he gives up on his pants and proceeds to straighten himself up, arching his brows towards the two younger men. "…Huh? Well…man. Bein' nice wont help. She likes ta be mean ta me. I think it's fun for her, an' I think she likes me bein' mean ta her too." When Ian inquires as to whether Lena goes to college or not, the man peers towards the faux-blonde with some amusement.

"Nah, I still need to get my GED. Man, this is gonna bug me! Anyway, yeah, I'm Lena, the big jerk is Tiago." The girl in question hooks a thumb at the man in question, having seen that amused look. If she were any younger, she'd stick her tongue out at him. As it is, he gets a nose-crinkle. "I could have totally gone to college, okay? I swear to god…you and Jade have like the unhealthiest relationship ever. I wouldn't have kids just 'cause they'd probably turn out like you guys and then I'd want to…jump out the window or something." Take that.

There's no sneer in his face at Lena's response. "Maybe you hang around on campus anyhow?" he suggests, with that hopeful lilt to his voice. It could happen. He doesn't offer a hand, but bobs it like an amiable cockatiel.

Tiago offers Ian a faint not of recognition, curling his lips into a wry smile as he is introduced to Ian. "We met, jus' then. He's electric. And, I dunno, Lena, /do/ you hang 'round campus? I dunno what you do when you're on your own anymore, but you always seem ta get inta trouble." This is offered affectionately, of course. And followed by the silent marching in her direction. "Huh? Oh, well, it aint my fault. Y'saw. I think it's jus' 'cause she's attracted ta me, so she makes up for it by bein' mean. And, please. Y'love us, and you'd love our kids. You'd never even /look/ at a window, I bet."

Lena swings Jade's purse idly by its strap. "Maybe that's it, I know a few guys out there, they're huge into parties…uh. Electric?" Everything else Tiago might have said is lost in that moment, as her eyes snap to the Brazilian's face and then narrow in on Ian. "What the fuck's that mean, electric?"

"I'm special. With special needs," Ian says, in the sort of flawless deadpan that would not be out of place on Alfred Pennyworth informing Master Wayne that the Batmobile is need of gas. His gaze doesn't even flicker from Lena's face.

"Heh! He gave me a killer shock before, y'know? Like one of them…static things. An'…" Tiago's attention is distracted then, by the deadpan. Then he narrows his eyes in Ian's direction. "…Yeah? Well…sorry?" How is one supposed to react?

Tiago knows how /he's/ going to react, though. All this talk about 'special'…well, his life is complicated enough as it is without meeting another complete stranger with super powers. And so he strides forward, not shy with the way he moves to wrap his arm around Lena's waist possessively. "Yo, babe. Let's go find Jade. We got shit ta do, I think we gave her 'nough time ta deal."

Lena has just enough time to say, "Welcome to the club!" before she's being ushered towards the door. A last glance is spared Ian, no doubt to commit his face to memory, and then the teen is looking up at her oh so bossy boyfriend. "You know," she might be heard remarking, gesturing to the big "pee" stain on his pants. "This is why we can't fucking go anywhere nice."

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