Crash Space


brynn_icon.gif emily_icon.gif hailey_icon.gif jac_icon.gif joe_icon.gif kendall_icon.gif lance_icon.gif

Also featuring: Jim

Scene Title Crash Space
Synopsis Kendall wakes up after spending the night at the Lanthorn and meets the majority of the Lighthouse Kids for breakfast. Chaos ensues, which is… normal?
Date 3/20/21

The Lanthorn

The Lanthorn (an old word used for the lantern room of a lighthouse) is a Romanesque-style building constructed in 1899. Obviously it has been renovated many times over the ensuing decades, but apparently everyone who ever bought the building loved the fire pole because it still remains.

The upper level was subdivided into four small apartments at some point, perhaps in the 1980s based on the appliances within. The lower level has a massive set of windows where the old fire truck bay door once stood, the bottom half bricked over to create a wall instead of windows that touched the ground.

The front door of the building opens into a large common area that resembles a lobby, and the back half of the lower level was partitioned off into several more small apartments.

After ‘rescuing’ Brynn from Wonderland and escorting her home, the offer of a place to crash — and best yet, a hot shower! — was eagerly accepted. Once there, and with forewarning, Kendall gratefully took one of the unoccupied rooms. There’s nothing unusual about his appearance this time, a fact that made him more than a little uneasy on the way there, but that’s beside the point, it should be fine now that he’s ‘home’ in the Safe Zone. It was also fine that everyone was either already sleeping or not there yet, it seems like a better idea to meet everyone in the daylight hours where he seems less like a thief in the night.

After waking up, though, he starts feeling apprehensive all over again. Now he has to meet people, people he doesn’t really know, or might know? Sure, she told them he was coming, but people are always an unknown factor, it’s not as easy as introducing yourself and suddenly Social Link Go! In the agony of indecision, he dithers about in the room, not really wanting to leave just yet.

There is a slow rustling thump in the hall and then down the stairs, accompanied by the click of nails on the steps. Brynn and Doodlebug are managing to make their way downstairs although it sounds like she's moving even slower than last night. Still, she's up and around — which is perhaps invitation to join.

Joe is home! And he's cooking! The smells of ALL the breakfast foods are moving through the Lanthorn. Quite purposefully in fact. Joe has set up a fan… to blow said scents through the entire building. Because why go through all the trouble of cooking breakfast for everyone if you can't torture them with wonderful smells before it's done? Joe is not the world's greatest cook. At all. He can cook some very basic meals, but not complicated things. Good thing breakfast isn't complicated. He has a literal mound of scrambled eggs in a huge bowl that was probably a table centerpiece at some point in its past. Meant to hold fruit or decorative squash or something like that. But it's a huge broad bowl and right now it's loaded down with scrambled eggs. There's several other meats cooking, and even some veggies for his less carnivorous friends.

Joe has been quiet lately. Not in speech no, Joe never shuts up as usual. But he's settled into a bit of a rhythm with life. Not that he's been entirely happy about it. He's still expecting the other other other shoe to drop. Because it always does. But at the moment he's in the kitchen, cooking, and also snacking on a piece of toast that he's spread peanut butter on. "I hear people! Come eat!"

From the front door— more signs of life. "Knock knock." The wiry blonde with long, draping hair that excuses herself into the Lanthorn's space does so with less temerity than she used to. Emily Epstein no longer questions or shies away from her welcomeness in this space. Still, her eyes swivel over it to take stock of how things are, taking comfort in finding things more or less how she remembers them to be.

"I've got that book I was talking about the other day. You still needed it, right?" She turns her head slightly in the direction of the kitchen as she calls to the self-styled chef within it, steps slowly leading her that way. Emily lifts a hand to wave to Brynn, signing a universal 'you okay?' to her with a crease of her brow. She tries as ever to keep her concern from being overbearing, but she can't entirely erase it.

“I think you're burning that,” Jac so helpfully observes from where she sits on a kitchen counter. The only she gives Joe for what she means by that is a nod toward the skillets on the stove. She’d probably do more, but she's busy peeling a string cheese into edible threads, and nibbling on those threads as they're pulled free.

She looks up from the meticulous task when there's fresh sounds of movement, Brynn and Bug coming down the stairs and then Emily calling from the front. A look flicks to Joe, then settles on the opening leading to the rest of the house. She leans forward for a look , then calls out. “We’re in the kitchen!” Jac adds to Joe’s invitation, just in case that wasn't obvious.

Well, no need to be a wimp about it. People are awake, and the deliberate wafting of food throughout the firehouse is pure evil, plain and simple. Giving himself a mental shake, Kendall opens the door and moves towards the stairs, as warily as if he was still in the war zone. Stranger danger! He finds the stairs and fortunately Brynn first off, and there’s a profound sense of relief! He reaches forward to tap her arm, hoping he’s not startling her, and waves.

Good morning." Until Kendall is able to learn sign language, that’ll just have to do. And now that he’s with Brynn he can stop being scared of encountering the rest of the house. Really, he’s being a big baby over it. He’ll accompany her down the stairs, though it seems like she’s the one doing the protecting.

Moving with more confidence once she's on the flat floor, Brynn isn't using the cane this morning although she is sporting a very dark set of sunglasses. Apparently suffering from yet another migraine. She waves at Kendall and then points him into the kitchen. The smell alone tells her plenty but she is beginning — sort of — maybe — to distinguish between everyone's voices. Joe is the one that runs together and gives her mental images of a racing mouse. Always did, anyway, so that's not new. Jac has a soft, low voice that has a light lilt of a question mark always lingering at the end of what she says. Emily, she's only heard a couple of times but she has a light cadence to her sound that makes Brynn smile. She doesn't hear Lance's low warmth anywhere, nor Hailey's higher tones.

As they get into the kitchen, Brynn offers a small grin to Emily and nods. She's okay. As okay as ever anyway. Then she signs, Morning all — this is Kendall, she spells it out because she doesn't have a short form for his name in Sign yet, the guy I texted about staying with us. There's just a hint of a light color to her cheekbones, as if she's feeling a little awkward, but her sunglasses mostly hide it.

Joe, he needs a crash course in Sign. Obviously. She seems totally unfazed by the subtitles.

Joe peers at the pans in front of him, then looks over his shoulder to Squeaks, then back to the pans in front of him, his eyes narrowing. "Which uhhh which one? Cuz I don't smell anything burning." He starts checking all of them. The one with the diced peppers, the one with the bacon, the one with the sausage and so on until he stands there literally scratching his head, canting it slowly to the side in a rather dog like fashion.

"In here Emleeee!" Joe calls out as he stirs stuff and dumps more stuff onto plates with the intention of taking them to the table for people to dive into. Joe peers over his shoulder, narrowing his eyes at the oh so helpful Squeaks, but well Joe is not in possession of what you might call a poker face, so it breaks into a big grin in her direction before more than a second has passed.

Joe looks up from what he’s doing when Brynn enters, and his hands flash at her rapidly. Rapidly cuz he needs to go back to cooking. Hi Brynny. I’m good at crash courses. Also he looks familiar. Joe’s hands go back to his cooking, but his eyes narrow slowly at Kendall. “Wait a second!” His shout isn’t as loud as it would be. But Brynn is wearing sun glasses which means Migraine. So it’s a quiet shout. “Mister I’ve got a girlfriend so I’m an adult! Ken doll! Ha!” Okay the last Ha gets a little loud but Joe is crowing in victory cuz he… remembered someone? Yup. Joe looks around the room but well… no one here would remember him would they? He grunts soft and harumphs. “Gonna tell Aunt Stork that Ken Doll is back in town. I guess her moon protection worked after all.”

Emily stops halfway to the kitchen, not taking up the space in the doorway with how she's frozen at the sight of a new person— emitting subtitles. Her slight widening of her eyes, uncertain what to make of him, is a short-lived thing, though.

Because Joe's talking again. Not just talking, but shooting off at the mouth. Her shoulders slope down as he lets out a faint sigh. "Joe," she half-heartedly scolds him, in the tone of what are we going to do with you? It's a question without answer, and remains firmly in the theoretical rather than rhetorical. Presently, at least. "Christ, I don't even know him but I'm positive that…"

Is she positive? She turns to regard Kendall with another mere glance, eyes narrowing in that blink of a time. Then she's slipping into the kitchen, hand lifted in hello for Squeaks next. "How is everyone, anyway?" Emily segues abruptly.

Jac has an equally unreadable face when Joe looks her way. She meets the first one with brows up in a show of innocent helpfulness, and the next she's busy again with that string cheese. Her eyes lift only when she hears others entering the kitchen — Brynn and Emily are expected of course, but Kendall isn't anyone she knows.

The teen responds to the wave from Emily with one of her own before sliding off the counter and onto the floor. She gives the newcomer such a strong side eye, of the sort she hasn't used in a couple of years, and in spite of Kendall and Joe obviously knowing each other. It lasts half a second, ending with another look to the older girls before she turns away to dish up some of the foods into a tupperware to take with her.

There's definitely a flash of irritation crossing Kendall's face as Joe calls him his most hated nickname. Only Raquelle is able to get away with calling him that, because… Raquelle. The rest of Joe's words, however, do spark a memory. "Right, you're one of the bra—" oh wait, better not start off with insults even though Joe totally started it. Cough. "kids on the castle roof the night of the lunar eclipse on the winter solstice." Kendall remembers the event, for sure. First time in almost 400 years the lunar eclipse happened on the winter solstice! ….a fact few people seemed to actually care about, but whatever.

Being annoyed did cause the subtitles to fade away, especially because people were staring at them and it made him a little self conscious. “My name is Kendall. Kendall Cunningham." a pointed look at Joe as the subtitles come back showing the proper spelling of his name, which is not what Joe called him. Nice to meet you. Thanks for letting me stay." He then points up towards the subtitles, which are hovering just below his collarbone. “Came up with this because I didn't have a better way of talking with Brynn. She said you could teach me sign language…?" due to the fact that he doesn't know sign language, he missed that part of the conversation.

Joe's increase in volume brings a visible startled jump and a pained wince from Brynn, her hand automatically flying up to her ear in case he keeps on. She peers at her excitable brother with an aggrieved expression. Why did you shout?! He didn't really, but for someone who has only heard the world for a month, it sure seems loud as hell to her!

Jac, you feeling okay? She's been through the same mess as Brynn, after all. And to answer Emily's same question, she signs, Doing okay — no more strokes so far. Without tone to it, it might sound like sarcasm but she's serious. Would be better if I didn't find another headache, but… She shrugs slightly. Can't have everything!

Joe's focus is on the food so he's not exactly able to sit and watch the subtitles, or entirely know when they've popped into the air. Brynn knows to sign in his view so he can see it though. He does see the Kendall not Ken Doll one though and he huhs, his head tipping to the side as he scoops potatoes out of a pan and onto a plate. "Kendall. That makes… way more sense. Heard your name when I was a kid and just… thought it was Ken Doll. But to be fair I was like… 10 or 11?" He starts emptying all the food onto plates and bowls to put on the table for people to get at. "There are tortillas in that bag on the table. Got them from the market. Or you can just eat it on a plate. Up to you guys. But food!" He isn't done at the stove of course. "Sorry Brynny." He signs it in Cant too so he can do it one handed, well sort of one handed as he starts moving pots and pans to the sink so he can get them clean.

"Squeakers you can absolutely take leftovers, there's going to be a ton, but I would very much like it if you stayed and ate with us." Joe gets some soap into the sink that's filling with water and turns around then to actually look at people, and sign at the same time for Brynn so she's not left out. Yes she can hear but that doesn't mean she knows what words go with what yet, so his signing and speech rhythms are a little wonky as he makes them more or less line up so Brynn can hear. "Get some food Ems. And I don't recall asking about a book but I'm sure I did and probably do still need it and have just forgotten in the moment."

"I realize you couldn't see me signing, sorry about that. Brynn said you need to learn sign?" Joe didn't see the subtitles, cuz he was busy with the pots and pans. "I can teach you sign. Better and easier than schools do. They teach in a stupid way. All vocabulary and then later they teach you how to put it together. We’ll start with common phrases and what not. Stuff you’ll use a lot, and then expand outward from there.” Joe flashes Ken a quick grin before he gestures at the food and at everyone else. “Eat eat eat.” He himself? Goes to the sink to get the dishes washed.

Ever lively in here. Emily steps to the side nearer Squeaks where she works on similarly quietly getting her things together. Her hands lift to sign, wondering aloud in Kendall's direction, "How'd you get wrapped up with these troublemakers? Did Brynn nab you off the street? This bunch is big on adopting others… it was her turn to find someone and bring them home, I suppose."

There's a smile in her voice and eyes, one that only makes its way into the rest of her expression at the end of her teasing.

"If Joe's method needs a supplement, I've got dirty school learning," paired with an appropriate disgusted look, "but two teachers could be better than one." She leans back against the counter, not yet inviting herself to food. in her silent headcanon, those who live here should get first dibs.

Jac has no such qualms about being first to the food, even though she doesn't live in the Lanthorn full time. She's around often enough. Her head bobs a nod to Joe’s suggestion as she scoops eggs and meat and veggies into the small plastic container — there will be a plate made soon. All of this happens with much glancing back to follow the conversation and treat Kendall to plenty of silent suspicion.

Those eyeballings mellow by a fraction of a fraction when Emily steps over. The teen glances up when she bumps against the blonde’s arm, blue eyes searching briefly before flitting away.

“I'm fine.” Jac asides this to Brynn once the Tupperware is sealed. Plates are grabbed next, with one kept for herself and the others passed out to everyone who still needs it. “I think I want to go again next Friday.”

Kendall is mollified by Joe's slight backtracking and nods, relieved. Oh good, he's not going to be obnoxious about it like so many other people were in Kendall's life. Guess who still vividly remembers getting bullied in school…

Plus, he's giving him food. That is a fast track to getting promoted up the ladder from 'brat' to 'person worth knowing'. Good thing very few people act the same way at 20 as they did at 10. The side-eyes he’s getting from Jac are returned, though more out of curiosity than suspicion. Actually, being viewed with suspicion is probably a good thing; he IS a stranger here, after all. So +1 to Squeaks.

That would be appreciated. TBH this is fine and all but I'd rather not have to use my illusions for something like this if I can help it. I guess I'm still hung up a bit over outing myself to others like that." he actually said the phrase 'to be honest' out loud, but his subtitles apparently needed to play catchup. Or maybe he's just used to texting. “And the ones who need to learn it are better teachers than those who choose to learn it, simply because it's not optional, so I trust your judgement."

As he also waits to help himself after others have for likely the same reasons, he smirks towards Emily. “I was a Ferryman tasked with helping keep these troublemakers out of harm's way. Granted, I didn't interact much with the kids myself, I was busy patrolling and scouting out new safehouses. Not that I didn't cause a bit of trouble on my own now and then, haha. But I was there helping evacuate from… places."

He hesitates on that, shifting his gaze at her. How privy was she to information, anyway? All well and good she's here and knows all of the LHK, but… with a faint grin at the offer, he holds up his hand, and that one El Dorado meme shows up hovering above it in full gif glory. 'Both? Both. Both is good'. This is an appropriate use of his ability, apparently.

"Oh my god," Emily utters quietly, to herself more than anyone else. "He's a walking gif keyboard."

Brynn can't help but both color and chuckle silently at Em's comment that it was her turn to being someone home. He's not a stray puppy, she objects with a grin at the other girl. Although… well, he kinda is. Emily is not wrong — the LHK have a tendency of rounding up stray people.

Since Squeaks seems the only one helping herself, Brynn just nudges Kendall forward with a light touch as she takes a plate from the younger teen and moves to the food. Her movements are still slower than usual and she keeps her focus on her hands so as not to drop anything — she usually winds up spilling things when isn't ultra-careful. And with her hands full of food, she can't talk either.

Oh. No. Joe is still 10 in a ton of ways. Kendall is in for disappointment if he thinks little Joe Winters has gone and gotten all different as adult Joe Winters. So much disappointment. Joe does look happy and even flashes Squeaks a quick smile when she doesn't try to run off right away. "Hey. My methods never need supplementing thank you very much. We've taught dozens of people sign language." And Lighthouse Cant. Lots of kids have learned Lighthouse Cant. "But yeah, multiple teachers isn't a bad thing. Sign is good to know when you need to go quiet. Bad guys, threat of bad guys, talking across the room at a party. Middle of combat. Fun day with a huge crowd and it's easier to just sign. You know. Normal things."

"Ferrykid more than Ferryman." Joe remarks with a bit of snark in his tone. And by a bit it's… well it's a lot of snark. But it's said with a smile at least. He catches Brynn's signing out of the corner of his eye and smirks. He's just finished getting the pots and pans into the soapy water to soak for a bit, long enough for him to shovel food in his gullet surely. As always though as Joe signs he also speaks. He doesn't leave people out of conversations. He also translates for Brynn when need be. Though that's been less and less required with so many people around the group now knowing sign. Uh huh. Sure he's not. There's a smirk from Joe before he turns to survey the mess he's made. Some of the soapy water is transferred to a sponge and spread out over the stove. There's grease splatters and stuff, and it's left to sit for a moment as well.

"We've kept up the Lighthouse and Ferry traditions of taking in everyone in need." Joe remarks to Kendall with an easy smile. "We kind of forced Emily to be our friend. Squeaks found us, we didn't find her. Brynn and I you know. Lance and Hailey are here too. Sometimes. And others. It's a full house, the way we were brought up."

At long last, Emily decides to give up on waiting, satisfied with her abnegation period enough to go about fixing a plate for herself. In time with Joe's side-eye, she casts a look back at Brynn as well, then slides into a seat at the kitchen table.

"And aside from the aggressive overinvolvement in my life, you're mostly tolerable," Emily teases, only aloud because certainly Brynn isn't one of those offenders. Joe and Lance are guilty, though. And Geneva, but Emily perpetually allows that one over guilt from the bird incident.

She glances back to Kendall before making eyes at her plate. "They'll let you know if you're ever not welcome. Until then, good luck." A forkful of food later, she announces much more quietly, "And Christ if the cooking isn't bad," before chasing it with another bite.

"Squeaks, how are things on your end, anyway?" Emily segues without lifting her head, unwilling to give too much airtime to her compliment. That's just not who she is. "Haven't heard much from you lately."

“There’s always food,” Jac adds to the reasoning of welcoming all of the strays. It's something she knows, even if she takes less advantage of it now than she used to. “That's how I found them.” A long time ago now. And speaking of food, some of the remaining breakfast foods finds its way onto her plate.

Emily’s question earns a small shrug. “Senior year.” Jac should sound more excited, but the prospect of finally finishing school is a little daunting too, especially with all the projects and papers to complete so she can graduate. “I have a break soon though, and I mostly talked my mom into letting me go to Hokkaido for it.”

With multiple people urging him to eat, Kendall shakes his hand like scattering water, making the illusion disappear. Then with a glance at the others and aided by the nudge from Brynn, he goes to help himself to some of the food that definitely isn’t burned. Works for him. He then glances at Brynn and pulls a chair out for her since he remembers what she ‘told’ him the previous night. Might as well be some help, after all, especially since her hands are full.

As Joe keeps going, though, Kendall raises his gaze upwards and just sighs in mild exasperation. Yeah, ok. Sure. “Actions speak louder than words. I know what I accomplished, and so did the people whose lives I saved. But… it is nice to be in a place where I feel welcomed, for once. Thank you." after speaking his piece, he waves his hand through the subtitles too, disrupting them like smoke.

Then he sits across from Jac, raising his eyebrows at her before looking over to grin at Emily for her comment. Walking gif keyboard is a much better nickname. Then his gaze drops to the plate of food, since he is pretty hungry, and starts on it. Granted, despite the hospitality, he still feels like he’s intruding, but there’s no helping that. And fortunately, given he can’t understand Sign, he is unaware of the fact that he’s referred to as a little lost puppy that just happened to be picked up and brought home. Probably for the best.

Slanting a grin at him when he finally helps himself to the food and then holds the chair for her — something she appreciates because moving is still a challenge — Brynn settles in across from Kendall where she can watch Jac and Emily chat. Joe's tendency to constantly sign when his hands are free (and sometimes even when they're not) is of significant help to her, as usual.

How much do you actually have left? she asks Jac, genuinely interested. And then Wait, what? Aunt Gilly is letting you go where??

"Hey. I'm at least moderately tolerable. There are at least some benefits to being my friend. Lance though you know… well…" Joe's shoulders lift in a shrug, a quick grin from him before he's making himself a plate too, piling a bunch of stuff up in a tortilla that is likely not even to close once he's done, but he's not entirely concerned about it. "See, first benefit right there. The cooking. Learn to cook well when you're cooking for a crowd of picky kids." Joe's head dips to Squeaks' comment. "We had a potluck and she showed up. Been one of us ever since."

Most signs can be understood even if you have stuff in your hands okay. Like an overstuffed breakfast burrito. Joe snarfs a couple big bites down before putting the burrito down on the plate, which promptly unrolls, and rolling it back up is going to be a chore. He glares at it for a moment like it has personally done him wrong, but looks up quickly enough from his double crossing meal to look around the kitchen, a happy little smile settling on his features. It's not the whole gang sure, but it's a good number of them. Joe is kind of a mother hen in that way. He likes a full house. Just isn't comfortable with an empty place. Joe needs alone time pretty much only when he's angry. "Hokkaido?" Joe asks, sounding surprised. "That's in Japan right? That's primal!" He calls out just before tackling his burrito again. Not literally. Just you know, wrestling with it to get all the stuff to roll back up in it.

Emily's next on the docket to blanch. "H— Hokkaido?" Her fork pauses mid-sink into a potato. "By yourself, or with school?" After nearly being kidnapped in the safest place she could be earlier this year, to boot. The stern blonde's icy eyes melt over with concern, one she'll likely never be able to shake or feel compelled to act on.

"Are you sure that's wise?" feels as though it's too harsh a judgment, though, so Emily shakes her head and tries again. "What's even out there?"

“Yes.” Yes, Hokkaido is in Japan and yes, Jac thinks it’s wise. Her answer is mild, mostly because she’s folding a tortilla over scrambled eggs and things. And partly because she’s eyeballing Kendall and Brynn across the table. “I have reasons for going. And I finish end of May.” She takes a bite of her burrito, chews for a few seconds, then motions at the two seated across from her. “Are you two dating or something?”

"Better not be!"

A chipper voice calls down from above before a blonde young woman slides down the pole. She's dressed casually, like she usually is for work. It's house rules that she's not allowed to bring her uniform home before washing it. Because it smells. Not to her, but to everyone else in the house.

Because they're godless heathens.

"Brynn's supposed to be dating Paul," she grins as she skips into the room. She grabs a fork and steals a bite of Jac's breakfast. "Hey Jo-jo, this is amazing! When are you opening a restaurant?"

When people start talking among themselves about the exotic location of Jac’s spring break, Kendall takes the time to quietly finish his food, opting not to burrito it like the others. Japan, huh. Sounds cool. He always wanted to go, because what self-respecting nerd wouldn’t want to go to the source of all the best media in the world?

As such, his mind is wandering when suddenly he’s asked a question, and it’s… that.

He chokes on the food he’s currently chewing, triggering a coughing fit that fortunately is barely kept from spraying over the table. “I just met her last week!” side-eye to Brynn. He didn’t want to offend her or anything by denying it so fast, but… and also forgot his subtitles, oh well.

And then another person joins in, and he looks up, startled. Ah, someone else was in the house. “Ah, hi. I’m Kendall.” he then raises his eyebrows and smirks at Brynn. “Paul, huh. Any reason he wasn’t there to walk you home?” not that Kendall minded, it did result in him earning crash space somewhere that wasn’t falling apart.

Since the question is asked in front of her, Brynn at least catches it. And she gets deer-in-the-headlights expression. Is she what??? Wait, what??! No! There is a look of almost panic on her face as she stares at Jac. She can hear Hailey behind her, but she has no idea what Hailey's retort was. She thinks it was probably something that Brynn herself will consider awful, given the tone of teasing. She's learning to differentiate certain things from tone of voice, although words still have no meaning to her.

Gray eyes behind sunglasses flicker from Jac to Kendall, to JOE, because that's where the next volley is going to come from, she's dead sure. What?? No! What are you talking about??! In her agitation, Brynn actually drops her fork and her hands are flying in perfectly readable ASL. She's not watching her hands, and she's paying no attention whatsoever to the signs, and they're coming as if they're second nature. Which… makes a lot of sense, given that they are. There are a few things that aren't quite perfect because she can't feel whether her hands actually touch, but it's evident that eventually when she gets out of her own way, at the very least her signing will be fine again. Why would you even say that??!

Her face is the color of a fire hydrant, she just knows it. Oh God. She's going to sink under the table and just die.

Kendall isn't the only one coughing on his food, Emily also taken aback by the question. A slurry of callous words are caught by bacon and potato, but she still has enough wherewithal to cough out, "Jesus Christ, Squeaks," and squint at Joe like she's pre-emotively forwarding that his way, too.

"I don't… do you think… I mean… huh. I've never thought about opening a restaurant. I guess the frantic pace would rather match my energy level. And I do like cooking for people. I'd have a hard time with giving away meals to people and then losing money. Though I guess I could set a limit on that, or… something." Joe will want to feed EVERYONE. "And I won't burn myself short of holding my hands in the fryer basket or something." His head tilts to the side in thought before he finishes off his overstuffed burrito that had fallen apart and has been kind of squished back together, long enough at least to go into the bottomless maw that is Joe.

"Kendall Hails, Hails Kendall. In case you don't remember him." Joe flashes her a close mouthed smile, he was just eating after all. "TO be fair though…" Joe's hands move along with his speech, to make extra sure Brynn catches what he's about to say. "She does have a thing for bringing home older guys. I mean lets not forget Caspian…" His eyes dart around the room, then back to Brynn with a big grin full of mischief on his face. Yeah. Brynn knows her brother. The next volley was guaranteed to come from Joe. "Surprised Brynn hasn't tried to bring home even more guys. She does do the vulnerable girl thing very well, and lots of guys have a protective instinct…" Joe makes sure he's out of smacking range as he seeks to fill up his plate with more food. He made enough for an army as usual, so there's tons of food piled on the table.

Squeakers though? Squeakers gets a fist bump if she'll allow it. Cuz she just made a ruckus, which made this meal even better than it already was. "You are so definitely one of us." He remarks with his customary wide grin as he taps her lightly on the shoulder whether he got a fist bump or not. Yes, sow the chaos Jac. Do eeeeet.

Lance did not come home last night, because he was working late and passed out in a break room and - well, it's not unknown for agents to occasionally sleep at the office while burning the midnight hour. He's just gotten back, not that the door opening at the front makes any sound whatsoever. Or closing.

His tie's undone and hanging around his neck, his jacket open, and he looks the stereotype of the tired businessman coming home really. Or he would if he didn't have that baby face of his.

Hearing voices, he creeps his way up towards the kitchen, listening. A sly smile curves to his lips, and he half-raises a hand before—

There's the sudden blaring of a car horn that echoes through the kitchen, followed by the screech of wheels!

Fortunately there's no actual car.

Still coughing, Emily lifts her own hands to answer Brynn's rhetorical with an actual. Because they're assholes who like to ask things like that and create some kind of…

There's no signs for this. At least none the Epstein knows. So she sighs frustratedly, "Like some kind of fucking self-fulfilling prophec—"

The car horn that cuts her off might as well be an airhorn, her eyes having met Lance's a half-second before he emits that sound. Throwing food is generally bad form, so she resorts to a glowering look to tell him what she thinks of him.

Along with a quick sign of, Guest here. It's followed by a middle finger, because of course it is. "The fuck are you doing sleeping in your work clothes, Gerken? It's a Saturday."

The chaos that follows her very casually asked question is precisely why Jac asked in the first place. Hailey’s snagging a bite is ignored, there's plenty enough food to go around and she's already got some extra to go with her. And Joe’s fist is met with a finger, because when has she ever done anything expected?

The other half of her burrito is actually given over to Hailey. At least that’s the teen’s intent. The sudden blast of sound startles her badly enough that it all goes flying. Plate, potatoes, eggs, everything. And as soon as her hands are freed, they're occupied again by clamping over her ears.

Jac, still with her ears covered, turns to where Emily is glaring. Her own face mirrors the one Epstein wears, but she doesn't have any comments to make about the sound. Instead she points at Kendall. “He's got romantical feelings for your sister,” is a bold enough claim, one that hopefully turns enough eyes on the poor newcomer that she can duck out and head home without any questions.

Under normal circumstances, Kendall would definitely have something to say in response to Jac's declaration, and maybe a joke on how he was the latest in a long string of victims, like Brynn was some sort of femme fatale. However, circumstances change quickly, and Jac ends up pointing to thin air.

As soon as the loud noise blares out, Kendall shoves himself away from the table (not hard enough to do more than jostle it) and vanishes, his chair toppling over and clattering to the ground where he just was.

It's a minute or two before he reappears with his back against a wall, looking pale and breathing heavily. "S-sorry…" he mutters, gaze dropping to the ground as he reaches up a slightly shaking hand to rub his face as he takes a few deep breaths. If Jac wanted a distraction so she could leave, she got one, it just wasn’t her doing.

Horns blare, Jac tosses food around, their new guest disappears, Hailey flattens to the ground and holds her breath.

But there's nothing there and the prank is successful because Hailey’s face is probably as beet red as Brynn’s was a few seconds ago.

When she gets up, she passes Lance a most disappointed look and simply shakes her head. "Not cool broheim, PTSD is in this hizzle fo' rizzle," she gives a wary glance to Brynn and stalks over to touch a hand to her forehead and then cheeks. You cool? Need me to get you anything? Earplugs?

Emily's voice is cut off by the blaring sound and Brynn's hands also fly instinctively up to slam over her ears even though she's never in her life had to do that. The trouble is her eyes also slam tight shut behind her sunglasses as colors explode in front of her. The pain in her head is exquisite and she curls over to put her forehead on the table whimpering.

Bad Lance!!

Brynn is panting out breaths, trying not to retch, even as Hailey checks her out. Her face is flushed and she's kinda clammy. She has no idea whose hands they are with her eyes shut, but there's a moment of frantic signs. Colors. Bucket. Then her hands press hard to her temples. She has no idea that she's still making small sounds of agony.

Lance should definitely know better than to shock and surprise a houseful of super powered young people. Especially when his own adopted brother is trained to be a commando just like he is. Luckily for Lance? Joe doesn't actually have any projectile weapons close at hand. There's definitely at least one hidden in the kitchen, but with all the people in there he wouldn't risk firing a gun anyway, not with all the people he cares about in the room. But Joe has knives! So Joe's hands are full very quickly with two kitchen knives, the chef's knife he used to chop all those veggies, and a smaller boning knife held in a reverse grip.

The screeching of wheels though makes no sense, not indoors, so Joe's brows furrow in confusion. Then there's a Lance. There's a growl from Joe and the knives go back where they're supposed to be. Joe doesn't stop Squeakers from leaving, just taps her lightly on the shoulder on her way out to let her know he sees her. But he doesn't stop her, just turns back to the rest of the group. "Bro! Brynn and her ears! Jeeeeeerk!" Joe stands there, hands on hips, scowling at his brother, eyes narrowed hard with that scowl. "Also yeah. What Hails said. PTSD. Lucky Brian trained us so well." IE Lance is lucky he didn't just get shot, or stabbed, or punched in the face by someone.

Joe darts over to the trash can and runs over with it. It's got some vegetable detritus in it, but most of the veggie cuttings are actually simmering in a pot becoming vegetable stock for later cookings, so the trash can is mostly empty. He sets it in front of Brynn and then promptly clears the blast zone. He does however snag a washcloth and some ice that gets wrapped up in the cloth and held for when Brynn is ready for it. Joe stares at Lance while he stands there, just shaking his head at him.

Mischief managed! Unfortunately, Lance had forgotten about Brynn being able to hear, and that mischievous expression turns into one of horror at his mistake. He hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep the night before, after all. The break room isn’t that comfy.

“Oh, shit— ” A grimace at himself as he steps in, hands up as if not wanting to get shot, “Sorry, um, she can’t see me or understand me I’ll apologize to her lat— what?” He blinks over at Jac as she ducks out, then at the stranger. Stranger? He squints.

It's one thing after another in this crazy house here. "Squeaks!" Emily yells after the youngest of them all as she makes her escape. Only after does she wince for adding even more to the cacophony around them.

Man, if this is what having siblings is like, maybe she was just a little lucky for having grown up without them.

She pushes to her feet to stand behind Brynn, rubbing a hand to her back. "There's food, Lance. Get you some before it gets cold," she tells him. Maybe to distract him from restarting the round of third degree on Kendall. Then again, she doesn't know a group of young adults that can multitask like this crew.

Welcome to the Lighthouse, where it's always lively.

Romantical feelings!” Jac all but crows to be heard above the cacophony of sounds from where she’s ducked around the corner. She peeks back, just enough to look at Emily. She said what she said. Then, hand raising and fingers waggling, she waves her way out of the room for good this time.

Kendall’s expression shifts to one of shame when multiple people toss out the phrase ‘PTSD’. Then again, it's highly likely everyone present has also Seen Some Shit. After verifying from others that the true culprit has been found, he takes a few more deep breaths to get himself back under control, still leaning against the wall. “Does that…. happen often?” he asks quietly. If the answer is yes, he might have to rethink the invitation to stay; repeats of that might turn him into a nervous wreck.

Not moving off from the wall just yet, his arms come up to cross defensively at his chest. He most certainly didn’t find Lance’s joke very funny, and to judge by everyone else’s reaction, they didn’t either. But then he catches Brynn's distress over a loud noise, and people talking about her ears, and just looks confused. "Ears? Isn't she…?" Can she hear? Then why the signing? "…is she ok?"

And then the Squeaks makes her exit with a parting shot, and now he just looks exasperated. As Lance gives him the fish-eye though, he feels compelled to deflect that accusation of his feelings (romantical or otherwise) for Brynn, or maybe Lance didn't see the text. Kendall gives him a once-over too but can't remember him from Pollepel either. “Hi, I'm Kendall. So since we’ve all broken the rules by coming in the front door… where’s the real entrance?” an old joke involving safehouses, if any of them were privy to that. Or really, everyone should know by now with the Brick House museum, right? Hopefully this works as a distraction. Because otherwise there might be even more of a ruckus for poor Brynn to deal with.

Hailey holds her fingers under the tap as she waits for the water to turn ice cold. As Jac makes her exit, she flicks a spray of water in the teen's direction as a fun farewell. It misses and hits the door as it swings shut.

"Yah bro, this is Kendall. He's trying to replace Paul in Brynn's heartspace," she quips, tossing a grin over her shoulder at the rest of them. Waggling her eyebrows, she continues, "Not sure it'll work though because growl, amirite?"

When it's finally cold enough to meet her satisfaction, the empath grabs a clean towel and wets it thoroughly under the stream. She doesn't ring it out all the way and it's still dripping when she hands it to Brynn. "Here, put this on your forehead… you can probably wrap it around your ears too to muffle the noise."

Finding a trash bin shoved in one hand brings Brynn cautiously slitting her eyes open. Uuuugghhhh. The color explosions are still nauseating and she makes another distressed sound because of the commotion still happening, slamming them shut again. Keeping one ear plugged (her right one), she signs with the other hand in their shorthand Cant, Need Lance. TOO LOUD. She needs her brother to make the world silent for her again and somewhere in the roar of the noise around her she hopes she heard Joe using his Scold-Lance voice. Pleasepleasepleaseplease…. Tears slip from beneath her lashes even with her eyes squeezed shut as tight as she can against the onslaught of colors. Please God, make it quiet.

Joe’s eyes are full of concern as he hovers near Brynn. He does give her the bin to puke in if she needs it, and takes note of Hailey coming over with the cold compress. Squeakers got her little farewell from him. He doesn’t mind her parting shot, trying to stir up more trouble. When is there not some kind of ruckus going on amongst them all? “Ems? Can you hold this while I kick my brother’s butt around this kitchen?” He asks, his eyes narrowing in Lance’s direction, trying to press the bin into Emily’s hands, or at least have her on hand to help Brynn in case it.

“Bro. Like… bro.” Joe is scowling at Lance, his eyes narrowed, hands on his hips. Peter Pan pose. Then catches sight of Brynn’s signing for quiet and he looks to Lance, a brow going up and gestures at their adoptive sister in a very ‘Get to it right now!’ sort of fashion. Why isn’t he already silencing things for her. Gosh. “You can have food only after you help our sister.” Joe does turn his head to look over in Kendall’s direction. “She… can hear now. It’s complicated. But she doesn’t know what sounds go with what words yet. She’s not been able to hear long and it’s going to take some time for her to learn to speak, let alone understand what we’re actually saying. She gets tone and stuff though.”

Joe’s shoulders lift in a slight shrug as he turns to look around the room a little bit, making sure Lance is doing the thing what makes Brynn feel better, but also checking on everyone else. Carhorn in the kitchen has Joe a little shaken, and he’s checking on everyone else to make sure they’re okay too. Pretty much all of the Lighthouse Kids have some PTSD. Or well, a lot of PTSD. Like a lot a lot. Someone should probably do something about that.

Lance is sure that he recognizes Kendall from somewhere, even moreso after he’s introduced, but he’s busy making amends for his poorly-chosen prank at the moment. “Sorry, sorry,” he says, looking stricken, sweeping a hand towards Brynn and wrapping a field of silence around her - not completely, she can hear her clothes rustling, things on the table that she touches, but past a few inches, nothing.

Complete silence would be worse for her, even if she doesn’t realize it. Because she could still hear all the internal sounds people don’t normally pay attention to.

Emily looks up to Hailey when Brynn seems to be struggling enough she doesn't take it. Here, she gestures, taking the cold cloth and lying it on the back of the chromakinetic's neck. "Easy," she encourages, rubbing a hand on Brynn's back.

"C'mon, Joe, he did something stupid, but he regrets it. Right, Lance?" The comment is issued along with a look up at him out of the corner of her eye.

Only after does she glance to the emptied doorway, wondering just what Squeaks is so determinedly smoke-bombing her way out over.

Oh, good. Everyone is (rightly) focused on Brynn's condition rather than whatever trouble Jac was planning to cause for Kendall. The news that Brynn started being able to hear recently is kinda weird though. "Uh, ok. Anything I can do to help?" he asks, coming closer and looking at Brynn with concern. But she's surrounded by people helping her, so for the moment he'll stay back. He's just a guest here, after all, and illusions aren't helpful in this situation.

"Dishes," Hailey says quickly, looking up from her sister. "Emily, can you take Brynn to lie down on the couch over there? Kendall, Joe, and I are going to clean up. Lance, bring the garbage can with them and then come fix yourself a plate." A take charge attitude is exactly what the space needs right now.

And that's when Jim makes his appearance.

The golden snub nose stalks into the kitchen on all fours and then leaps up onto the counter next to Hailey. "Hey Buddy, you're just in time for chores, want to sweep the kitchen or clear the plates?" He just looks at her in silent judgement, conveying exactly how much he doesn't want to help. Except with the fruit. He does help himself to some of that.

Brynn breathes easier as soon as Lance quiets everything for her. Without the cacophony of voices, her shoulders instantly relax and she wilts a little bit with her face still in her hands. But she fights the headache to open her gray eyes, looking for whoever just put that washcloth on her neck. She signs 'thank you' to Emily and then seeks out Lance's gaze because she knows he's beating himself up. I'm okay. I'll be fine — just a headache. It's a deflection, because her head feels like her eyeballs are going to explode from her face any second now, but she needs her siblings not to freak out or be upset.

She does lean into Em's touch on her back and the other girl can feel the subtle tremors of pain in her body — Emily probably knows that sensation better than anyone else in the room. But the petite young woman holds her gentle smile, her game face firmly in place for her family despite the unnerving flashes of brilliant color that pop like flashbulbs in front of her eyes.

Joe isn't freaking out, but he is upset, his narrowed eyes flickering back over to Lance and then Brynn pretty regularly as he goes about putting more food on his plate. Nothing more for him to do in that moment. "Most of the dishes are already soaking in the sink. It's just the plates people are using that aren't in there." Joe remarks to Hailey as he finishes putting food on his plate for round two. He sets it aside though and glances Kendall's way. "If you know a healer that would definitely help. Otherwise I'd just relax and eat while she recovers." Joe's shoulders lift in a slight shrug.

Joe wanders over Brynn's way and will give her a little squeeze on her shoulder. "You do look a bit of a mess Broninja. You sleeping okay? Everything okay at the office?" Despite his definite annoyance with the ruckus Lance has caused Joe can't help but be concerned for his brother. He'll wander back towards his plate of food. One there's now a monkey in there, never know what he'll steal, and two… Joe is still hungry dangit.

Lance grimaces at Brynn’s look his way, nose wrinkling up as he signs back quickly, I’m sorry. I forgot..

As she’s drawn away to find a place to sit, he shakes his head, “I’m— just, y’know, been studying up on some, uh, stuff for a work assignment coming up.” A glance to Emily - she assuredly knows which he’s talking about - one hand coming up to rub at the nape of his neck, “Realized it was a little late so I just crashed out in the break room.”

Emily catches that look and stays quiet, not returning it. The upcoming assignment is one she's been trying to prepare for in different ways, almost certainly. Just the thought of it brings her to close her eyes and exhale a calming breath, reaching back to her plate to grab a single last bite from it. Toast, an entire piece of it jammed into her mouth.

"Hey, Jim, long time," she says around it to the monkey making its way into the kitchen. After that, she wipes her hand free of crumbs by swiping her fingers against her shirt before unlocking her phone and nudging it to Kendall. "I'm out, too, but put your number in there and I'll text you back. I've got— errands and shit to run this morning, though."

Her own bit of studying and brushing up to attend to.

The toast is whittled down quickly, and afterward, she slings her back off to produce the book she initially came to drop in the first place. A textbook, by the looks. Art history. "I'll leave this here," she announces to Joe.

"I used to know one but that was years ago." Oh. Dishes? Not quite what Kendall had in mind, but he shrugs and moves over to the table, starting to pick up whatever wasn't flung around earlier. "We'll do dishes so the chef can eat." he adds, making a shooing motion to Joe. Whose name he doesn't remember quite as well. Oops. Well plenty enough opportunity for introductions when the room hasn't devolved to chaos.

When there's unusual movement from the doorway, the illusionist blinks over at Jim. "Uh, there's a…" he trails off when Hailey starts talking to the monkey and Jim listens, even though it doesn't actually involve him doing what she says. Well then. An eyebrow is raised at that, then he shrugs again and continues on. He's seen weirder. Anyway. "Wash or dry?" he asks Miss Bossypants. "Since it seems the monkey doesn't want to help." Consideringly, he looks over at Jim again, and perhaps a bit stereotypically, a banana appears on the table near him. Kendall’s never tried using illusions on a monkey before. Would it work, or are monkeys smart enough to know that tasty looking fruit that shows up out of nowhere wouldn’t be real?

He does keep shooting concerned looks over at Brynn throughout though, since she still seems in a bad way. And no, they're not dating! Geez. When prompted by Emily, he glances down at her phone and types in his number. "Send me a text so I know yours." Easiest that way.

Jim sneers at the banana, as if he's just smelled something awful and then makes his way toward the grapes and berries. He then crawls toward Emily, using only one of his front hands to make his way there. The other is used for sharing, because he cares. Once the text is out of her hand, it is quickly replaced by a strawberry, a gift from the monkey.

"He thinks it's been too long too!" Cackles Hailey as she picks up a scrubby and starts in on the easiest of the dishes. She didn't answer Kendall's question with words, it's not her style. "He'll help when he feels like it, I mean, he hasn't really contributed to the mess yet so I don't blame him."

Relieved of most of the noise around her by Lance's ability, Brynn remains in her seat and just closes her eyes to focus on her breathing and the washcloth on the back of her neck. With a family their size, being able to sort of zone out in the middle of chaos is almost a necessity. And that's exactly what the young woman does, now that everyone is settling in to eat, exchange numbers, and just generally hang out. Kendall's doing just fine in the ebb and flow of their crazy home!

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