Deathclouds And Other Stories


emily_icon.gif joe_icon.gif

Scene Title Deathclouds And Other Stories
Synopsis Emily and Joe share pizza and the latest intrigue.
Date February 20, 2019

Library Cafe, Brooklyn College

The large box of pizza Emily carries with her is dropped on the table as she comes up to where Joe's sitting, sending papers on the table scattering. She winces at that, but looks back to him intently. First thing's first before she goes to grab what's flown around just now.

"I think I saw that cloud you were talking about the other day."

Joe isn’t really sitting. He’s lounging. He’s flopped over backwards in his chair with his head lolled back and a book over his face, covering his eyes from the light. His breathing is rhythmic but there’s no snoring, and when the pizza is dropped on the table the book goes tumbling forwards, one hand snatching it before it falls to the floor and putting it back on the table, the other goes right for the lid of the pizza box. Don’t put food in front of a Joe if you don’t want him to eat it. “Didja? Nifty.” Joe mutters around a mouthful of pizza. He turned into a speedster for a second, snatching a slice and taking a bit before she can even get the words out of her mouth.

“Pretty primal huh? Lightning and energy and stuff. I’m pretty sure it’s sentient. But it might not be. Animals can get pretty smart without having true sentience. Could just be a… force. A thing.” Joe’s shoulders shrug and he leans over, plucking papers off the floor and putting them back on the table, tucking them into the cover of his book. “Did it zap you at all? Cuz it zapped me a bunch. I also might have shoved my hand into the cloud trying to ground the energy so it would stop zapping the people at the party.” Joe munches away at the slice of pizza, a hand dipping into his pocket to pull out his phone and check the time. Still got awhile before his next class. “So what didja think of it?”

"It's definitely a thing all right," Emily sounds all-too-knowing of that as she crouches to pick up the handouts that had flown off the table. "It was chasing a bunch of animals… Horses. It didn't seem to like birds all that much." She frowns as she stands back up, sorting the papers and placing them back on the table. "Set plenty of them on fire and killed them with its lightning."

Eyes narrowing, she peeks at the box. "Like… Two slices max, okay?" Very stern on that. Outrageously expensive delicacy they were consuming. "The rest is for me and Julie." And to that effect, she's peeling off a slice for herself.

"It had a thing against birds…" Emily muses while she's folding her slice. "And then it chased down a horse." She glances up toward him, pausing before taking a bite. "And it's actually a person. Three guesses who."

Joe’s features pull into a frown at the talk of damage done to birds and what not. “That’s… awful. It was zapping the partiers too. Would have killed them eventually. Maybe… maybe it is more like an animal and it doesn’t realize what it’s doing? Or it’s evil. Could just be evil and doesn’t care. Though I’m not sure why it would flee from me if it was.” Joe blinks, his head tipping to the side. “Who’s Julie?” He asks as noms on his slice of pizza.

“Chased down a horse? Did it kill the horse? Didn’t like birds? And… wait how do you know it’s a person?” He asks in confusion. “Also that’s not a fair questions. Three guesses is nowhere near enough. Do you know how many people I know?!?! I know a LOT of people Ems. Like a lot of people. And the only person I know with lightning powers is Lady Zeus.” Joe leans back a bit, puffing out his cheeks as he thinks. “Gabriel? Peter? Uhhhh Who haven’t I seen in awhile. Oh Brian had electrical powers at one point. But I’m pretty sure I’d have heard if he had those powers again and had been turned into a cloud. So uhhh…” Joe’s shoulders lift in a slow shrug.

“No clue. But how do you know it is a person? It seemed like it tried to reach out and touch me at one point which was kind of odd. Is it someone I know?” His head tilts to the other side as he leans forwards to snatch another piece of pizza. Cuz the first was disappeared like magic. Joe’s stomach is bottomless. “Oh! Was it… no he’s dead. Nevermind! Talk on.” Joe waves a hand at Emily as if magnanimously giving her room to talk, a cheeky smile on his lips as he takes bites out of the second slice of pizza.

"You know, Julie," Emily's brow is furrowed as she takes the time to work through her bite. "Julie, who I live with? My cousin." She seems perplexed about his confusion. Her head shakes while she takes another bite.

"Joe," The chastisement as he goes on past three guesses is immediate. "Wrong, on all counts."

She turns her head away slightly, glancing at him out of the corner of her eye. "When's the last time you've seen Eve Mas?" The practically rhetorical question is asked with a hint of sly. Emily leans against the side of the table as she elaborates, "Because I shit you not, it was her. She was a fucking deathcloud one second and a lightning spark of a human the next." Her head tilts, judging his reaction.

“Ummm nope. I have no idea who Julie is. You’ve never mentioned her to me before.” Joe flashes Emily a quick smile though and lifts his shoulders in a slight shrug. “Not a big deal, just was confused on who Julie was is all. Since you mentioned her name like I should know who that is.” His eyes shift right and then left a bit before he takes another bite off the slice of pizza and tips his head back and puts his hands up. “What? I only gave two guesses. Gabriel and Peter. I mentioned that Brian and Lady Zeus had lightning powers and was gonna ask about someone else but they’re dead so yeah. I only made two guesses.” He both sticks his tongue out at Emily, and holds up two fingers before he goes back to nomming on pizza.

Of course that nomming slows as Emily asks him that question about Eve. “Aunty Eve? Uhhh awhile. Gillian’s birthday party I think. But she tubas in and out of people’s lives all the time so not concerned about it really. I mean the first time I saw her in years was at a riot at the market and she stabbed a guy to protect me even though she knows that guy couldn’t actually hurt me. So… wait what?” He asks as she continues on and tells him it was Eve. He doesn't flip out, or go nuts. He sits a moment, chewing on his last mouthful of pizza slowly, considering, then shrugs his shoulders.

“Okay.” Joe remarks and reaches out for the pizza box, but then pauses, pouting and pulls his hand back to himself. She said only two pieces. So instead his hand shifts to his papers and he picks up the book with the papers in the cover and slides that into the backpack on the floor. He knows very well he’s not going to get any more homework done in this conversation. Aunt Eve is a cloud? Gets about as much reaction as Emily turning up walking did. He just rolls with it. “I don’t remember Aunty Eve hating birds so much. But that checks out with the whole being attracted to the party thing.”

It took Emily hearing it twice for it to really sink in, but the names he's using to guess…

"The fuck is Peter?" is her first question. The slice she's working through is lowered as she considers his other guess. The interrogative is silently repeated when he brings up Gabriel, one eyebrow arching. She figures on that one, but she wants the confirmation. First name basis, huh?

His reaction to the news about Eve is largely underwhelming, so she sighs to announce her disappointment with it. "Not even a shred of doubt. No 'Emily, Eve doesn't do that.' Not even an 'are you sure though'. What to do with you, Joe." She gestures absently with the slice as she bets, "I could get away with telling you I saw a unicorn."

“Peter. Petrelli. All around self righteous dickhead. I mean… most of that opinion comes from Brian but I remember him being at the Lighthouse a couple of times. I mean one of those times he started a battle with Gabriel and it turned into a crazy mess. Like super nutso. He’s surly. Brian said he’s a dick. But yeah.” Joe’s shoulders lift in another shrug as he eyes the pizza box a little bit, his face scrunching up. He wants more pizza, but he’s not gonna ask for more. Cuz pizza caaaan be hard to get a hold of. He has money though, but he doesn’t pester her for more food, instead it’s his turn to look shocked when she just raises an eyebrow at the mention of Gabriel.

“Wait. Wait. How have I not told you about Gabriel? Lance smacks me in the head ALL THE TIME for telling people about Gabriel. Gabriel is good people. He used to sit in our living room and play sad songs on his guitar. If he was a monster he never showed that side of himself to us kids. And there were tons of kids in the lighthouse with powers and he never can openered any of our brains so… dunno. People insist he was a monster but I don’t buy it at all.”

“What? People come back from other worlds, and swoop in on us at Hailey’s menagerie out at the zoo and I don’t bat an eye. You tell me my Aunty Eve has become a lightning deathcloud thingy? Yeah I buy it.” Then she mentions a unicorn and his eyes light up for a moment, only to narrow as he peers over at her. “Did… wait did you actually see a unicorn Ems or… no you’re messing with me. Got it. Gullible enough to believe a unicorn.” He rolls his eyes at her and shakes his head. “I mean yeah if you told me honestly that you’d seen one I’d believe you. Do you realize how much crazy stuff we saw as kids? Like… the crazy, the insane and the outrageous became day to day stuff for us. Hailey once saved us with a moose! Well okay not single handedly. Lady Zeus was involved, and me and Paul charged some soldiers. That was the caravan out of New York I mentioned before.” When he name dropped Emily’s own father.

Joe doesn't say Gabriel's last name, but he doesn't need to, does he? Her look doesn't become disapproving, exactly, but it's something like it. The description given for both him and Peter will be remembered, even if they're taken with a grain of salt both.

"Someone can show you one face and still do and be something entirely different, Joe." Emily feels the need to impress on him. For her own sake, even if he won't listen to it. "Serial killers don't get that title sitting around and playing guitar. No kind of shredding or melting faces does that." And it didn't even sound like he'd done any of that, besides. "If he drew the line at kids… Lucky you. Lucky all of you." she says distractedly, taking another bite.

There's a lot to take in as he keeps talking, so she takes the opportunity to polish off more of her slice. She makes faces at him to impress yes, she was using the unicorn as an example, other things he says causing a thoughtful look to take over instead. Someone swooping in on them at the zoo? A Paul? It was a common enough name, but she wonders. When he mentions the caravan she looks back again, jaw pausing.

It takes her a moment, looking down while she finishes chewing. "What's with the zoo story? Is that why you wanted to get together today?"

"Yeah. I mean people hid stuff from us all the time as kids. People still hide stuff from us. Pretty regularly. Like the adults tried to hide the whole world hopping stuff even though we were the first ones to know. Squeaks found the tape after all. They tried to keep it secret from us. Dunno why. They had to know we were gonna find out eventually. We always do. Not really sure why anyone tries to keep stuff from us. We'll find out, and that really just makes things that much worse when we find out people kept stuff from us."

Joe's face scrunches up a little bit. "But back to Gabriel. Sure, he could have shown us a different face. But I don't think he did. Could be the Gabriel we knew wasn't really Gabriel? Or maybe he was and the the Gabriel everyone else knew wasn't Gabriel. I mean Brian could replicate and make more of himself. I mean… the Brian I originally knew died. One of his replicated selves stepped into his life and his role as caretaker of the Lighthouse kids. It took some getting used to. Still not sure if the other kids noticed. But I had spent a LOT of time with Brian and I knew right away that something was off. I've got a good sense of people. Whether they're good people that is. But even good people can make bad choices." Joe leans back in his seat, squirming a bit at sitting still now that he's not doing homework or eating food.

"Oh. Magnes. I was heading out to the zoo to see Hailey. Stopped by Gillian's and she wasn't there, so went to find her and Magnes swooped down on us. Had a fairly lengthy talk. Mostly him trying to convince me that telling people about the world hopping was bad and me pointing out that I'd already told a ton of people and if we hadn't told people then they'd have not had help getting home. He looked at me funny and then sighed and told me as much as he could. He thought it would satisfy my curiosity. Hah." Joe smirks and leans back a little bit. "So yeah, wanted to tell you that Magnes is alive and back in our world." He flashes a grin at Emily, then stuffs his hands under his legs, his feet bouncing in place a bit. Joe does not do sitting still well.

Emily's brow ticks up in surprise when Joe describes Brian, somehow keeping any thoughts about that to herself. She tears a bite away from the crust of the pizza to better make sure that happens. When Magnes is brought up by name, all she can do is nod slightly. Based on his statement that someone swooped in from another world, she had figured, but it was good to be sure. Interest appears like a flickering candle flame in her eyes when talk about the other worlds is mentioned, her hand lowering again.

She offers what's left of her slice to him wordlessly. "How much did he say?" is asked while extending the offering of pizza.

"Uhh he talked a lot about not telling people about the things he told me about. Which I guess I'm violating, but I already told him all my people were gonna find out anyway. He confirmed the world hopping. And that it was them. Also that they were in Virus not Wasteland. But he said they went to four different futures. And he mentioned pirates. So I'm assuming at least Virus, Flood and Wasteland. Dunno what other future he might have gone to. Don't know… how many futures there are actually. At least that we're connected to enough to travel to. He mentioned something about that too." That was cheating Emily. Bribing Joe with food. He takes it out of hand, not even realizing that he's doing it, and munches on it, slower this time, he's had two pieces already.

"But he baaaasically confirmed almost all of my chalking. I mean not all of it, but I can infer the rest from his confirmations. Apparently Squeakers was there, which I already suspected since she vanished when everyone else did. But hey I don't blame her for being tight lipped. Also you're not gonna report him to SESA for telling me are you? He said he could tell that I'm like him and wouldn't rest till I had answers, and he's not wrong. At all. I really think he was doing his best to contain it all. Also I pissed off Geneva. Because she was pissed about being a bird and I didn't get what the big deal was. I mean yeah she almost died but she didn't die and… she got to be a bird! I mean how primal is that? How many people dream of flying and stuff and never get to? How many people dream of turning into a bird and she actually got to!"

"Yeah, but she almost died, Joe."

Any other conversation is trumped by that needing to be understood. Emily's voice takes on a hard edge to it, much like the event had happened to her herself. "She didn't ask for it, she suffered from it, and she barely made it out alive."

Very still, almost stiff, Emily looks away across the library, the thread of conversation she'd meant to pick up next entirely forgotten.

Joe waves a hand at that statement. "We grew up almost dying all the time. Shouldn't be anything new. I mean she did join up later but still, we were always in danger. That's really nothing new. I think she was overreacting." It's times like this that people are often reminded that Joe has lived a very different and not at all normal life. His childhood was fraught with danger and the death of people close to the kids. "But she did make it out alive…" Joe's features scrunch up in a quizzical manner.

"You uhhh sound kinda guilty there Ems." Joe remarks, a brow lifting at her slowly. "Either you and Geneva are a lot closer than I knew… or you were involved with it all somehow and are angry over it still. Guilt or just plain anger at whoever did it?" Joe asks softly before he takes a bit of crust and chews on it for a few moments. "I don't know what happened but… I mean these things are often beyond our control." Joe scoots to the edge of his seat.

"I mean… when we lost Denisa… I don't think I've told anyone this but… I blamed myself. For a long time. Cuz Brian always expected me to look out for the other kids. And I took that responsibility seriously even though most of them were the same age as me. If the dogs had attacked me I'd have been fine. If I had noticed she wasn't inside with us and gone out after her? I… blamed myself. I don't think I've ever told anyone that.” Joe pauses for a moment, just pulling in a breath and letting it out, his normal grin faltering to a gentle frown.

“But we lost so many people. Kids, adults, friends. And we had all lost our families to begin with to even be in the care of the Ferry. Eventually you just learn to… roll with it. Soooo you wanna tell me what happened? Or should I come up with some crazy chalk theory where someone with mind changing powers transplanted her into a bird cuz someone wouldn't give them what they wanted and they… I mean in my head I hear maniacal laughter after the fact but real villains don't do that. They just do their thing and then take off, or the heroes run away cuz the big bad is too big at that moment and they need more backup."

A slow exhale is all that keeps Emily from overreacting at Joe's callous retort to the near-death experience. She continues to stare off, jaw working. There's probably no way he'd sympathize unless it happened to him directly. She hopes it never will.

She remains similarly distanced at the accusation of guilt, not turning back to him.

As far as Emily is concerned, she had plenty of control over whether or not Geneva had been present when Eileen arrived. She chose to let Gene stay because she didn't want to be alone.

And look where that had gotten them both.

When Emily turns back, the distance remains in her eyes, even though Joe's expression has fallen too. "It was my fault, though." is as much as she's willing to say about it. "But it won't happen again." Unnerved, she leans off of the table and reaches around the box to sandwich it to her hip.

"I should go," she suggests decisively. "Get this home before it gets any colder. Get back before Julie worries."

Joe's head tips forwards slowly. "Okay. If you need to go I understand. When you're ready and want to talk about what happened I'll be here Ems. I might not always understand but I'll always listen." Joe's smile is an earnest and honest one. "You're good people. And like I said, even good people make mistakes sometimes. I make mistakes all the time and I'd like to think I'm good people." Joe flashes her one of his big wide grins. "But honestly if you do decide you want to talk I'm here. And in this case I probably will understand." No, Joe understands near death experiences. But they're just a part of life in his opinion. Which is a very strange thing indeed. “Be safe Em. Thank you for the pizza. Also I should meet this Julie sometime.”

Already having started to walk away, a thought strikes Emily that makes her pause and turn back, even if she's decidedly closed off at the moment. It didn't feel right to not tell him at least that much. "You're welcome. I caught up with Magnes too." she relays in a deadpan before her tone softens. "Be careful around him, Joe. It sounded like he's been through a lot of shit, and isn't stable because of it. Too much loss."

One side of her mouth pulls back in a faint grin as she admits, "I know it's you I'm talking to and all, but…"

Emily shakes her head as she turns away again. "I just worry about it anyway."

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