Bonding The Dawson Way


jj_icon.gif monica_icon.gif

Scene Title Bonding The Dawson Way
Synopsis It's not as awkward as Monica was expecting!
Date May 03, 2011

Hole in the Wall Restaurant

Every neighorhood has its popular haunts, even in the less popular or chic corners of towns. Restaurants and cafes where word-of-mouth rather than flashy advertisements or commercials draw in the crowds, where it's hard to get a seat even on a Tuesday night, where the patrons are willing to wait on a hard bench in the elements for one of the ten tiny tables inside, because the food is just that good.

This? is not one of those places.

The Olive Pit is one of those places that struggles to get by in the good times, and scrapes their way by in the bad. The food is average — nothing one couldn't make at home in less time with cans of marinara sauce and packages of dry pasta. What it delivers is quantity at a cheap price, and a darkened, theoretically "romantic" atmosphere that is straight out of the Italian restaurant in Lady and the Tramp, with its red and white tableclothes, flickering (fake) candles on every table, and pictures of Italian opera singers all over the walls, mostly to hide the cracked paint.

It isn't for the faux-romantic ambience but instead for the dim lighting that JJ has chosen the spot. He's got a baseball cap on and a pair of glasses that give him a altered enough appearance — Jameson Jones in glasses? — that no one would think he was Frontline at a glance. He sits in the corner booth, reading the menu while waiting for his dinner guest.

It's Monica Dawson's favorite kind of places to eat lately. Places that don't draw too much attention, where she's less likely to get spotted. Nevermind that she's purposefully going to dinner with one of the Frontliners, that's beside the point. She's still in her usual fare of dark-ish clothes, but at least she's got jeans on instead of something more suited to working out than going to dinner. Still, the hoodie is ever-present, even these days.

It's pretty much as close to dressed nice as she can manage these days. Or, well… ever, really.

At first, she walks right by the table JJ sits at, but it's just a few moments before she steps backwards into his line of vision again and greets him with a crooked, almost sheepish smile before she moves to sit down. "Hope ya haven't been waiting long," she says, Southern politeness in full swing, probably because it's something familiar and comfortable to fall back on.

This is one of the odder moments of her life and really, that's saying something.

When she walks by, he looks up a second too late, tipping his head then grinning when she returns, half rising from the seat as much as a booth will allow. He nods for her to take the bench across from him, and waits until she's done so before he sits again.

"Not long at all," he says. "I hope you didn't have any trouble finding the place. Me — well, I guess it means my disguise is not altogether stupid…" His voice is low enough for just her ears; no other diners are close enough. "How are you doing? If there's anything you'd like me to get for you or the others, let me know… Lene or me'll bring it by."

The politeness passed to the next generation! It's something that brings a smile to her face. They must have done something right, or else he was somehow able to spend a significant amount of time with Nana Dawson.

"Not even a little trouble. I know my way around the city pretty well." Of course, put her on the street level and she'll probably get lost. "That's sweet of you. I'll keep it in mind, but I think we're managing okay so far. I didn't ask you to dinner for anything official, really. I just… thought maybe we could hang out. If that's okay."

She remembers Hiro's warnings on not messing with the whole paradox business, but even he has to have times when there's an exception.

He grins a bit broader, pushing aside the menu. There really aren't that many options, and it all tastes the same in the end, anyway, in a place like this: mozzarella, marinara, beef and noodles in a variety of shapes still tastes like mozzarella, marinara, beef and noodles.

"That's totally okay. I'm glad you called. I would've but I figured it was a pretty big shock and I'd kinda let you deal with it on your time," JJ says quietly. "Also dont worry about what you say or do messing up anything in my future… we're here to mess up the future, so it'd be kinda hypocritical to expect things to stay as they are for myself personally, you know?"

"It is something of a shock. Not so much… that I have a family sometime down the road, but the whole… camp issue. That was a little harder to take in." Less pleasant, too. Monica smiles over at him, though it seems a little sad. "So you all aren't planning to get back… to where you came from? If it's even still there. I have no idea how this time travel stuff works. I've done it and I still don't know. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure anyone knows." She doesn't spend too much time on the menu, either, mostly just checking what kind of drinks they have here rather than the food. Spaghetti is pretty much the same everywhere.

"We can talk about how you can avoid that — if we don't make enough of the changes and they still happen — which is not the plan! — I'll let you know what I know of the details, and you can just never be there, all right?" JJ says with a grin. The pushing aside of menu brings the waiter, a college-age kid who speaks with a heavy New Yorkah accent, taking down orders and heading off to get their drinks.

Once he's gone, JJ shrugs. "We've changed a lot," he says, leaning forward, studying her face. "Don't worry about it. That future's not really worth going back to anyway, though it might be kinda primal to go back and see how it's changed." His broad grin flashes and then he adds more sheepishly, "I mean, only if we change it for the better. I wanna go back and find us all on hovercrafts and jetpacks and shit. They could have them I'm sure, but noooo, they waste all their R and D money on robots. Stupid."

"You know, I've only been at this future killing thing a little while, and I hope you guys have a ton of luck changing the bad stuff. But what if my not being there and Jaiden not being there and things not happening means there's no… you. I'm not even sure what that would do to you you. But I saw the Back to the Future movies and I don't think it'd be anything good, ya know?" Monica cuts off just as the waiter comes up to the table, and she gives him an order, nice and easy, like she wasn't talking about complete craziness a moment ago. It's not acting, she's just used to insanity.

When she looks back to JJ, she can't help but echo that smile. "Hovercrafts would be pretty cool. Cooler than killer robots. I already don't like those things. They're not as fun to kung fu on as the flesh and blood bad guys."

Man, his mom is kick-ass. JJ grins and shakes his head. "Fun," he says with a chuckle. "Nah, I'm not gonna turn transparent and disappear or anything. I'm here. You can't undo that. It's a little hard to figure it out, and television and movies do all sorts of crazy things, but… it's why you can have more than one of the same object existing — Lene? She has her mother's necklace, but her mother still has that same necklace. How that makes sense, I don't even know, but understanding quantum physics and all kinda got super pointless when we actually found out we had actual time travelers, right? They can just tell us what works, we don't need all that math and science."

He drums his fingers on the plastic tablecloth for a moment, and shakes his head again. "It's sort of surreal, being here with you like this. Not as hard for some of the others, I know, 'cause they hadn't had a good relationship or any with their parents. We were always cool, though. You were the cool mom 'cause there was nothing you couldn't do."

"I always told Rich, we should be looking at what sort of future we're building in place of all these near misses. And I mean it, we'll help you guys however we can. Just from the hints I've seen, it looks like one of the bad ones." Still, there's the sense that she wouldn't totally hate it, because, hey. Family.

"Yeah, I gotta say, I'm kinda glad we all don't have to understand the physics. Every time they try to explain it, I get dizzy." Monica can't help but smile as he goes on, though, straightening in her seat some. "The cool mom, huh? I can live with that. I had a couple good role models for that. I don't— Did you ever get to meet the family? The whole Dawson-Hawkins-Sanders clan?" Yes, Sanders, too.

Shaking his head, JJ looks down. "We were mostly around this area. Ferry stuff, off-grid, hiding, once you guys got out," he says quietly, fiddling with the parmesan cheese jar. "Speaking of Hawkins, saw him a couple weeks back. Saved his ass, but he doesn't actually know that." There's another flash of a grin.

"Also speaking of meeting family…" This is drawn out, a blush that he gets from her creeping into his cheeks, "you know Adel? We're kinda dating. So, maybe sometime we can all hang out? She's a great girl. And it's kinda… new, you know, but we've known each other a while. Most of us have."

"How long was it? Before we got out. I know I had a dream after all that, but I was… I mean, it was at least twenty years from now. I hate to think you had to spend a lot of time in one of those camps." When he mentions DL, Monica smirks a little, but it's clear she's glad to hear about him. "Good! He's still around. I was wondering when he'd make his way up here. He saved my butt not too long ago, and I just knew he gotten himself into nothing but trouble. Again." Oh, that's a tone he knows. A little sass mixed with chiding the currently absent cousin.

When that blush shows up, though, she smiles broadly, amused. "Wait… Adel, like… the girl teaching me the drums?" She must approve, because that smile remains. "I'd love us all to get together, are you kidding?"

He reaches across to take her hand, squeezing it and releasing it for a moment. "Not your whole life. I think I was five when we got out," he says quietly. "And you made the best of it."

He grins broader again, his expressions clearly not something he can keep close to the vest. "Yeah, she's a drummer for Mad Muse. Which is weird, I mean, we grew up with them. They're her mothers, Sable and Elaine? It's kinda crazy she's with them." He makes a face. "I probably shouldn't have told you that, but they know already." He shrugs. "Anyway, you guys, you and … Dad…" seems weird to say, "Jaiden. You guys were good parents. Jaiden was council, we were all Ferry. You were… you are good parents." The present tense brings another wide smile.

Monica returns that squeeze warmly. This may all be weird, but she can roll with it, apparently. "I'm glad. Just proof, ya know, nothing keeps me down for long," she says with a crooked smile. But it's true! She tends to keep her cheer through the various tragedies she's seen. "I was hoping that would be the case. My mom was the same way. And Nana, she is, too." Surely he knows enough stories about those two women. Or, at least, Monica is assuming so.

"Well, I like her! She's been nothing but nice to me. And she knows about what I can do already, doesn't she? I sort of thought she might." She seems happy, though, to hear that they were a happy family. That they managed it in spite of it all. "Ferry, huh? Not too surprised. And Jaiden got council? It's good to know the Ferry lasted. I gathered I was part of it, in one of the dreams, I just wasn't sure— I mean, I've been on call sort of. With them. On and off. Ish."

The waiter interrupts them to bring their food and drinks, a muttered 'lemme know if you need anything' in his thick accent before he retreats again to get refills for another table. "I guess I'm the same way," JJ admit, toothy smile flashed her way. "Everyone says my mother taught me well, so that's a compliment for you."

He reaches for the parmesan to add it liberally to his pasta, then passes it to her. "So you're doing okay? With Redbird and all that down? You deserve better, you know. It's one of the reasons we're doing this. You don't deserve to have to live like a fugitive. Ever. Now, then, whenever." His smile has faded, his green eyes earnest.

"I will take it as a compliment, too. We obviously taught you about badassery, too. Considering your job and all." She won't say Frontline too loud out in public. Or out loud at all, apparently.

"I'm okay. I don't mind roughing it. And to tell you the truth… I've never really been able to stick to anything but all the freedom fighting since I started in this mess. We're all taking care of each other, though, in the wake of Redbird. It's like… I can do something and that means I should. Because there's so many more who can't or feel stuck or scared. I came to terms with living my live this way back in Pariah." But seeing his change in expression, she reaches over to squeeze his arm. "If you all can fix it, that'd be… I mean, it's be great to be able to live normal again. But you know… I can't just got forget when there's the injustice around still."

He smiles and turns his hand up to take hers, squeezing it again. "You wouldn't be my mother if you did," JJ says quietly, respect and love in his eyes for the woman across from him. "I strive to be like you in every way."

He waits a beat. "Except, you know. The girly ones."

That makes Monica laugh, a warm sound. And quite youthful, of course, in comparison. "Watch it, I can still kick your butt even now."

But she wraps her other hand around his, too, just for a moment. "Once Rich told me that when people in the game stop… regretting the bad things we sometimes do, that's when we need to quit. But he didn't think that I was gonna have that problem. But, ya know, I always worry. Worry about what I'll start to find acceptable after I've been doing this another five, ten years. So I'm glad to hear… that it doesn't seem to have changed me too much. That I could be someone to look up to."

JJ's eyes grow soft as he looks at their hands, then up to her face. "Always. You've always been that. And you never grew … you know. Hardened. You did what you had to, but only because you had to, through the years, and you always did it for other people, not just yourself. I can't do any better than that, and if I'm half as kick-ass as you, and have half the heart you do, then I consider myself a good man."

He glances down at the spaghetti, makes a face, and pulls out a twenty to throw on the table. His eyes sparkle a touch and he nods toward the door. "There's a parkour move I can't get the grasp of, and in my fast, you couldn't show me because you have a bit of a trick knee that kept you from showing me as well as you could…"

He arches a brow. "I'd love to see it first hand. I know just the place."

"Don't you go on like that, you're gonna make me cry," Monica says, waving a hand in front of her face, where there's already some telltale glistening going on. But her smile makes it clear she's touched, happy even.

So when he changes the subject, she lifts an eyebrow a bit, that smile growing crooked. "Oh, yeah. I can run you through it." Gladly, she doesn't say, but she doesn't really have to. She does get the food wrapped to go, because there's a hoard back at the safehouse, but she's all for some out of time mother-son bonding. And what better way than hopping roofs?

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