Magic Will Happen!


brynn_icon.gif caspian_icon.gif joe_icon.gif lance_icon.gif raquelle_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Magic Will Happen!
Synopsis Or so Raquelle claims when he attempts to explain "Spa Day" to kids who've never HEARD of mani-pedis! Brian, you got some 'splainin' to do when Raq catches you.
Date April 4, 2018

Caspian's Crash Pad

That feral little kid from the streets didn’t make it over to Caspian’s on the day she’d planned to. Something came up. What that something was is a secret, she’ll never tell, so it doesn’t matter. Even though it put a delicious treat at risk of being lost. What does matter is she didn’t show up when she thought she would, but the strawberries are still okay!

Mostly. It’s a few days later.

After getting side tracked, Squeaks had found her way back to her home in the Underneath. The strawberries she’d so diligently protected that far were squirreled away for safer keeping. They found a home in a jar – it’s a clean jar – which was then tucked amongst some vintage looking figurines picked up from somewhere beyond the city. Overnight, the treat would be safe until the next day.

Which turned out to be a few days, but that’s why there’s a lone, smallish figure, draped in a too-large hoodie and overalls, backpack hanging heavily from the shoulders, making long strides across the street and to the gate which shutters Caspian’s property from the rest of the Safe Zone. The kid stops there to give the gate a suspicious eyeballing. Squeaks pushes back her hood and gives the gate a nudge with her foot to gain access to the property.

When it swings open, the girl steps into the yard. Again, it’s with a foot that she closes the gate behind her. Then those long strides resume, carrying her with an intent purpose to the front door. Anyone inside has only the trod of her feet on the porch as warning before a fist knocks enthusiastically upon the door.

It’s been an evening or two since the LHK’s arrived on Caspian’s doorstep, and although they have been making noises about heading back to their apartment - it was home, after all - Caspian’s hospitality and regularly available food was a pretty strong deterrent for them leaving too terribly early. He did spend the mornings cooking something for breakfast - oatmeal sometimes, a couple of times eggs and, for a special occasion - I.E. today, there’s something that might have only been whispered about in the middle of wartime. A oven-safe pan has been heated in the oven and sizzling softly inside is good, thick cut, streaky bacon with black pepper on the outside. Up north there was a smokehouse that needed electrical work done, and following his contacts (and a day’s trip north out of the city), Caspian was able to fix the problem, come home with a nice paycheck and three whole pounds of black pepper bacon. He’s in the middle of turning the bacon with a fork when the knock gets his attention. Leaving the oven open as to not let the bacon burn, Caspian pads to the door in bare feet, walking around any sleeping LHK’s on the couch or pallets on the floor. Dressed in a t-shirt and pajama shorts, opening the door slightly to peer outside, opening it the rest of the way to allow Squeaks entry. “Hey there, Squeaks.” He says with a yawn, bouncing on his toes. “Just in time for breakfast, as usual.”

Closing the door behind Squeaks, Caspian heads back to the kitchen, the younger girl left to her own devices in the living room for a moment.

Brynn is curled up on one corner of one end of the couch. She's small enough to get away with it, sleeping like that. None of the three LHKs have been sleeping well at all. There's LOT of waking up — way more than they want Caspian to know, probably. When Squeaks enters the door, displacing the air so that a subtle breeze passes by her, her gray eyes are instantly open, as if she's sleeping on combat alert. Which…. honestly is exactly what she's doing. She's very sure the place is under surveillance, now that all three of them are here. Which means they've put Cas in danger if that thing followed them.

It is both a pro and a con in the argument of whether to leave.

When she recognizes the tiny form in the doorway, she relaxes a little bit. It's a familiar face — and one Joe and Lance wanted to talk to anyway, what with the ghostly William situation. She waves to the other girl and offers a small smile as she shifts uncomfortably on the couch, still hurting from the emergency teleport.

Nightmares suck. Nightmares fueled by some sort of fear demon evolved? Suck much much worse. And all three of the LHK's suffer from them, suggesting it's more than just reliving their experiences. Much more. Joe doesn't shout himself awake, but when he comes awake it's with a start and his hands reaching for weapons that he doesn't exactly have on him at the moment. He has them, they'd be in his stuff from the hospital, but he doesn't have them on his person. Usually he checks his stitches, still surprised to see them there, then goes back to sleep. He's been awake for a bit, laid out on the floor in front of the couch on a pallet made out of blanket and a pillow.

When he hears Brynn come awake he reaches a hand out, gently taking hers and giving it a reassuring squeeze. He doesn't bother signing yet, he can tell by her reaction that she recognizes whoever is at the door. His other hand was sliding slowly towards the bag with his stuff in it. Like his gun. But when Brynn doesn't tense up he relaxes and brings his hand back to his side, his eyes closing again, hand still holding onto Brynn's for the moment. He'll be able to feel any change in her that way, also he's still just happy to know his siblings are okay. Then he hears the name that Caspian speaks and one eye cracks open to beer up at Brynn. Did she ever get a chance to talk to Squeaks about stuff? The question is clear on his face if Brynn looks at him.

There’s no sound as Lance wakes up, but then, there’s not usually much sound from the specialized audiokinetic when he’s sleeping; he normally leaves his power active when he’s asleep, which means no snoring. Also no alert when the sudden jerk and tense of the others have him cracking open an eye and…

Where the hell did he get a gun from?

It swiftly disappears, though, when he realizes everything’s good, safe, and there’s no danger. Tucked under the hoodie he’s wearing, he shifts to sit up with a grimace, reaching across his body with one arm to adjust the sling that’s holding the other still across his chest. Stupid dislocated elbow.

The silence dissipates around himself, and he relaxes back again, leaning against Brynn a bit. “Hey,” he offers, pale and a bit wan still from his recovery, peering over at Squeaks. Who’s that? Oh, right, the girl from dinner..

The girl is already looking up when the door is opened. “Hi,” is her normal response to Caspian’s appearance. Anyone else might be embarrassed at having a knack for showing up right when it’s time to eat. Not Squeaks. She might have the devil’s own luck when it comes to getting a meal some days, but her arrival correlating to breakfast being prepared isn’t noticed when she follows him inside. Her gaze follows his closing the door then disappearing into the kitchen.

Left by herself, Squeaks allows her attention to wander. And then her feet. It’s the same as she’s done each time being inside, the casual and slow exploration of the living space. With one exception: in the early-ish morning dim, she’s not immediately aware of the slumbering siblings.

It’s not until she’s taken a few steps in their direction and her eyes come from peering at something in the opposite that she stops and stares at the group of older teens as each becomes aware of her presence. The kid may not understand certain things about emotions, but she understands healthy and not healthy. And seeing the three in varying degrees of not healthy makes her uncomfortable in ways she’s unable to explain. Squeaks’ expression clouds with confusion and fear, uneasiness becomes a visible tension in her small body that doesn’t ease even when the older teens settle upon recognizing her.

Caspian’s way of making bacon is a little different. A big sheet of foil and an oven at 325f. Flip halfway through and let it go to desired crispness. Caspian likes it a little chewy himself, but he likes his head out to ask once he hears movement. He steps out of the kitchen and looks around, mentally doing a count of heads - three plus squeaks. Okay, appropriate number. And seeing as they're starting to stir he speaks. “Good morning, everyone. How do you guys like your bacon? Pancakes are coming up soon, too.” He gestures to the lighthouse kids scattered around his living room. “They're okay - just banged up. Healing up here. They'll need to tell the story, ‘cause it's theirs and my pancakes will burn if I share it.” And Caspian ducks back into the kitchen where cooking smells and sounds are beckoning.

If there's any surprise from Brynn that Lance is sleeping up there with a weapon in his one good hand and Joe's reaching for one in his bag? It doesn't show even a little bit. She curls her hand around Joe's, holding tightly despite the fact that it means she can't 'talk' and shifts to accommodate Lance's leaning on her. The puppy pile has almost literally been intact the whole time they've been here, aside from nature breaks.

Only when both boys have relaxed does she release Joe's hand and offer Squeaks a small smile. She sticks to ASL for Caspian's sake, and for Squeaks's — she too wants to learn to talk with her hands. Guys, this is Squeaks. She's the one you said you wanted to talk to about the stuff in the sewers, Joe. She lowers her hands, running one through Lance's hair where he lays on her, just because he happens to be there. It's an action that might be more a comfort to her than him… or perhaps not, depending on the day. Her shift in weight distribution has her stretching her legs out, though, and tucking her her toes carefully under Joe's prone form as well. There. Circle of contact complete. Safe.

LHK's come prepared yo. That's where Lance got his gun from. And if Joe wasn't being stupid he'd have his on him too. Though it's hard since his arm should be in a sling cuz of his shoulder. He's stubborn though. But it means his left arm is not quick to clear his normal shoulder holster. Anywaaaay. Children with guns that know how to use them aside Joe offers Lance a slight nod when he spots the gun, a quick grin from the bulletproof kid before he flops his head back down on his pillow.

"Where on earth did you get bacon from Cas? Like… how? Did you trade part of your soul? Pretty sure you traded part of your soul. You shouldn't do that. Might need it someday for something big." This said loudly so Cas can hear in the kitchen, and as he talks Joe is signing as well for Brynn's benefit. "We went exploring in exclusion zone and found ourselves a… fear telepath? Nightmare telepath? SOmething like that. Eimi tried to teleport way too many people out at once. We all got messed up and Eimi is still missing." See, story told. If not in great detail. "I remember her. From the dinner." Joe speaks and signs back at Brynn.

"Brynn was introducing you." He offers to Squeaks before he groans and sits up, sort of, using his good arm to pull himself up, he twists on his bedroll until his back is against the couch, keeping close to his siblings before his eyes move over to her. "We've actually been meaning to talk to you about some stuff that went down in the sewers when Lance and I were down there. See if you have any insight. Brynn says you lived slash live down there." He lets his eyes close for a moment, head lolling back against the couch, breathing slow and steady as pain rolls through him from having moved around. He shifts a little bit so he's resting back against Brynn's legs. He knows that she feels safest with contact after all.

“I would like bacon, yes,” Lance calls back, relaxing in a slouch against Brynn. He doesn’t care how it’s cooked, he just wants bacon please and thank you, and he’s not going to ask any questions about who Caspian performed bizarre sexual favors for in exchange for bacon. There’s bacon and pancakes and he’s okay with that.

He turns his head to look back to Joe, and then to Squeaks, offering her a faint but reassuring smile, “Hey, relax, we don’t bite or anything. Well. Joe does. Keep things away from Joe’s mouth in general, pretty good idea, really. We’ll be okay. Hospital let us go and everything, so…”

A shift that might be a shrug, “What Joe said, really. Ran into something bad.”

Bright blue eyes dart from one face to the next, covering the three siblings a multitude of times. The owner of those eyes is a sight to behold as she tries to process what she’s seeing with what she’s feeling. The kid’s frame is stock still and poised in a partial step, the remainder from when she’d started her venture into the living room. Even her arms are stilled in a half begun-movement of some sort, bent at the elbows and hands near chest level. Probably to take off the pack that’s hanging from her shoulders.

Caspian’s voice over her shoulder gives her a small start. Squeaks doesn’t spin to face him, but she does half turn, so he isn’t directly behind her, without taking her attention from the three camped on the couch. His explanation eases her some, Brynn’s smile helps a little more.

Focus settles on Brynn’s hands as an explanation begins, but it’s unknown at the moment if she understands any of the hand-speak. Joe’s translation earns him a nod and a vaguely worried look. One she tries to smooth over with a sort of weak smile of her own. See? She’s relaxed again. Sort of. Mostly.

“Sewers have bad places.” It’s stated clearly, matter of fact. “Very bad.” It’s worth emphasizing. “Some places you don’t go. I live in the Underneath, so I know where to not go. It’s not …Nightmare Telepath? Maybe more bad than that. Don’t go in the dark.” That last sentence is weighted heavily. Please, new friends, don’t go in the dark.

The LHK's are armed - Caspian knew it, but he also knew better than to try and get them to do a silly thing like put the guns in a safe place. Trust building is an important thing here, and he's not going to do anything to break that. His only request was that they be left on safe in the event that an accidental bang in the dark causes a scare that immediately sends people into fight mode with guns swinging everywhere.

"No soul trading. I was out of town up north this weekend where the war didn't hit so badly, doing some work at a private house with a smokehouse. Same guys I got the ham from. The gas was expensive to get up there, but they filled me up and paid me in cash - plus bacon - so I'm kind of sharing the wealth." Caspian calls out to Joe from the kitchen, the pan rattling as he takes it out of the oven, the bacon going on a wire rack to cool, the grease going into a metal coffee can to cool for use later in cornbread, greens, and other things. He pokes his head out of the kitchen, leaning on the door jamb with his arms crossed. "Hope you guys don't mind." That explains why he was so tired when Brynn gave him a call to rescue her from the hospital.

He listens as Joe explains the fear telepath that they encountered. This is the first time he's heard the story, his mouth a small frown as he gets the major beats. Still, he's cooking pancakes, so he ducks back in to flip the ones on the griddle, adding a few more before re-emerging. "Lance, Joe, and Brynn are good people, Squeaks. You don't need to be afraid of anyone here. That's kind of why they're here recovering. This is a safe place for all of my friends - you included - so if they're here, they're okay. And if you guys can start clearing off the coffee table, I'll bring food. And Squeaks, you can hang your backpack on the hook by the door. I put it there for you." Squeaks' admonition about not going into the dark….that causes just a little bit of worry. The way she said that was reminiscent of the point of no return in a horror movie.

And with that, Caspian ducks back into the kitchen again, the rattling of plates and glasses indicate that food is being plated up.

Caspian's got bacon? That's what she is smelling? Oooh! Brynn's eyes flicker back toward the kitchen, though Caspian is out of sight in there. So she remains settled comfortably (or at least as comfortable as one can get when they've got internal injuries) right where she is. Squeaks speaks of the Underneath… and although the tone is lost on her, the expression on the younger girl's face is pretty open. She fires off signs in the faster Cant, once both boys have their eyes open. She definitely knows something. Look at the worry in her face. What does she mean by 'more bad' than a Nightmare Telepath? What's actually down there? She pauses a moment and then adds, It could be something different than what we ran into — we weren't actually down in the tunnels under the city. Just an old basement. Maybe we should treat the scary guy and the rats as two separate things?

Pulling in a long sigh, the brunette subsides again and just shifts a little more to make sure Joe can sit comfortably where he is. She doesn't want to get up yet — nature breaks are exhausting enough, and she doesn't like painkillers. They make her sleep and if she's too far out of it, she won't notice those minute changes in air pressure that brought her awake. And given that she's in the best condition of the lot, well… she's not taking chances.

Joe of course nods his head to the question of bacon. "I don't think I liked bacon when I was little. Something about chewing on a strip of animal fat. But dangit if it hasn't been a long time since I had any. Yes I'd like some bacon!" He calls out so Caspian can hear. And as ever his hands are moving for Brynn's benefit so she can see what he's saying. His attention swings back to Lance, then to Squeaks. "Oh, the fear telepath thing we met in the Exclusion Zone. One our friends is a teleporter and she got us out of there, but now she's missing and we need to go find her. The sewers incident was different. Found a poor kid that had been eaten by rats. His ghost led us to him. Well, probably not ghost, probably telepathic remnant, but Lance insists that it's the same thing." He does so enjoy poking the Lance beehive.

"Don't worry. We're not gonna hurt you. We're not the hurting type. Well.. unless you're a bad guy and have hurt people. Then you should be afraid. But so long as you're not a bad guy and have hurt people you're safe from us." And of course the kids keep their gun safeties on. They're not dumb. They're actually very well trained. "But yeah the fear telepath totally messed us up. Like… I'm not afraid of stuff. But it sent dogs after me, wild dogs… and even though I know they can't actually hurt me cuz invulnerable… I could see them tearing into me. It was… weird. The sewers thing though… yeah. We found a dead boy and found the stolen food. Only it had been eaten by a rat swarm. Just like the boy. So we're worried about what might be down there. Sorry to jump subjects so much. I kind of do that. A lot."

Joe's hands fly a mile a minute to keep up with his mouth. Being injured has done NOTHING to his slow his verbal diarrhea. Yeah, probably two seperate things. But maybe not. I mean that one guy was ripped apart by a plant growing from within. Maybe the stuff can manifest as real and it's the same nightmare. Cuz that could have been William's worst fear. But that wouldn't explain the consumed food. So yeah, probably two separate incidents. Yay more scary crap in the dark under the city. All the fun. He looks back over to Squeaks. "Soooo wanna tell us what’s under the city? We're gonna go back down there ominous warnings or not. So it'd be better if we were armed with knowledge."

“Look,” Lance twists a bit to look back at Joe, thrusting a finger awkwardly in the other teenager’s direction, “A free roaming detached consciousness without a body is literally the definition of a ghost, so Will is a ghost.”

It appears that Lance is firm on this point. Also that Joe will argue it until the day that one of them dies, probably.

He looks back to Squeaks, then, considering her thoughtfully for a moment, “I think there’s a rat telepath or something down there. Rats don’t— I mean, rats don’t just work together like that, that can’t be normal. You ever seen anything like that?”

Squeaks isn’t really one to clean, but she gives Caspian a thoughtful look and then the coffee table a skeptical one. She approaches it, then moves all the things off the table and puts them into a single pile. It’s not a neat pile, but it’s not messy either. It’s… unorganized. That done, she faces the group taking up residency on and around the couch.

The backpack finally comes off the younger girl’s shoulders, but it doesn’t get hung up as offered. It’s held onto, the removal coming as she crosses to join the older teenagers. Maybe it’s their collective assurances that there’s no immediate danger that has her inserting herself, more or less, into their collection. Sort of. Other people’s sleeping spaces are a sacred thing, and she wasn’t actually invited in. So when she plops herself down in their midst it’s with her perception of their closeness. A slight scoot one way or the other would have her bump knees or something with one of them or another. The backpack is placed in her lap and hugged.

“You go with me.” It’s not a request but a statement of irrefutable fact. “The Underneath is miles and miles and miles big. And there’s bad places if you don’t know the way. Dark places you go and you don’t come back if you go too far. The Underneath can be safe, but the dark places… There’s things there. Things that make you gone. That eat you up and leave your bones and no one ever knows where you went. No way to know it’s you anymore.” Squeaks takes a breath. She’s very serious right now.

It sounds like a story, the sort of story that kids tell to scare one another. But for Squeaks, she believes the truth of it. “I can show you where. But you go too far into the dark you get eaten.”

The first pair of plates - three pancakes about six inches in diameter, puffy, and three slices of bacon are brought out, along with forks and a plastic bottle full of a brown liquid. Not maple syrup, of course - that stuff costs way too much to even consider purchasing - but gold old Log Cabin Maple-flavored syrup. “Thank you, Squeaks.” Caspian says as he puts the plates down on the coffee table to be claimed by whoever wants them, repeating the trip once more for the other two LHK’s, and then finally, with his plate. He settles on the floor opposite the couch on top of a pillow, crossing his legs underneath him before realizing drinks are needed. Setting his plate aside, he retreats to the kitchen and returns with glasses - mismatched ones, but clean - and places them down before adding some store-bought apple juice from a plastic bottle for each person. And then, finally, he re-takes his seat and adds a nice shot of syrup on top of his pancakes. This is a luxurious meal and dammit, he’s going to enjoy it.

“Be careful, Squeaks.” Caspian warns playfully as he takes his seat, trying to bring a little levity to the situation now that squeaks has gone all ‘portent of doom’ on them. “You get too close and they’ll claim you.” Not entirely a bad thing in Caspian’s view, but he still likes to make the little redhead aware of such things. “You might be able to make a living at that, you know, Squeaks. Mapping the tunnels out for people so the repairs can go that much quicker and safer. Once you figure out this ghost thing, of course, so you’re not eaten by creatures.”

Brynn watches the interchanges between Joe and Lance but it's not closely — they're always on about something. Her eyes follow Squeaks' mouth closely, but she frowns as the younger teen talks. The girl's demeanor is very serious but she's not really telling them much of substance… just warnings. It would help if you could actually tell us what any of those things are — rumors and stuff aren't exactly things we run away from. They're far more likely to investigate than run.

She looks up when Caspian brings food and her eyes go wide. Pancakes themselves are cheap and easy to make when you have the stuff to make them. But bacon is a luxury she can't remember seeing in ages. She signs her gratitude to Cas and takes the plate he proffers, clearly intending to savor the treat.

In fifty years the ghost argument will still be going. Their grandkids will strike it up just to see them go at it over whether or not William was a ghost. Joe knows this, and it amuses him. He flashes Lance's pointing finger a wide grin. "Hey, pointing is bad mmmkay." Joe sticks his tongue out at Lance, still grinning though. When he turns to look back over at Squeaks he smiles. "We all grew up together. Really tight quarters. Personal space isn't really… a thing? So feel free to invade." Hey, Joe can be empathetic and can read people.

"We could definitely use a guide. We can handle ourselves when it comes to danger. But we could definitely use a guide. We've got plenty of combat effectives. We could reeeally use a guide. We've got a group ready and prepared. A girl who can't really get eaten cuz she can turn into sand. I can't get eaten. Bulletproof skin. Lance is a ninja. And Caspian can make force fields. Brynn can…." He pauses, looking over at Brynn and signing at her as he asks out loud. "Can you blind something? Like turn their eyes a different color so it messes with their vision? Would you need to touch them to do so? You know for all the ability testing we did as kids, and all the kids we helped learn their abilities I don't think we ever really explored yours…"

Joe's head is shaken but he looks back at Squeaks and grins at her. "But seriously. I can't get eaten." He looks around a moment, then leans over to his own backpack and pulls out a knife, one that looks quote razor sharp, and he whacks the razor sharp looking blade on the back of his hand a few times, then saws at it a bit. "See? No can be eaten." A wide grin before he puts the knife back, grunting in pain as he does so. "Just not immune to damage from the inside." Joe doesn't take first, he pushes a plate to Squeaks, and then leaves Brynn or Lance to grab the other. He'll wait till Cas comes back with more food. Once he does of course Joe's plate grabbing hands are quick yo. So are his syrup pouring hands. And before too long he's happily shoveling pancake in his mouth.

"He's right. We totally claim people. Especially other teenagers. We have a huge family at this point. None of us are biologically related." He waves a hand at himself, Brynn and Lance. "But siblings none the less." Joe's hands sort of translate for Brynn, like halfway, cuz he's trying to eat. But enough for her to get the gist of what he's saying. He swallows a mouthful and jerks a thumb at Brynn. "She wants to know if you know what any of the dire horrible things in the sewers actually are. Cuz if we know, then we know better how to fight them. We tend to run at danger. But going in armed with knowledge about our foes is good." Joe not so sneakily transfers a strip of bacon from his plate to Squeaks, Lance and Brynn. Which leaves him with no bacon, but he's perfectly happy with his pancakes. Which isn't' to say of course that he doesn't mop up bacon grease with pancake.

There's no sign that Lance disapproves of Squeaks' sudden appearance in the midst of the sprawl of Lighthouse Kids - as the others say, they're not exactly shy about physical closeness with others, platonic contact not a taboo any of them ever developed. He does shift away from the others just a bit, but that's just to grab a plate of food.

Syrup's generously poured over his own stack of pancakes, and he somewhat-awkwardly starts to eat one handed. After a few bites, he swallows, noting over to Squeaks, "Obviously we're in no shape to go in right now, but— when we do we're not gonna go in dumb. We've gotta get to the bottom of this shit though. If we know more about what's down there, we can be better prepared, you know?"

The strip of bacon that appeared on his plate vanishes pretty quickly.

The look Caspian gets from Squeaks for his comments about the Lighthouse Kids claiming her is a match to that she gave the coffee table. Vague skepticism, because she isn’t sure how else she’s supposed to respond. Or if she’s supposed to respond. The appearance of breakfast, specifically the plate shoved into her hands, brings a light to her eyes and a temporary shift away from what she knows about the Underneath. It even reminds her of why she’d come over in the first place!

Her breakfast plate is considered then set to one side, but not until she’s stuffed a pancake into her mouth first, and her backpack is opened. The so carefully packed and cared for jar is drawn out and opened, and its contents are removed and set upon the table to be unwrapped from a quality kerchief. The younger girl casts around at everyone before making the big reveal: a good handful of strawberries. No longer fresh picked, that would have been a couple days ago. But these still look delicious and they’re left for everyone else to pick from first.

“I don’t have family.” It’s stated as an observation, in that simple, matter-of-fact way. “The grown-ups I lived with died a long time ago. I only heard stories. Warnings. The bad places have things that make you gone.” Just like that she shifts gears, back to trying to explain the things in the Underneath. “These… maybe rats? I never go in the deep dark, I don’t want to get eaten. I know there’s creatures. They eat you if you go to the deep dark parts. Just leave your bones all picked clean. It’s really super dangerous, but I’ll show you where.”

Making sure to add a little syrup to dip his pancake in, Caspian sits back and watches, listening to what is said and unsaid (in the case of Brynn), and the way people react. Brynn gets a smile and a nod as the plate is pressed into her hands. Bacon. Thick cut, oak smoked, with a nice dusting of black pepper to make the tastebuds tingle. A lot of work went into getting this bacon, and Caspian shares it all willingly and without a complaint, the enjoyment on the Lighthouse Kids’ faces enough thanks.

The comment about going back down below, though, to the spots where Squeaks specifically said bad things were….that’s kind of what Caspian was worried about. “I’d really, really rather you guys take a week or two to heal up. Dislocated and bruised is no way to go into a potential trouble situation, and so far the people here - and Raquelle, Eimi, and Silvia - are the only friends I’ve got in this town, so having you head somewhere without me that you might get into trouble with?” He shakes his head. “If I can help, I’m going to help. I may not be a Lighthouse Kid, but I’m fond of you guys.”

Squeaks’ reveal of her bounty gets a low whistle from Caspian, the jewel-like strawberries something he’s not seen in ages. He’s impressed because those things are as rare as hen’s teeth and valuable, and here Squeaks is, sharing them with the group. “Thank you, Squeaks.” Caspian plucks one of the medium-sized ones from the kerchief, lifting it to his nose to smell, smiling at the sweet scent of it.

“I think you might have a chance at a family now, Squeaks. Or, at least, the beginnings of one.”

Nibbling on her bacon before the pancakes are even started on, Brynn is clearly enjoying the salty/peppery flavors. She grins at Squeaks, though, and sets her bacon down to sign, careful to use the ASL instead of Cant. We're always happy to adopt more of us. None of us had the kind of family people think of when they say the word — like a mom and dad. We just had each other… Brian's kind of our dad. Gillian was sort of our mom for a while. That the three teens still think of the people who bear those names in that way is rather evident, but it's something of a fluid concept for them. Family is the people who stick with you, who have your back and help when you need it.

The deaf teen slants her gray eyes toward Caspian and there's a bit of a shrug. We've pretty much already decided you're one of us. She goes on to Squeaks, William the Ghost is one of us too. We have to figure out what happened to him with the rats down there. It's important. Have you ever seen him?

Oooooooh. Strawberries. Brynn's eyes go wide in surprise at the sight. For Squeaks to share that kind of treasure is unexpected. And to Brynn, it implies that Squeaks is already theirs too, though she doesn't say as much.

Joe finishes his mouthful of pancake and nods his head to Lance's statements, both about not going right this second, but also about not going in dumb. He's finishing his mouthful of pancake while he's nodding. When Squeaks says she doesn't have family Joe's cheeks puff out a little but, but his head tilts slowly. "We're all orphans Squeaks. We all lost our parents. I honestly don't even remember mine. We were all taken in by Brian and the Ferrymen. We were taught how to defend ourselves and others. And… we found a new family in each other. So we understand. A lot better than most. Better than any adult can. Well… real adults. Not kid adults."

He offers her a quick smile, then picks up a pancake and rolls it before shoveling the thing whole into his mouth, chewing steadily as he listens to everyone around him, and watches in Brynn's case. He of course was signing the whole time, and turns to watch Brynn's hands in the side of his vision as they move, translating for her as she signs. He nods his head in agreement though. "Yeah, Cas you might not realize it but you already got adopted. Like an older brother or maybe super young uncle sort. You give us food and succor." He gestures around them at the building they currently sit in.

"And yeah, William is one of us too. He should have been one of us based on when he was killed. So he's damn well going to be one of us once we find him and can figure out what's going on with him." Joe doesn't swear very often, but he's earnest and serious about poor William. He pauses at the sight of the strawberries, cuz Brynn's hands stopped moving so he looked to see what it was. He looks at the strawberries for a moment. "I'm gonna plant mine." He declares, carefully taking one and setting it to the side. "I know where I can get planting dirt and a pot. Thank you Squeaks." He tips his head to her, then goes back to snarfing on pancake.

“Yeah. We were at the Lighthouse on Staten Island, back in the day. No parents, just— well, the Ferry, although they didn’t admit it at first,” Lance says with a vague gesture of his fork, “We’re all just a bunch of mutant orphans.” Cheery, the statement, “Although it’s okay if you’re not Evolved, we don’t holy shit are those strawberries you’re in— ”

Strawberry! He plucks one of the precious harvest, turning it over in his fingers reverently before taking a bite of it, eyes closing as he savours the little treat.

She watches the others enjoy the strawberries, a faint, contented grin settling into her expression. Squeaks looks almost comfortable. Her backpack is squashed down into her lap so she can pick up her plate again. Bacon is layered onto a pancake and wrapped together to be eaten.

The ghost – or telepathic projection, whatever William is – is pondered over. Squeaks hasn’t, herself, gone looking for anyone. Not yet. She doesn’t like the idea of being made gone or into nothing but bones, so she’s always avoided the deep dark places. “It’s just me, don’t know what evolved or not evolved is, but I could try to find him. While you guys rest. But not go into the deep dark alone.” That she won’t do.

“Grown-ups I had were Dad and Carolyn,” the younger girl explains. The inflection for ‘Dad’ has none of the reverence associated with an actual father figure. It’s stated as plainly as if she’d said sidewalk or lightbulb. It’s the same when she says ‘Carolyn’. And obviously not thought of as family by anyone’s definition. She picks at the pancake from around the bacon and looks at the collection of people around her.

Pancake scraps are set aside, even the backpack is abandoned, and Squeaks puts herself into the midst of the older teens. She’d already skimmed their circle, now she breaks in completely. Folding legs and arms together she scoots until she’s bumping into Brynn and Joe, then scoots a little more until she’s comfortable with the contact. That’s when she sighs and nods. “I stay here now. With all you.” It’s a statement, but one that hints at a question, too.

Somebody called Raquelle during the witching hour. That is, the hour where he was sleeping. Where he can wake up like a ‘witch’ (spelled with a b) but did not and instead was filled with ulcer threatening levels of worry and dismay! Unbeknownst to the gathered Heroes version of the Teen Titans, there’s somebody over the age of 30 who happens to be arriving at Caspian’s.

He shows up wearing a comfortable pair of dark jeans, and a comfortable dark purple long sleeved t-shirt and of course a black leather jacket, and yes he has a pair of dark purple converse sneakers as well. He shows up at the door dragging behind him a cooler and holding a couple of large trash bags stuffed with god knows what, and his backpack is slung over his shoulder.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK, knock knock knock, KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK, knock knock knock, KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK…to the beat of ABC by the Jackson 5.

Caspian sits and watches with a small smile on his face, taking a bite of his breakfast as Squeaks insinuates herself in the group proper, declaring that her place is here, with them. In all the time Caspian has known the girl there's been an implicit 'do not touch' thing going on - personal space was a super important thing for Squeaks it seemed, and now that she's actually moved closer and become a part of the group? The LHK’s new uncle reaches out to rest a hand on her shoulder, giving it a light squeeze, followed by a nod. “As long as you want, you’ll have a spot here.”

The first set of pounding knocks has Caspian scrambling - not for a gun or anything, but for the door itself, springing to his feet, one foot hitting the cushions of the couch, the other hitting the back as he leaps for the door, very nearly eating floor as one foot slips on a rug, catching himself with one hand before he stumbles to his feet. "I meant to do that." A lame excuse, but it's all he has. Still, one hand goes in front of him to raise a quick shield between the kids and the door, the other hand reaching out to draw the curtains aside just enough so he can look through the window on to the porch. It's when the second set of knocks comes, lighter, that he straightens, letting the curtain fall back to cover the window, finally seeing who's being musical at this time of morning.

"It's Raquelle. It's Raquelle." No shouting here. Caspian is calm. He looks from face to face, signing It's Safe. A friend. NO GUN. There's a moment as he waits for guns to be lowered if they're drawn before letting his shield drop. "It's okay. It's /okay/." Both of Caspian's hands come up in a calming gesture before he steps to the door. "Just a minute…we're finishing breakfast." he calls before the sound of rattling can be heard coming from inside the house, the substantial locks being opened to allow the visitor to come in, but only when everyone isn't scrambling for safety or freaking the hell out.

"So…" he says to the immaculately fashionable man. "Mimosa?"

Still savoring the bacon, with one hand, Brynn reaches out and reverently takes one of the bright red berries. She doesn't catch what Joe is doing — if she did, she'd tell him that he can't plant the berry, you have to have the original plant to create more daughter plants. It was one of the things that the adults who did gardening taught her, despite her black thumb of death when it comes to most plants. Instead, she smells the sweet, summery scent of the strawberry and breathes out a soft sound of happiness. The small bite she takes sends juice exploding on her tongue and she makes the treat last as long as possible.

Squeaks climbing her way into the pile next to Joe and beneath her and Lance (who are both leaning on/sitting next to one another on the couch itself while Joe curls up on the floor leaned back against Brynn's legs) just necessitates a very small shift in weight distribution to keep her plate from toppling off her lap, and Brynn grins at the younger girl. Ours! There is a satisfied kind of happy acceptance of the younger teen's place in their puppy pile.

The knocking on the door like that is not one she can hear, but Brynn can feel the vibration of it. And it brings an immediate tension to her body just as quickly as it does the boys around her. Her instinctive movement is a shift of legs, despite her pain, to bring Squeaks slightly more into the curve of her body instead of curled up so close to Joe's side, to free up both of her brothers — as hurt as they are — to make moves for weapons as needed. Those subtle movements of a unit that knows exactly what each person's role is. Caspian's seen them do it before.

And he's in motion before anything else happens. Brynn relaxes immediately, so when the door opens, she's smiling toward it.

"Evolved being… powers or not. Like me my skin is bulletproof. Lance can dampen sound and go super silent. Hence ninja. Brynn is a whole box of crayola crayons in one person. But like the jumbo box with the three hundred colors or whatever. Caspian makes shields. So re-" He's cut off as the door is pounded upon. And damn would Brian be proud. Despite his injury there is a gun in his hand fast enough to make some question whether he's a speedster as well, and he shifts into a position to shield the others behind him from any potential gunfire, knowing Lance will aim over his shoulder and Brynn will hide herself so she doesn't get shot.

The safety was flicked off the instant he had the gun and it's aimed down sights, hands steady and calm despite his injury and the pain of moving so fast. Brian would be so so proud. Also? Guns were pointed and ready FAR before Caspian got his shield in place. Like… Caspian wasn't off the floor before Joe and Lance's guns would be ready and aimed with clinical precision at the door. Joe always goes low for disabling leg shots. Legs are easy to hit, especially thighs. "Drop the shield!" He hisses at Caspian as the man goes for the door, his tone definitely a combat order type of tone, a sharp hiss of sound. Joe's gun does not move, and will not move until he sees Raquelle's face. And sees that there's no unknown faces with Raquelle. Only then is the safety flicked on and the gun lowered. He settles back onto his backside and slides the gun back where he got it from under his pillow.

Then… Joe goes back to eating, like there wasn't just a potentially lethal situation moments before. He rolls up a pancake and takes a huge chunk off it in one bite. And… then he speaks, piping up around his pancake. "Hurak" Hi Raq. Just you know… full mouth speak. Once he finishes chewing and swallowing he looks back at Squeaks with a broad smile. "We've got a place too. Lance's apartment. I technically rent a little shoebox of a room from some lady, tis where most of my stuff is. But you're welcome there too." He doesn't offer Lance's apartment, that's for Lance to offer.

Just like the others, Lance is on a razor’s edge of nerve right now, and as there’s that pounding at the door there’s that gun in his hand again — safety flicked off, but his finger’s not on the trigger yet, brought up in the direction of the door as he turns his body a bit to impose itself between the door and Squeaks.

Despite the direction of his gun being towards the door, he’s turning his head to look to the windows, instinctively checking their flanks, knowing Joe’s got point. The name of the man at the door has him slumping in relaxation, and he shifts to tuck the gun back under his hoodie, muttering, “Man needs to learn how to knock normally…” Breathe, Lance, breathe. Another bite of the strawberry, he chews and swallows before looking back up, offering a wan smile, “Hey Raquelle.”

Still pale, arm still in its sling across his chest, it’s probably a good thing that it was just Raquelle. He doesn’t look like he could handle a fight right now.

Twisting to look back to Squeaks, he admits, “Not a lot of beds, but you could crash there if you need, we can dig up some more blankets or a bedroll or something.” He gives Joe a look, “Maybe we could co-opt a few of the other apartments on the floor, at this rate…”

The knocking doesn’t send Squeaks into a panic to seek shelter. But then she hasn’t been frightened and chased by some kind of scary and intangible force. It’s the reactions of the others that cause her to go rigid, with eyes wide and darting. Why are we afraid now?! If not for Brynn’s movements, she’d probably remain frozen and in the way of the guns. And why are there guns now!? She pushes herself into the couch. If she could, she’d weasel her way down under the cushions. She certainly tries. Failing that, she succeeds in hunkering down tight against Brynn and the pillows trying to figure out the threat.

But then Caspian’s at the door and giving assurances. And the guns are being put away. It’s like none of it even happened!

Everyone else just sort of switches gears and goes back to normal, meanwhile it takes Squeaks just a little bit longer to settle down. She stares for a full beat, looking at each person in turn before she goes back like nothing happened. She even does a brief survey to find her plate and steal a piece of bacon from it. See? Everything’s fine here, now. We’re all fine!

“I don’t know if I do evolved things.” She’s never wondered, nor does she seem uneasy about those who can do things. After all, Joe just explained twice what he and Lance and Brynn all do and she didn’t even blink. Squeaks bites off a chunk of bacon as she makes herself comfy again amidst the older teens. “I do have bed things.” They should probably just be burned. “I show you when we go to the Underneath.”

In that moment when the door swings open and Raquelle can see Caspian and the Wonderkins with their Guns, and his arms are full of stuff and he just gives Joe and Lance a look. It’s a narrow eyed look, he may not be bulletproof but this is the look that reads ‘don’t make me take my earrings off and beat your ass’. It's that very subtle squint perfected from one too many fights in the club in years gone by.

He just looks to Caspian. “You are really lucky you are pretty honey and can make magical Saran Wrap in the air.” As he breezes his way in. The trash bags are set down and he unslings his backpack with a shake of his head.

“Don’t you ‘hi Raquelle' me you little loveable dipshits. I had to get a call, a damn phone call about all your broke and troubled little asses and do you know how hard it is to find nicotine patches these days?” Then signs as he speaks. “You my little precious Picasso and you Squeaks get a pass because I’m a feminist like that.”

He spins back around and points to Lance and Joe. “But because of you two, I left the house without contouring. I am running on concealer, eyeliners and only two shades of shadow so I don’t look like a trashy gothic whore.”

Then he is opening up the cooler. “Okay, have some soup in here for later and some cheese, rice and something green casserole…and you are all getting pedicures and god I found my old Star Wars collection of movies, they are like antiques or something now.”

He straightens up and takes a deep breath. “Wait, I forgot something…” There is a long pause. “If anybody in this a Teen Titans drama headquarters shoots me, I will personally make sure you end up with no eyebrows for as long as it takes me to heal. You will go around looking like a fucking thumb. Are we all clear on the ‘no shooting Raquelle’ thing?”

Caspian gives Raquelle a look to say 'this is why I didn't take their guns. This exact reason.' It's also the reason he ran to the door and threw up his magical saran wrap. "You look wonderful, Raquelle. At least high-class gentleman of the evening if we're shifting into streetwalker territory. Even without contouring, you look great."

Caspian is sometimes very bad at compliments. This one he'd consider a foul tip, but not a strike.

The contents of the cooler, once exposed, are taken into the kitchen and stuffed into the refrigerator. There's room, of course, and it takes a little time to get it all situated, but knowing the way that the LHK's and Squeaks….well, now just the LHK's, knowing how they eat, it won't take long.

"I think they'll appreciate the change, Raquelle. For the food and the movies. They're steadily working through the collection I have - Andy Griffith was on last night, and I think we're going to hit up the original Ghostbusters at some point tonight, too." Caspian has a decent DVD collection - leftover in the house from before the war.

"Guns on safe, round out of the chambers please, you two. No shooting the helpful man who brought bags of things and offers pedicures." Caspian calls from the kitchen, the sound of a cork popping and can being opened audible, followed by the hiss of something carbonated being poured. When Raquelle gets back - mimosa in a goblet. "Found a can of orange juice and broke into the cellar for the bubbly. Probably got enough juice for two more. Enjoy."

Brynn unwraps herself from around Squeaks just enough to shovel a pancake in her mouth — more to try to keep herself from laughing than really because she wanted the whole pancake just then. Raquelle always makes Brynn laugh. Trashy gothic whore makes her choke on the bite though and she has to be rather inelegant as she struggles to swallow the bite while laughing. Finally she has some semblance of control, her gray eyes not missing that glance between the two that spoke volumes.

No one here would even think of shooting you, Raquelle. What's teen titan? Like… Greek titans? The child has never seen a Teen Titans comic book in her life. Brynn looks a little confused by the reference and seems to be searching her mental databanks for how the hell the Greek titans have anything to do with all of us. We aren't godlings or anything. She can't hear anything Caspian says from the kitchen so she's wholly unaware there's even anything going on with that.

Her attention shifts in a swift turn that would do Joe proud. I'm sorry, Raquelle. She pauses just a moment before admitting with a somewhat befuddled expression, I don't think we thought you'd be worried or anything. I mean… They're not anything to Raquelle, not really. The puzzlement is clear — having someone worry like that who doesn't have history with them is somewhat anathema. It's just not something that was even on Brynn's radar — why would Raquelle even care? He's got his own stuff happening around him!

Thank you, is finally what she offers, a little abashed.

This is normal for the LHK's. More normal than they've been living since they got back to New York. The guns disappear and everything goes back the way it was. Well for the three, and then shortly after for the Squeaks. It's just the adults that are still hung up on it all. "We probably should do that. Get a second apartment on the floor. Are there any empty neighbors? We could even cut through the walls and install some escape doors in closets and stuff. Make it look like wood paneling or some such. That way we can bail into each other's apartments if anything gets crazy." Guns under pillows and making escape plans from apartments. This is what the government did to these kids.

"We wouldn't have shot you Raquelle. Well not bad anyway. I go for disabling shots first. Can't question dead folks. Don't much care for killing anyway. I'll do it to defend my family and friends but I don't… /want/ to do it." Joe's shoulders lift in a half shrug, eyes darting between Cas and Raq. "Guys it's cool. No one got shot. And we love soup. And Star Wars." Joe finishes off his pancake with another big bite, his plate now empty except for that one strawberry, that he's going to plant and hopefully have more strawberries later.

"Well we don't' really care if you are evolved. Just good to know what resources people have. Lance's sister is an animal telepath. Communicates with animals. We should probably see if we can't convince her to go down into the sewers with us. See if she can detect another telepath messing with the rats or something." Joe finishes his mouthful of pancake before speaking this time. "Pretty sure anyone that confused you for a trashy gothic whore would get a beat down." He calls over to Raquelle with a wide grin in place, then starts sipping slowly from his apple juice. Savoring the little treat.

"Teen Titans?" He looks around at the group, then shrugs. "Fitting. And uhh I've burned my eyebrows off before. It's not that bad. Also what's a pedicure?" Yeah Joe and no doubt Lance both ignore the unchambering of rounds part, besides the guns were already tucked up underneath the pillow so… there's that. Joe's hands stop moving for Brynn while she's choking, letting her get through that before they resume. He reaches back to pat her lightly on the knee, signing for her after he does so. He worries about us. And was involved in rescue stuff and what not. I think Ferry adjacent was the feeling I got? But he knew our names when we first went to the salon. Had heard them from other folks I guess? He's nice. Joe shrugs his shoulders and leans back, settling his head against the cushion next to where Brynn and Squeaks sit. Teen Titans is a comic book, like junior heroes. Like the Justice League junior. It’s got robin and cyborg and beast boy and raven and… others. Kid flash. Stuff like that. The sidekicks and junior heroes.

Gun? What gun? Lance has no gun, he has pancakes and a fork, there’s absolutely nothing that needs to be unchambered or anything. Look how innocent he looks, eating pancakes and being all pathetic with his injured arm and everything.

“She’s not a telepath, she’s an empath,” he observes with a roll of his eyes and the feel that he’s had this discussion a thousand times too, “She can’t talk to the rats, but she could, like, feel them coming. And probably scare them off if she has to. I don’t know if she could detect tampering, but… it’s worth a try.”

“I call Robin,” he offers, “Nightwing’s pretty bad-ass. Yeah, uh, Magnes used to read us comics, Brynn - I think it was before your time.” He turns towards her, of course, so she can read his lips there. The lack of ability to sign right now is driving him nuts.

Then he’s grinning over towards the hairstylist, sing-songing, “We love you toooooo. Uncle Raquelllllle.”

Blue eyes lift and level a wide stare at Raquelle when her name is included in the short list. She was aware of who’d come in, caught a glimpse of the man when Caspian had opened the door. Given that the short list isn’t a bad thing, this time, she goes back to her bacon. Until Brynn gets the giggles. That makes her curious. After watching the older girl until hand speaking replaces laughter, she switches her focus to Raquelle.

Short lived focus. She snags the last piece of bacon off her plate, abandoned still so she has to stretch and reach to grab it. Settling again, Squeaks finishes off the half eaten piece still in her hand. She finishes the conversation, eyes wandering to each speaker in turn and body wiggling a little with contented energy.

Raquelle snorts softly and rolls his eyes. “Wouldn’t worry about you? Precious, the moment to walked into my shop wanting to color my hair, not knowing good sign language, needing a haircut, and rocking shaggy hair…” He looks at Brynn, Caspian, Joe, and Lance in turn. “And the moment I met you Miss Speed and Squeak…”

Oh shit, a Mimosa. He is distracted, lips forming a tiny ‘o’ as he accepts the goblet with raised eyebrows. “Oh baby I would kiss you but that would be awkward and my significant other has really good aim..” He does blow an air kiss though, two of them mwah mwah, before turning back to the teens.

“You all became my babies. So, of course I am going to care.” He has to set the goblet down for a moment to continue signing as he speaks. The hairdresser does angle another look at Joe. “It is not cool, I have enough extra holes in me that I was not born with. I have had people aiming guns at me before…” He trails off and quickly shakes his head.

“Pedicure is where I clean and massage your crusty ass feet and make sure your toenails are not janky. And god, I wish you didn't have the face of a precious moment figurine, Jojo..makes it very hard to be worriedly cross with you.”

But then Lance tugs at his heart strings and he sighs, bottom lip wavering a bit. “Awwww…Los amo a todos ustedes.” He offers in return, unable to sign in Spanish he translates the ‘i love you all’ in sign language and he nods slowly. “Okay, who wants the type of free shit you only get when you are sick and injured or as adorable as my new friend Squeaks over there?”

Caspian's plate has been cleaned off, the last pancake dabbing up the last of the syrup before it disappears into his mouth. He gets to his feet, the plate clinking as he puts it in the sink along with his fork and cup, returning and taking his seat, leaning forward, his elbows on his knees, his fingers linked. It's the first time he's felt a part of something in a very, very long time, and it's a nice feeling to be a part of this little group.

When Joe mentions kicking holes in the walls of the apartment to set up escape routes and to make more room, a light bulb seems to click on inside Caspian's head. "That reminds me. I've been meaning to ask you guys, but with all the insanity going on, I really haven't had a chance. But why don't you just move next door? It's vacant and in my name."

She's making short work of the pancakes on her plate as she watches the conversation ebb and flow around her, content to be snuggled in with her brothers and Squeaks in the way they are. She feels safe here, and given the way the back of her neck still prickles, it's a good feeling. But there are thoughts running behind Brynn's gray eyes, too. For Lance and Joe, it's very clear that the petite girl is formulating something in that head of hers while everyone else talks — but it's also immediately apparent to them that those thoughts are derailed when Raquelle explains what a pedicure is. Her nose wrinkles up in disgust. Feet??? She pops the last of her pancake into her mouth and signs, You touch other people's feet when they're crusty? Oh my God, Raquelle… why would you do that? Abject horror! She's seen her brothers' feet — they're gross!!! Well… maybe not as bad as all that, but still!! Feet!!!

Shoving that thought aside, the deaf teen goes back to contemplating the thoughts that have been circulating in her mind. When Caspian brings up the building next door, it seems to shift her focus slightly. Leaning forward with difficulty, she deposits her plate on the low table Caspian has near the couch and starts to sign with rapid switches between ASL that Raquelle and possibly to some extent Caspian can follow to movements that seem to have no meaning and back.

#1E90FF|Guys, Caspian actually made that offer a while back — when he knew Joe was looking for a place to maybe have a daycare. I can't remember if I mentioned it, but I thought it was a cool possibility.## Her eyes flicker to Lance as she shifts to Cant, her gestures fluid, fast, and making no sense to anyone but her brothers. Lance, I know you want a place that is just ours. This is the first time we've ever had a place that just ours alone. And I kinda like it too, with just a few of us. Caspian has the whole building next door, and it's pretty wide open. If you're willing to consider it, it's not like he lives there or anything, and I bet he'd let us make the mods we would need to live there. Not like a lot of buildings are going to just let us cut holes through the closet walls to make the pass-throughs we'd want. Plus, we'd have the freedom to wall off small sections throughout the place for the caches. Caches not just of food but of weapons as well.

The government threatened these children and the man who raised them taught them to live in a prepper mentality. Now, with the freedom to choose their lives, there is still that sense of be ready for anything to go pear-shaped at a moment's notice, and right now in particular, it's a lot worse. While the boys have been sleeping with weapons, Brynn has been considering how best to modify their living space to make it workable in the ways that they view the world as necessary to live.

I don't know if you want to think about it, she continues blithely as if she didn't just switch languages mid-conversation, cuz… Cas, this is kind of the first time we've ever been able to just call a place our own. So we're kind of leery about just jumping back into full commune-living. After all, Joe does have his own place, even though he's hardly using it, and Brynn technically has a place in the shelters where she's on the lottery for a place.

Joe waggles a hand in the air in Lance's direction. "Dude she commandeered a moose to wreck some soldier guys. That seems like WAY more than just an empath. I'm just saying. That sure as heck seems like she went MISTER MOOSE ATTACK! SIC EM!" Joe's voice rising in a very very bad approximation of little girl Hailey. "Course, then Lady Zeus was all THUNDAH! And Santa was puppeting guys and me and Paul were charging the soldiers and Gillian grounded me for life for that. I don't look very grounded though. Brian totally thought it was primal when I told him what I did. At least I think he did. He patted me on the shoulder and told me good job." Joe's head tips to the side. "That was a good day. Moose attack, not like Brian congratulations. Though that was a cool day too. Both primal days yeah."

Joe's shoulders lift in a half measured shrug, only for him to wince at the action, hand going down to his stomach to settle there against the bandages. "This needs to hurry up and heal so I can shrug without it hurting. And so I can go punch that nightmare telepath in the face. And so I can go punch whatever is responsible for William's death in the face too." Joe's finished with his plate, and now his apple juice. He sets the cup on the plate and leans back against the couch again, his legs pulling in so he's sitting indian style. "Uhhhh my feet?" Joe asks, looking down at his feet, then looking back up before he barks a soft laugh. "Good luck with that. I mean the toenails part is fine, those aren't bulletproof for… some reason. But, unless you've got an industrial grade belt sander I don't think you're getting anywhere with my feet."

Joe's grin is a wide and cheeky one, though the precious moment comment draws further confusion, his head tipping slowly to the side. "Precious moment figurine? Wuzdat? Also I'm always adorable and I never get free stuff. Well except for Lance's peanut butter." Joe's head turns slowly to regard Caspian at his statement. "You know… I think Brynn mentioned something a little while back about that. Needing to talk to you about a building and stuff and… things got crazy. Like super crazy and I forgot. You're not using the building for… anything?" Joe asks with a slightly befuddled expression on his face. "Okay. Brynn and Lance. I have had this crazy feeling at the back of my head like I'm being watched, and I totally have had the worst nightmares. Well not the worst worst. But bad. Every night. You guys the same?" He asks aloud and signs for Brynn. Cuz dangit he's getting itchy with the constant feeling of being watched. He snickers as Brynn's start flying and the expression of horror on her face, Joe's snickers quickly turning into a fit of giggles, though those cause pain, so it's giggles and ow ow ows.

Well, it's not like we'd be asking to cut holes in the walls. Hence why we'd cover them up with fake wood panelling. No one would ever know the holes were there. Bet you the building owners would never notice either. But I agree. Maybe we can come to some sort of arrangement. Don't want the place for free. But maybe we can like… help him with work, or pay him or… something. We can figure it out. I'm down. Caspian is trustworthy. Also I would rather have my weapons with me. Not back at the shoebox room I rent. I'd feel safer if they were near but out of sight. Don’t get me wrong I hope we never need them. But as the saying goes. Have and not need over need and not have. He looks back to Brynn and Lance, the conversation flying fast and fierce between them. Up to you two. I'm down with the idea. We could maintain Lance's apartment as well just in case. Or try to. Or maintain it at first. Is there space for us to have our own spaces there? We can maintain the apartment at first while we wait to see if it works? Or not. I don't know. Stuff and things and stuff okay. He flashes them a wide grin before looking back at the rest of the group, grin still in place. Yes they just had an entire conversation. No they're not going to fill the others in. Lighthouse Cant is awesome.

Okay, the pancakes are good, but now there’s talk of presents from the crazy, stylish man that runs the hairstylist shop and seems to have adopted them, and Lance is all about presents. Ironically, given his opinion on certain other things in conversation. He perks up a bit, “Free shit?” Hell yeah he wants free shit.

The offer, then, is met with a conflicted expression on his face and he shifts to turn and face Brynn and Joe again for a little conference there around the couch. “Yeah, I have. I think it’s whatever we ran into, like it’s haunting us… but…”

If you guys want. I’m just tired of living in other peoples’ places. I wanted a place we could really call ours, he explains, signing back slowly and carefully - it’s awkward with one arm splinted, but he manages, so long as they don’t mind him taking his time, But his place is bigger and better and probably safer. I don’t know. If you want to. Maybe I can try to raise some money to buy it from him?

The rest of her bacon, the whole thick-cut slice, and a bacon are sandwiched together and finished in two bites. Hands are then wiped clean on the front of her jeans. A quick look is directed to her plate, in case she left anything behind, and then Squeaks settles down with the Lighthouse siblings. However, Brynn’s reaction to feet does give her the giggles. Which she tries to cover before she jostles anyone too much.

There’s an easy acceptance to let the conversation go on around her. She follows, watching hands move with some understanding. She can pick up a word here or there until the older teens move into their own special version of the language. And Joe’s story of the attack moose? That’s just cool.

Her name brought up again brings another wide-eyed look to Raquelle. Free stuff? A deeply rooted cynicism makes her cautious to accept; lots of people say free and then there’s a catch. Not that, in her limited experience, the hairstylist has ever given her reason to doubt free stuff. So, unsure how to answer, Squeaks smiles and shrugs at him, then latches onto the boys’ statements of feeling watched. “I’ll be lookout while you sleep, let you know if things show up.”

When Joe mentions nightmares and the feeling of being watched, Caspian gives Raquelle a quick glance. "That's part of the reason I wanted you guys to stay here for a little while to mend. You all had a fairly traumatic experience, and that might have triggered some bad stuff." Caspian's place is certainly unfamiliar, but at least he knows that here you're a little safer than you might be elsewhere. Electric fences that you control and bars separating you from the outside world will do that to for a place.

When they switch to cant, Caspian chuckles and looks to Squeaks and Raquelle, gesturing to the fast-flying hands. "Their own version of ASL they call Lighthouse Cant. They're discussing my offer. Oh, and Squeaks, that pile of clothes you left over here, the ones covered in blood from whatever you crawled through? They're done washing and drying.” If she goes and looks, they're on top of the washer with a blanket he found for Jude. “If they end up staying, you know he’s welcome too."

Caspian eventually pushes himself to his feet, walking over to a drawer near the kitchen and pulls a ring of keys from it along with one of his sketchpads and a marker that seems to be sitting in easy reach on most flat surfaces in the place. "It's not that much to write home about." He says, starting to sketch. The front of the building, basically - three stories of living space with a garage on the bottom. The garage he uses for the van, putting a big X over it as well as the house next door. That, apparently is his, before he starts working on a floor plan.

"You're more than welcome to go check it out and see if it's something you'd want to work with." He sets the keys down on the table as he starts to sketch. "Figure out rent or something, or let you work for me in exchange for a place to live. Maybe even eventually sell it to you since I kind of won the lottery when I got this place. Top floor is generally the nicest out of the places, with a balcony and stuff. The other two are still nice, but don't have the balcony. Basically the stairs open on to a landing with a door into the apartment and a smaller door that has the floor's power box and plumbing and steam pipes for the boiler - stuff like that. It all works, but needs some cleaning and some paint." A few things are added - black strokes over the roof of the house next door and on top of the ‘tower’ to indicate solar panels probably, where the boiler, battery bank, and the sewer pipes are - stuff like that and then he sketches.

After a few moments he lays down the sketch pad. "More or less, this is how all the apartments are set up." The doorway leads into a short hallway with a large closet that leads into the living area. The kitchen - a small one - is off of that area, with a hall leading back to TWO bedrooms and TWO bathrooms. There's closet space for each one, and a large blank spot in the corner. "Where the staircase is and an old elevator shaft. 'm fairly sure something interesting could be done with that space, but I really haven't taken the time to do much planning."

He leaves the marker and the sketchpad on the table to allow notes to be made. "Before I start dishes, does anyone want seconds? I've got another dozen pancakes and about a half pound of cooked bacon left. Or in the case of Raquelle, firsts and another mimosa?"

Lance, I'm fine going either direction on this — especially if Caspian's willing to let us pay rent or even buy it over time. I'm tired of living with 20 other people too, but… Brynn trails off for a long moment and then admits, I also sleep better when the three of us are in the same place. I can't help it. When Joe raises the question about the nightmares and mentions the way he's feeling, Brynn actually looks relieved.

I feel like we've been under constant surveillance. Like there are eyes on us all the time, even when we're in here and supposedly out of sight of everything, she admits. Worrying at her lip a bit, she adds, I expected nightmares. It was pretty wicked, what we felt in there. But I can't shake the feeling that whoever he was… he's still around. And since we know there are people who can hitchhike on other people's brains and what have you… I'm not convinced that we're actually alone. What if he's just trolling along in the back of one of our brains or even … invisible or insubstantial or something? No… it's not paranoia when you live in the world they've grown up in.

She shrugs a little bit and curls just that small bit deeper into the cushions around her and Lance, nestled in there where she's still touching Squeaks and Joe as well. She does not like the sense of being watched all the time.

"That's the thing Cas. We've been through lots of bad stuff before. This is… different. New. I think it's a lingering effect of the psychic attack on us from the Fear Monger." And the way he says Fear Monger it's clear the nightmare person has been named. Bad guy villain style. He's watching Caspian sketch out the floor plan for the building, blinking a few times at the layout, a soft huh coming from him. "Wait did you say there's more bacon?" He looks around then back to Caspian. "I thought what you brought was all you had. I will definitely take some bacon." He gave his away to his siblings and to Squeaks cuz he thought that's all there was, and that's really just the kind of guy Joe is. But if there's more he definitely wants some pig strips.

I'm… it's… yeah. I'm in the same boat Brynn. I like not living with a horde of people. But I also miss it. Being able to live with a horde of people /and/ have a little privacy would be pretty primal. Like super primal. I'd love it. But this is something we all need to agree on. No pressure on anyone. If anyone isn't good with it we don't do it. His eyes shift to Lance on that one, a small smile for his broninja. Seriously though. No pressure. You don’t like it? We don't do it. We're family. Joe's head nods a couple times to Brynn's further statements. "Yeah, I agree. There's some kind of psychic after effect. Maybe even a little tether back to Fear Monger." Signing as he speaks for Brynn. "Perhaps…" Joe looks a little worried about something Brynn has signed.

"Soooo Brynn said he might be hitchhiking in our minds. Could be he didn't have a body? I didn't see anyone when we were down there, but that doesn't mean he wasn't there. But we've already encountered one ghost, so why not another?" Joe's shoulders lift in a slow but uncertain shrug. "I don't like the idea of Fear Monger being here with us. But… well maybe we can reason with him if he is?" He asks, looking to the others. "We should go see Aunt Kaylee and see if she can poke around in our heads." Signing for Brynn the whole while of course to make sure she's kept up on the conversation. He slides up onto the couch so he's sitting with the rest of the gang. Lance, Brynn, Joe and Squeaks lining the couch like some odd sitcom cover photo from the 90's.

Lance crooks a single brow upwards in a frankly dubious expression at Joe. No pressure indeed, says that expression, and he brings his good hand up to rub against his face. If you guys want to, I’ll come along. If we can at least pay rent or something, he signs with a shake of his head, and then shifts to turn back to his food. There’s pancakes, and he’s got a fork.

“That’s not a bad idea,” he admits, “Maybe Aunt Kaylee or someone can find something, ‘cause I feel it too. I don’t— I mean it’s probably just, like, an aftereffect? But still, I don’t like it. If she could make it go away, I’d sleep a lot better.”

Sipping his Mimosa, Raquelle has been quiet for once, leaning against a wall and sipping with the finesse of a skilled eavesdropper. His eyes flick from teen to teen and then back to Caspian as he sips and folds an arm over his chest. He has teenagers and has worked over the years with groups of kids-teens so he understands how their priorities float around ‘food’ and ‘current issue of the day’. So he’s patient.

A quirk of an eyebrow at Caspian’s clarification about the use of Cant and he nods. “I recognize what they are doing.” He assures the younger man as he takes another sip of his mimosa. Then he finally just clears his throat. “ALRIGHT, no more talking about the boogie man or your plans for building your special Teen Titan Tower.” He turns to set the goblet down on a flat surface, waving away Caspian’s offer of food. “You feed them, I spoil them. It's like good cop, fabulous cop.”

Cooler is rolled forward and he nods towards Caspian. “Get those cool pops out of there, it’s just fruit purée, frozen like popsicles. I have apple today. Thank you hot lips.” Then he’s kneeling down beside the trash bags, one has clothing and accessories in it (all girls of course) and he nods towards Brynn and Squeaks. “My girls have outgrown these things and one of my daughters is growing like a weed and the other one is growing curves so, you all can have your pick of these items.” He sorts through it for smaller bags inside, pulling out the ziplock bags of hotel sized mouthwashes, toothpastes, lotions, creams, lip balms, soap, etc. And he tosses those out as well, lining them up before he gets what he was looking forward.

He pulls out yes, plushy looking bathrobes. “Okay, so Spa Day has begun, Shaggy Ninja your arm is…not going to go through the sleeve but you can put it over your lap. C’mon now…”
He does point between the boys. “We gonna talk about those guns on another day. Mostly, make sure you have good alibis for having them on your person in case somebody who actually has some type of authority finds them on you. But today, ‘m gonna take care of you all.”

There’s an offer for more food, and the younger girl only gives a passing look toward the kitchen. The still-worried looks and Joe joining the pile-up on the couch have claimed a higher priority than food. Food she can get later. For the present time, Squeaks maintains her place amidst the older teens, even leaning and reaching to pat each one in turn to remind them they’re safe. She’s lookout, after all.

The flumpy sound of clothing being moved and plastic being opened draws her attention to Raquelle. Any other girl might be more excited over clothes, especially the sort that comes from a highly fashionable man such as Mr. Cambria. Squeaks looks over at Brynn and grins faintly, then shares it with Raquelle, the expression not wholly sure but still thankful.

Caspian’s comment to Raquelle about the use of Lighthouse Cant was more of him telling the kids that he knew what they were doing. And judging from the words from Joe, the flapping of hands from Brynn, and the longing glances towards the kitchen from Squeaks, the answer is pretty much obvious. More food is required. Scooting the notepad aside, Caspian heads off to the kitchen and returns a few moments later with the plate of pancakes and the plate of bacon, setting them down on the coffee table to distribute what’s left to hungry Lighthouse Kids. He does snag a bit of bacon for himself so he’s sure to get one more slice, but other than that, there are around eight pancakes and ten…nine slices of bacon left. Each person gets another pair of pancakes, the bottle of syrup passed around.

“A spa day is….” Caspian looks to Raquelle for a second before attempting a definition for the rest. “Getting pampered, I think. Stuff like getting your hair done, your nails trimmed and polished, your feet massaged and stuff, with music and good food and friendly talk. A day to relax and feel better by looking better. My mom would have one every few months, came back with clean hair and relaxed to the point that we were worried about how she’d managed to drive home safely. It’s for girls a lot of the time, but guys can have a relaxing spa day too. Raquelle, do you think they need showers and a quick wash of the hair before, or are you okay taking them as is? And what do you need me to do? Just cook? ‘Cause I’m planning rice and gumbo.” The cool pops are taken to the kitchen and put in the freezer to start firming up.

Brynn breathes freely with her brothers and Squeaks piled around. But when Raquelle starts pulling out clothing, she does look a bit intrigued. She hasn't had new things in quite a while. She squeezes Squeaks's patting hand with a smile. The younger girl is definitely now ours. More? she asks about the food, gesturing to her plate (which she can't reach now that she's mid-pile). I would love a little more, if there's enough, Cas, she admits.

And then there's the words 'spa day.' If a girl can look any more horrified, you'd be hard-pressed to say how. What…. What exactly is a spa day? Does it involve FEET? She gives the fluffy robes a skeptical look. We gotta DRESS for a spa day? I don't even…. Brynn is absolutely balking. Caspian's explanation, though, makes her look not QUITE so worried. Apple cool pops sound good! She helps herself to a couple more pancakes and her apple juice that she hasn't touched yet, watching everyone else's reactions and chatter about 'spa day' and the 'good' things it means.

"Actually gun laws are pretty much non existent in New York right now. Perfectly legal for us to have them on our person given the lawless nature of a good deal of New York. Once law is more re established it'll probably be a different story. Also Lance and I are trained. Brynn can use one reliably and well. She doesn't like carrying one. But she can use one. Lance and I pretty well trained. I can pick up most anything and use it with military level efficiency. Brian made sure that if the government ever came for us they would get the nastiest surprise they never saw coming."

Joe's pretty calm about his explanation. And given the kind of situations the kids have been in… it's pretty safe to assume they've seen actual combat. "I don't prefer killing though if it's any reassurance Raq. I prefer to disable. People you kill never have a chance to be better people. People you shoot in the leg have a chance to become a better person. Also everyone is someone's mother, father, brother or sister. And after what was done to us as kids? I don't want to do that to other people. But…. at the same time I will never hesitate to defend me and mine. By whatever means necessary." His hands moving along for Brynn's sake as he's explaining the guns.

He snatches a piece of bacon and begins taking bites off of it. He's mostly full already, but bacon is a rare luxury now. More like a never ever luxury now. "What's gumbo?" Joe asks idly of Caspian. "Wait isn't gumbo like a rice dish where you just like cut up all your extras and throw it… no that's jambalaya. Gumbo is the soup version of that right?" Joe's head tips to the side, then back, and Squeak's pat is returned, a reassuring pat to the back of her hand. He knows what she's doing, and appreciates it. Joe leans out and snags Brynn's plate, putting more food on it before handing it to her.

Here, put extra on there, you can share with Squeaks since you both kind of abandoned your plates on the table. Joe lets Brynn offer Squeaks more food, he turns back to Lance then, looking at him for awhile before tipping his head, his hands moving. I know I said no pressure. But I mean it broninja. If you don't like it or think it's not for us? We don't do it. Like… straight up. I know I'm rash about a lot of things. But where we're going to live and who we're going to trust is not one of them. And yeah, definitely will not freeload. Definitely not.

Lance, as usual, rolls his eyes as Joe goes on about something - bringing up one hand and moving it in a ‘yap yap yap’ sort of motion. He might be the prankster in the group but he’s also the quieter of the pair. Naturally.

He pauses in the eating of the pancakes - a priority! - to squint over at Raquelle and the proffered fluffy bathrobes. “Is… that a bathrobe,” he asks somewhat dubiously, glancing up at the man, then the robe. The man, then the robe. He wants them to wear bathrobes?

He, too, has not yet grasps the entire spa idea, it seems. Caspian’s explanation just makes it worse!

“Showers? What?” The silence generator looks suspicious.

“What the…no. /No/ Jojo and the Mouthy Band. Dios mio, no that does not make me feel better to know that you’d prefer to kneecap a bitch versus shooting them in the head. Or that you all can learn shit with military precision because right now in this moment? I do not give a fuc-dge about that. I care about you all. Your injuries. Your nerves. The fact that the adults in my generation created a world that makes this type of shit a looming norm for you all. We failed you all by letting pride, ego, and intolerance get in the way of peace, love, and acceptance and frankly it pisses me the hell off.” Raquelle straightens up to sign as he speaks, keeping his voice low and even but his gift leaks out around the edges, wrapping his words with genuine concern and a passionate sense of protectiveness.

He turns away from the teens, hands going to his hips as he exhales softly. “God damn son of a bitch’s ugly stepsister…” He takes a deep breath and turns back around, pressing his hands together as he gathers his emotions and nods slowly. “No showers and such necessary Prince Caspytoes. The bathrobes are just because it makes you feel wrapped in a soft hug.” He signs for Brynn as he speaks.

The second trash bag is opened out and he pulls out a stack of 4 of those dishwashing sized plastic tubs that can be easily stacked inside of each other and he moves towards the couch to line them up with a shake of his head. “So, we are going to play the ask Raquelle anything game, as you sit down, eat your food, relax and let Pretty Eyes and I pamper you.” He signs a translation for Brynn as he straightens up.

A finger gets pointed at Joe. “I swear to god if you try to explain something like how you know how to diffuse a hand grenade with a toothbrush or some shit like that so you are prepared for anything, etc etc… I will eat your bacon. You may be the bullet proof king of gab but I actually own a motherfucking tiara, okay? If I can snatch a wig like a boss, pretty sure I could snatch some fried pig strips.”

A smile to all the teens. “Okay…let's begin.”

The younger girl’s face lights up when more food is presented. There can’t possibly be a time when she’d turn down seconds or even thirds. She doesn’t dive in and start snarfing up anything, but waits until she’s offered. And then it’s to take a very conservative serving to make it last so others get more too. See, she has some manners!

She’s pretty much overlooked the whole idea of spa day. Until the siblings’ collective reaction draw her attention. First Brynn’s absolute disgust at feet - and let’s be honest, feet are gross - and then Lance’s suspicion. This must be the catch, this spa day thing.

It puts skepticism into Squeaks’ expression, and she pulls her own feet in tight. She even sinks behind her up-drawn knees, using them for a shield, while she chews on a pancake. Blue eyes peer up and over the tops of her knees when Raquelle gets close to the couch, and she wedges herself in deeper.

With all of this going on, Caspian has gone to the kitchen to start lunch going. Yes, it was just breakfast, but a good gumbo takes about three hours at least to start getting cooked down properly, so the sooner he starts with this, the better. There’s a clatter of cast iron against the stove as his big dutch oven is brought out, along with a second pan for the chicken thighs to start cooking and get a good sear in the oven. After a quick preparation with salt and pepper, the whole pan is slid into the oven to cook, Caspian returning to the living room, wiping his hands on a dishcloth.

“Raquelle, I think that this might be a little overwhelming for them.” As if the way that they’re acting doesn’t underline that sentiment. Squeaks curling in on herself like that, after opening up, gets a frown from the brown-haired man, but he does understand. So he plays peacekeeper and decides to, well, take one for the team. “Look, guys, nothing Raquelle does is going to hurt you, or be gross, and if you don’t want him to do it, you don’t have to. It’s something that’s relaxing and feels good, and lots of people have spa days - and getting one at home is kind of a big deal. Raq, if you need a guinea pig….” Caspian glances to the kitchen. “Give me a little while to get my holy trinity cut up and the roux to start and then I’ll have a chunk of time while things start to simmer.”

Brynn's eyes go wide as Raquelle starts *snap, snap* telling Joe what's what while Lance goes yakkity-yak with his hand. She claps a hand over her mouth to stifle giggles. Caspian's return to the room means that she has a moment to catch her breath there, shoveling another pancake into her mouth to further stifle laughter at Joe's expense. It's all in good fun, though. And she looks… sort of curious about the idea of what Raquelle is offering. The dishpans draw her intrigued gaze, and she signs, Okay… as long as it's not gross, I'm game. After all, they moved here for "new" and "normal," right?? Caspian is saying this is "normal" thing to do! We've just never had a salon.

Brynn nudges Squeaks a little and bribes her. I'll share my last piece of bacon, she coaxes. Don't make me do it alone?

Joe is always talking. Always. This should come as no surprise to anyone in this room. Except maybe Squeaks. Everyone else should be quite familiar with this behavior already. He makes faces at Lance as he mocks him with his hand like that. "Lucky I'm injured broninja. Or that would beg a response. Might have to wrastle yah." A wide grin from the bulletproof kid before his agrees with Lance's surprise. "Bathrobes? Uhhh I mean… what for?" He asks sounding a lot confused. Joe's shoulders lift in a half shrug to Raquelle's statement. "We probably would already be dead if it wasn't for our training. And most people are squeamish about killing. Especially kids doing the killing. So I thought my preference might help."

Joe leans back into the couch and over, so his shoulder rests lightly against Brynn's, eyes tracking around the room a little. His hands move for Brynn too. Joe translates constantly for Brynn. His hands moving as he talks is just something people have to get used to, around him and around Lance, though Joe is being a dummy and ignoring his shoulder to keep signing. "I haven't had a shower since uhh…" Joe makes a little face as he tries to remember his last shower. "I think they bathed me after the surgery to help the incision from getting infected but I'm not sure. And I'm pretty sure I could defuse a hand grenade. Not with a toothbrush though and oh that's not the point is it?" He asks, looking slightly sheepish, his eyes flickering from Raquelle to Caspian, then back to Raquelle, his lips quirking into a smile, then a grin.

"Squeaks you have the right idea. Hide the feets until we know what he means. Though I'm still confused as to what Raq might have that he thinks could do anything to my feets." Joe will of course then hide his own feets, tucking them up underneath him. "Lance should go first." Voluntold!" He pauses, turning his head as he realizes Brynn has been giggling at them. "Et du Brutus?" He asks, clutching a hand to his heart, turning around so he's sitting backwards on the couch and teetering over the edge as if about to fall. But then he meeps in pain at the stretching of his stomach and does fall over, a hard thud as his head bounces off the floor. But there's no cry of pain, he just busts out laughing, then come the sound of pain, ow ow ow's mixed into the laughter. Cuz laughing hurts right now. He also signed that for Brynn so she knew he was pretending to be betrayed.

The pratfall, Lance normally wouldn’t worry about. Joe’s tough, literally. Right now, though, he looks up with a widening of his eyes, “Joe! Careful, you’re— “ There he goes, right over, and he winces, “— still hurt. Shit. Careful! You’re gonna hurt yourself.”

A heavy sigh, and he shoves another mouthful of pancake past his lips before pushing himself up to his feet, arm still slung across his chest as with a roll of his eyes he steps over towards Raquelle, “Okay, so what, I put on this bathrobe?”

He’ll take the Raquelle Challenge!

There is a slight flinch when Squeaks and then Joe hide their feet and then a blink when Joe falls and a slooow shake of his head as Raquelle takes it all in. He is quiet though, just nodding to Caspian.

The hairdresser pushes himself to his feet to head into the kitchen with a lemonade pitcher, finding the sink so that he can start filling it up. “Hmm…” He still does not speak though, even if he smiles and nods to Lance and Brynn.

Back to the ghetto footpaths, he removes a large ziplock bag from his backpack and in it are small cookie sized powdery soap looking things. “Put on your bathrobes, Have a seat.” He signs the instructions before holding the bag out as he approaches the couch once more, allowing each teen to select their own hand made bath bomb. “When I pour water into your foot bath, put your feet in, and then put in your bath cookie and then…magic will happen.”

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