aura_icon.gif brynn_icon.gif carl_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif emily_icon.gif geneva_icon.gif hailey_icon.gif jim_icon.gif jonah_icon.gif jonathan_icon.gif kaylee_icon.gif luther_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif seren_icon.gif ff_silas_icon.gif silvia_icon.gif walter_icon.gif weasel_icon.gif

Scene Title Mosaic
Synopsis Members of the SafeZone and Winslow-Crawford communities come together to create something beautiful, even amidst a bit of chaos.
Date March 2, 2019

Brooklyn College, Winslow-Crawford Academy

Handpainted banners welcome visitors to the little brick building that makes up the Winslow-Crawford Academy’s corner of Brooklyn College. The doors to the small school within the collegiate campus are open for their Saturday visitors joining them in the communal art project. A mezzanine overlooks the lobby with stairs on either side, signs pointing up on the right, and down on the left, to keep collisions to a minimum.

Today, the lobby’s hardwood floors have been covered with blue tarps that sit beneath large, paper-lined tables for the guests to create the masterpieces that will soon grace the entrance of the building. Paint, paintbrushes, water cups, sponges, etc. all sit on the tables ready to be put to work. Another table is loaded with refreshments — coffee, water, hot chocolate, doughnuts, and cookies.

Also put to work, a few of the students of the school serve as official greeters to hand out the little four-by-four-inch tiles to the incoming guests, giving them instructions if necessary (and sometimes when not necessary, especially in the case of the younger children). Supervising these interactions, of course, is the dean of the school, Peyton Whitney who watches each arrival — it’s a community event, but that can invite unsavory sorts, so she and her other staff members are on watch for trouble.

“Here’s your tile. You can paint it over there. If you don’t know what to draw, there’s a few already done over there, and you can get some ideas. I like dinosaurs,” Jonah Whitney says, handing one of the tiles to a college students, pointing out where to paint and where to see the models that have already been made. “But you don’t have to make a dinosaur,” he adds.

“Or a dragon. You could do one of those,” Carl comments next to Jonah handing a tile out to a little girl. The youngest Sumter as smudges of paint on his clothes and another on his cheek. He loved doing art stuff. “Dragons are my favorite. So if you need an idea. Do a dragon. It can even be pink.” The little girl wrinkles her nose and wanders off to go paint. Carl sighs heavily and looks at Jonah. “I don’t think we’re gonna get many dragons and dinosaurs.” He wrinkles his nose, “Just hope there are not a lot of unicorns. Unless it is pooping rainbows. That would be funny.”

Not far behind Carl his mother, Kaylee Sumter, gives a suffering look skyward. Having boys can be trying like that.

“Maybe a unicorn made all of flames… Even better.” Another tiles is handed out a bright smile on the little boy’s face. Kaylee sits at a table with a tile in her hand staring at the blank surface. What the heck was she going to put on that thing? She’s not artistic in anyway. The telepath looks at her son’s tile next to her, lips pressed together. It was a scene from his favorite book, ‘The Good Dragon.’

Elisabeth heard about this event from Harmony, since the twins both attend the school, and although she has not made very many public appearances… well, there's a time and a place for everything. She's got to get out there at some point. It appears that now will be that moment. Aurora, for her part, is thrilled at the possibility of seeing what will be her school when she gets registered. And at the idea of ART. "Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, lookit! It's Aunt Kaylee! Hi, Aunt Kaylee!" the little girl shouts from the doorway. Carl's comment on no dragons makes Aura blink hazel eyes at him. Solemnly, she informs the boys, "If we need more dragons, I know somebody who gots a real one so I can help paint more." And then she pulls free of Liz and races toward Kaylee to tell her all about the library and Seren!

Well… that wasn't quite the entrance Liz had hoped for, and while Aurora bolts directly for her aunt, Elisabeth is left to smile at Jonah at the door and accept two tiles from him. "Thank you," she says to the boy easily. Her blue eyes skim the room; she's still far too wary and watchful to not be noting all exit points and making mental notes of faces. It's Peyton's face that her gaze settles on, though.

Jim arrives by himself, but he doesn’t stay lonely for long, because a couple of kids wave to him and call out greetings as they see him, and one little girl runs up to hug his leg. “Hi, Jade,” he says with a smile as he gives her a one-armed hug in return, before she runs off to rejoin her friends. His next greeting is to Peyton, a less physical but just as friendly wave. “Hi,” he says. “I don’t know how nice mine will be, but I don’t mind having it off to the side.”

He starts toward Jonah and Carl then to procure his tile. “Hi, Jonah,” he says, and there’s a nod and a smile to Carl, too. “What kind of dinosaur are you going to do?” He knows Peyton’s son well enough to guess as to the content of his tile, even though he didn’t hear the child’s recent words.

Hailey, being the oldest, is leading the pack. She, Geneva, and Brynn arrive like a group of underdressed/styled Heathers in V formation. Being homeschooled, they never had the luxury of classrooms, though in Hailey’s case it would be considered a misfortune. Looking around, she doesn’t recognize anyone there. She turns to face the other two and quickly signs in cant You guys know anyone? Do you think we should be here?

It's taken Seren some time to make it as far as the welcoming committee. Winged Baird remains perched on their shoulder primly, today looking like an alebrije brought to life. A stripe of white lines and circles trail its back down to its tail, culminating in a crown of dots on its forehead. Its Maine Coon face is a bold orange with black accents, including the edges of its feather-tipped ears; the rest of its body quadrants into sections of stylized pattern and color. A long, flowing tail sways behind it while Seren walks, a litany of colors to be found in those peacock feathers.

The little creature has been delighted at all the attention it's grabbed, and Seren has been similarly happy to show off their friend. The two decidedly don't match, with Seren donning their knitted red Raytech cap and a darker red scarf around their neck. A far less extravagant color palette indeed.

"Hi," they greet almost sheepishly as they step forward for a tile. One corner of Seren's mouth seems perpetually pulled back in a grin today. "Is this where you get started?"

“Aurora!” Kaylee greets brightly, putting down the tile and putting arms out to give the girl a hug if she wants it. Eventually, falling into listening to the little girl talk about her latest adventure with interest.

Over at the entrance table, Carl watches the little blonde girl with open curiosity. He is pretty sure he knows all of his cousins. There is a look of disapproval at the fact that his mother greets the little girl like she knew her forever. Maybe this was the cousin she told him about, but he had only been half listening to her. “I’ll be right back,” he comments and starts to turn when Seren shows up. Blue eyes widen at the sight of the thing on their shoulder. “Whoa! That’s so cool!” He starts to say more, but then he looks back at Aurora and then back at Seren. Never before has the boy been so torn as to what to do.

“Unicorns can be cool sometimes,” Jonah says diplomatically, glancing at Carl with some uncertainty, like he might be losing cool points for thinking so. “Definitely cooler when they poop rainbows though,” he adds, just to be sure. He passes out more tiles, grinning with the jack-o-lantern grin of a seven year old and pointing out the tables.

“So glad you made it! I wasn’t sure if you were working at the hospital or not today, but Hollis said you might be able to show up,” Peyton says to Jim when he greets her. “The kids clearly are happy to see you,” she says, eyes trailing after the little girl who ran up to hug him. “I didn’t get a hug,” she calls after the girl with a smirk. She also doesn’t have cool band-aids like Jim does.

Jonah hands the man a tile and grins at the question. “I already made mine — it’s over on that table over there. It’s a stegosaurus. I tried to do a T-Rex but it came out all wrong. It’s okay if you make mistakes. There’s a way to clean it up,” he tells Jim, pointing out the solution and wipes that will clear up any mistakes he might make. “What are you going to make?”

As Jonah chatters away, Peyton’s returned to her post, looking out at those coming, and it’s then she sees Liz. Her brows knit together in confusion, and she looks to Kaylee, brows lifting as if to ask do you see her, too? Teeth tug at her lower lip and she seems poised to move — either forward or backward, given the slight twitches of her body in first one direction and the back. Instead she stands frozen in place, staring at the woman she hasn’t seen in so many years.

“I could give you a hug if you really want one,” Jim replies to Peyton, though it’s said with humor and he doesn’t actually try to do that. “I switched shifts,” he continues a little more seriously. “I didn’t want to miss this.”

He takes the tile from Jonah then, looking over to where the boy indicates, though he can’t quite see it. “I’m sure it’s great,” he says as he turns back. “And I bet I’ll need a lot of that stuff. I’m not the best artist.” He looks down at the tile in consideration, before he adds, “I’m not sure, but I’ve been thinking about a story my grandfather used to tell me a lot recently. Maybe something with that. And then you can tell me if it’s good enough to put up.”

He moves toward one of the tables with the paint, looking up in time to see Seren, who gets a smile and a wave that could be interpreted both as a greeting and an invitation to join him, should they want to. His gaze is caught then, though, by Peyton’s reaction to…someone. His gaze moves toward Elisabeth, and though there’s some curiosity, he certainly doesn’t go over there to ask, but instead grabs a brush to begin to paint.

Brynn signs back, It said an open event. It's art, Hails. C'mon, please? I just wanna draw something pretty for the school? She wouldn't have come by herself, there's no way. Too many people and too much commotion for the deaf girl to feel comfortable here alone — too many things can happen where she can't see or follow it.

Aurora throws her arms around Kaylee's neck and she's already begun, the pitch of her voice high enough that even in the crowd Elisabeth can hear and keep track of her but not so loud as to be shouting or anything. She tells her aunt earnestly about going to the liberry and the books she brought back to the apartment and Grampa gave her a princess bed and it has curtains and EVE'YTHING and she played with Lili and Ricky and Mummy says she'll be able to come to this school soon and she's so excited!

Elisabeth herself, meeting Peyton's eyes, notes the confusion and can't help the sheepish, tentative smile. Hi there, remember me? I was getting sucked into a black hole the last time we saw one another. She moves, hesitantly, to stand in front of Peyton. "Surprise?" she murmurs to the other woman. She's clearly uncertain of her welcome.

A bit fashionably late, Clara Winters takes her tile eagerly and snakes through the crowd to join Hailey, Geneva and Brynn, a grin on her face. Pepe Le Pew and Minerva both stayed home to sleep, and only Ron Weasley is present, curled up in the pocket of her jacket and dozing quietly while the world goes on around him. Soo many people.

She glances around, drawing close to Geneva as her eyes travel over faces. She doesn’t know anyone here, but she doesn’t know a lot of people — it comes with being an immigrant from Canada, though. This is nice, it would have been kinda neat to grow up with this. Weasel says this, but she probably would have hated it.

All the talk of dragons and dinosaurs and unicorns Seren keeps overhearing is enough to bring forward a sliver of silver at the edge of their eyes, their own imagination starting to churn. Thanking the young girl who offered directions on where to go, they keep their tile pressed to chest as they head over to the paints, wondering if there might soon be visitors that appear. Dragons under the crafts table, unicorns emerging from trees..

The whole event is just flush with creativity. It's bound to happen. Maybe sooner, maybe later.

"I don't know, Baird, what do you think we should paint?" they murmurs to the bright gryphon-like creature on their shoulder. It chatters at them with quiet clicks, like a cat makes at small animals out of its reach, and Seren can only grin faintly at its reply. "Well that's narcissistic of you, now, isn't it."

Trailing just behind Hailey as she enters the lobby, Geneva is attempting to look as nonchalant as possible in her usual faded, punk-reminiscent garb; normally cheery community events such as these are most decidedly not her thing. For the sake of a group Lighthouse outing, however, she supposes she may as well at least attempt to enjoy herself. It might be worth it only to see Brynn get to show off her artistic skills.

The blonde's jaw actually drops when she spots the fantastic creature mounted on Seren's shoulder, and she calls out loudly enough for her voice to carry to their ears, signing simultaneously in Lighthouse cant: "Holy fuck, look at that. Is that supposed to be part of the event?" She then drops into cant-only, hands gesticulating quickly before she lifts one arm in a wave at the distant forms of Kaylee and Aurora. Hey, Aunt Kaylee's over there. Let's go say hi?

After a certain point, Delilah stops trying to make her son stay with her on the way to the school; as soon as he is within eyeshot of 'safe' people, he rockets off in a blur of ginger hair and blue coat. Dee opens her mouth and just closes it again. Nope, not worth it. Walter makes a beeline for the other kids, of course, trotting up to where Jonah and Carl were handing out tiles.

"Jonah! Carl! And hi Mr. Clark!" Jim gets a secondary greeting out of Walter once he screeches to a stop. "Did you guys finish yours yet? I woulda been here sooner but my mom was talking to people." The sound he makes as he explains implies the long-suffering of an impatient boy.

Delilah for her part, is once again talking to someone; not for long, though, waving a quick see-you-around before turning back to the fray. She gets out her phone to take some pictures of everyone first, smiling to herself and circling around for some good angles. It's only after a few shots that she starts really picking out familiar faces amongst the crowd.

Her brown eyes stop on Elisabeth, and yet- - the absence of surprise says a lot. Dee had been wondering when she'd see her out in the world, after Magnes'…everything.

The moment Weasel enters the building, Hailey frowns and then slowly turns in her direction. "Clara," she hisses, trying to make sure no one around them can hear as she looks directly at the other woman's pocket with a frown. "You can't just bring animals anywhere you want. What if he gets scared and bites some kid?" She doesn't sign, she doesn't need Brynn to know that she's giving the other woman an ear full.

She nods to Geneva when she drifts off to say hello. Instead of going over herself, she just picks up a tile and some paints. It's a difficult task to try to be completely normal and chipper in a situation where there are too many people but with an animal around, she can't afford a slip that might send it wild.

“Well, this is quite the shindig your mother cooked up, Jonah.” The bright tone of Jonathan Smith, cutting through the conversation as he steps up next to Delilah looking at the tiles available to paint. He looks at Dee and Walter as well, offering them a greeting and a smile before asking the boys, “Think I should paint something too?” He rubs his chin as if considering this prospect. “What ever should I paint, if I do?”

Kaylee is giving Aurora her full attention, though the crowd is getting bigger and the sound of minds around her get louder too. The excitement of the day pressing in on her mental barriers. “Oh my! You will have to show me your princess bed when I visit.” Looking past the young girl, she spots her son looking at them and then the creature on Seren’s shoulder. That gets an arch of her brow, but nothing more as Geneva’s wave pulls her attention. The telepath brightens and disengaged enough from her niece to offer a wave back.

Carl in the meantime is full engrossed on that creature on Seren’s shoulder. His curious nature fully engaged now. As they move off, he can’t help but trail after. It isn’t long before questions follow Seren. “Is that yours? Is it real?” He almost sounds like he can’t believe that. “I have a stuffed dragon, his name is Bubba. He’s red, but he isn’t alive like that,” there is a dejected sigh at that and maybe some jealousy, “Would be cool if he was. He’d be my best friend, I bet.” Seren, for the moment would get no peace.

Clara’s eyes are drawn toward the fantastic creature accompanying Seren, her eyes widening slightly. She’s about to join the heat manipulator when Hailey suddenly gives her a verbal lashing — she stops, frowning over at Hailey and raising her hands in a shrug.

“He wouldn’t let me leave him behind,” she replies in a hushed whisper, a frown on her face. Ron, more than even Pepe, is bonded to Weasel, after she found him as a baby — he’s still a juvenile, at an age where he would still be with his mother, though just barely, were she still alive.

“He won’t freak out — he’s bonded, he’s not going to do something I don’t want him to.” She sounds confident about that — her ability does work much differently than Hailey’s, the main difference being the ability to control her animals. “Wouldn’t bring him here if I was worried he’d do something to get himself into trouble.”

Jim looks up as he hears his name, and when he sees the source, there’s a wave and a smile for Walter, as well. “Hi, Walter,” he says, “it’s good to see you.” He has to chuckle at the exasperated words about Delilah, who also gets a wave and a look to indicate sympathy, probably. “Moms, man,” he says with a shake of his head, before looking back to Walter. “Not yet. I just got here, too, and I haven’t really started yet.”

He looks down at his tile again thoughtfully, paintbrush in hand, before he brings it down to start to paint. His movements are slow and careful, precise in the way that someone who is not an artist but wants their thing to come out well might be.

It’s been a long couple of months in general for Silvia. A couple of months she can’t fully go about explaining to anyone regardless of how understanding they are. One thing that has remained constant to her is art—and when it’s art that’s more permanent in nature, it seems more fitting. She already knows exactly what she wants to depict. Making her way in and weaving her way through people who might be in her way, she takes her tile with a tired smile and moves over to the art supplies. She’ll need a lot of brown…

Brynn sticks to Hailey like glue, not familiar with a some of the people here though others she's seen around the marketplace at times or even considers family. But this is about art and she really wants to do something lovely. And maybe a little wicked too. Come find us when you wanna paint, we'll save you a seat! But she herself makes her way directly toward a bench, plunking down near Jim and Walter, pulling Hailey with her. One seat is as good as the other, right? Hi! she waves to the man and boy as they take up table space.

It feels strange, being at an actual college. "John Silas Dantes" got an associate's degree in culinary arts at the University of Missouri; Silas Mackenzie, however, has never actually set foot in a college (much to his parents' distress). All the more reason to step into the pool, he supposes… which is one of the reasons he's here. Not the only reason, though; this'll hopefully also provide him an opportunity to meet and greet some of his fellow Safe Zone denizens.

Still. Art. Silas nods and smiles politely as a kid hands him a little ceramic tile, moving forward to get out of the way… once he's clear of the immediate entranceway, though, his forward momentum stalls out, leaving him looking around and feeling a bit lost. Art. I feel like a fraud, he muses… then actually thinking about what's going through his mind, he snickers aloud. Well, it's not like being an artist is the only thing I'm a fraud at! My entire life is literally a cover story. Might as well own it, he thinks, shaking his head and grinning. He makes for the art supplies; he's already put some thought into what he wants to paint. His only doubt is whether he'll be able to do it justice.

Looking up to gather some colors, Seren spots Jim further down the table and lifts a hand to wave in his direction. "Hey there, Jim. Fancy seeing—"

Carl's questioning cuts them off, though. Addressing and encouraging wonder was way more important than a simple hello. Seren smiles broadly as they look back down to the boy, Baird's plumage around the back of its head puffing up in pride. It knows when it's being talked about.

"Baird belongs to himself." Seren reports knowingly. "He's totally real, though." Their eyes light up at the mention of a dragon, stuffed or no. "You do?" is said with some awe. "You know, because that's the most wild thing… I met a dragon on the way here and he said his name was Bubba, I think. Maybe he might stop by." they suggest conspiratorially. And seriously. Quite seriously. They start to frown thoughtfully, as if comparing dragons. "Mmmm… but maybe it was a different dragon. How big is your Bubba? What does he look like?"

To heck with painting, I suck at it. I might just let you do the honors by yourself, Geneva signs back at Brynn in response, just a hint of slyness in her grin. But, I'll be back. She dusts herself off then, making a beeline straight for the spectacle of Seren and Carl, because she just has to ogle that monstrosity up closer. As she glibly accepts a tile from the child handing them out (even though she is not planning to do anything with it quite yet) and jaunts her way across the crowded hall, her shoulder knocks bodily into Silas as he is heading for the paintbrushes.

Briefly, her brazen blue eyes meet his. There is no recognition from her end, but Silas will see a perhaps unsettlingly familiar figure— one he had seen twice before in another lifetime, both in increasingly violent circumstances. "Ah shit, sorry."

Jim waves back to Brynn as she comes to sit over by them, and the wave extends to include Hailey as well. “Hey,” he says. “No snow today, but hopefully we’ll still have fun.” He catches Seren’s wave and truncated greeting, lifting a hand in return to them, before he continues with what he’s doing. There’s a little black star in the center of his tile, and he has started to include some black triangles radiating outward around it in a circle. “What are you all going to paint today?” he asks as he goes, looking from Walter to Brynn to Hailey.

Silvia does see a few faces she knows, but she isn’t in a huge rush to go over to socialize. She wiggles her fingers in Brynn and Hailey’s direction if they happen to look her way, but otherwise her attention is focused on the blank tile. She seats herself somewhere not as crowded, taking small bits of paint to work with as she starts to work. Swirls of color start to fill the tile under her brush, more of an abstract style than anything super defined and solid.

“What- how-” begins Peyton as she stares at Liz, her huge brown eyes wide. A moment before, Peyton probably looked like she’d gotten her act together, professional, grown up, mature — but now she seems the scared little girl she was when Liz knew her, wide-eyed and terrified. Her eyes well up with tears, but then the pupils grow wide, swallowing up the brown irises until her eyes seem to be nothing but black, the tell-tale sign she’s using her ability.

But it’s Liz then who sees her own face and the crowd of tile painters behind her, as if she’s standing where Peyton is, seeing what — who — Peyton sees. Silas, the poor newcomer as well, suddenly sees Liz’s face and everything behind Liz instead of the tile and paint he’s looking at.

Two blinks, and then it’s gone. But suddenly Peyton gasps, as she sees her vision flooded by someone else’s, Jonah’s this time, a vision of Jonathan speaking to him, and Liz once more finds Peyton missing from her view, and Jonathan’s face there instead. Whatever this is it’s not intentional, because Peyton reaches for her Liz’s arm to steady herself, her fingers curling around Liz’s wrist. Silas’ vision returns to his paints, as if nothing happened.

Oblivious to his mother’s duress, Jonah grins at Jonathan. “Mr. Smith, you know the answer to that!” he says with a giggle. “I made a stegosaurus but it’s not great. Mom says it’ll be okay up on the wall, though, that it isn’t about being perfect. Some of these people’s are really good.” His envy is practically palpable.

Carl lights up as the talk turns to dragons, especially his own. Though the mention that Seren has seen the dragon gets a skeptical look. “I kinda doubt you saw him, he’s only stuffed.” There is a matter of fact way he says that, like Seren is being silly. “But he’s about this tall,” his hand hovers above the table. “He is red and has yellow eyes.”

After that, Carl gives the other person a serious look and offers his hand, “My name is Carl.” And he points to Kaylee who is still in deep conversation with Aurora for the moment. “And that’s my mom.” As if knowing who his mom is, it’s very important. Who knows with kids.

Over by Jonah, Mr. Smith is listening to the young boy. He can’t help but grin at the boys suggestion. “Of course, you’re right. Dinosaurs are a worthy selection. Though you already painted my favorite dinosaur!” Jonathan exclaims and sighs, hands coming to rest on his hips. “And I bet it is a better stegosaurus then I could ever make.”

Jonathan seems to consider his options as he picks up the tile. “This will take a lot of thought.”

Several of the kids begin to get closer to Seren, pointing at the creature and asking questions. “What is that!” “What’s his name?” “Is that real? My mom says it’s gotta be your ability…” But even this dubious one looks quite charmed by Baird. Jonah’s eyes dart past Jonathan at the small commotion of his peers around Seren, and his eyes widen with wonder, too. “Wow,” he murmurs softly.

The juxtaposition of what she is supposed to be seeing and what she's actually seeing is enough to rock Elisabeth's composure. Sucking in a breath, she reels from the view. Oh look, it's a face she doesn't know! She has no idea who Jonathan is. The kids' faces are lost in the blur. When Peyton grabs her arm, she instinctively grips back — but it doesn't stop the bizarre shift in viewpoint and unfortunately it's enough to make the audiokinetic a little dizzy. What the *fuck*? "Peyton, stop!" she hisses under her breath. Because it has to be her doing it, right?

Stifling a small groan as her own field of view comes back, Elisabeth squeezes her eyes tightly shut for a moment. "Jesus," she murmurs. "If I'd known you were going to lose your shit, I'da ambushed you outside. For God's sake, Pey…." But the smile she offers as she opens her eyes is gentle and the blonde reaches out to hug Peyton tightly. "Hi," she greets in a low voice. "I'm so sorry — I should have made sure you had warning instead of just turning up."

When she can finally step back, Elisabeth is controlling her tears though it's not simple. She chances a glance around and spots Delilah's face in the crowd as well, and she pulls in a breath. That's one meeting she perhaps wasn't expecting, her gaze seeking the redheaded child who should be accompanying the woman. A pang of worry pulls her brows together slightly. She's still has no word on some of the people who fell out of the tunnel… Walter is one of them. Her gaze comes back to Delilah, though, and she offers the other woman a shaky smile over the heads of the children as well.

Aurora finally seems to run out of steam and leans on her aunt, looking around curiously at the other kids. Shyly, she asks, "Do I get to meet them?" Because she hasn't gotten to meet the cousins yet, only her siblings.

On her way to painting, Weasel makes it a point to pause near Seren and their strange Gryphon creature, staring up at Baird with wide eyes. However, they appear to be busy with the children, and this event is about the children, so Clara Winters makes it a point to keep a respectful distance.

After gawking, she turns and skims the crowd — Geneva is easy enough to find, and she slips through with a spring in her step, joining the other girl shortly after she bumps into Silas. “Holy sh— cow, Genie, did you see that thing? Man, that’s gotta be a cool ability to have. I bet we’ll see something cool happen before this thing is over.” She pauses, blinking a few times at the man her sister just bumped into, though there’s no recognition there.

Then, she’s grinning back to her sister. “What are you going to paint? I’m probably gonna paint Ron.”

Delilah bails on her photography when Jon engages her, giving him a grin. "Of course you should paint something. No idea what I want to make either, but here we are." As she slides her phone into her pants pocket she takes another look over some faces from afar, catching Elisabeth's look and returning it with a softened smile of her own. It's not hard to find the little boy, given the chattering of kids and his fiery hair.

Walter seems more than excited to start sharing a space with the likes of Jim and Brynn and Hailey- - who both get a perky hello, and Brynn a signing of the same. "Hi! Yours is gonna be awesome, Brynn, you're so good at drawing. I'm practicing, but…" He gets his paws on some of his own paints, tongue between teeth as he considers the empty tile. Walter knows what his buddies would be making, so he can't copy them.

Meanwhile, Delilah has tried to distract herself with her own, keeping Walter in her peripheral and beginning a tiny scene of bees and flowers.

The hug from Liz draws a gasp from Peyton, who the blond can feel trembling before the hug is returned, tentatively and then tightly. “I don’t understand,” she whispers. “You’re… it’s not a trick?”

In a world of evolved powers, there are a lot of ways to make a person look just like Elisabeth. Sound just like Elisabeth. The tightness of Peyton’s grip on Elisabeth suggests she believes it’s really Liz, even if her words are dubious.

With Peyton’s eyes clamped shut, Liz’s vision goes gray-dark as well, again thrown into the perspective of clairvoyant whose ability seems to be going a bit haywire — in a way it never has before. But it relents after a moment. The shared vision — or lack of vision, given Peyton’s closed eyes — stutters through the room two people at a time. Liz and Delilah. Jonah and Jonathan. Geneva and Hailey. Aurora and Kaylee. Jim and Weasel. Silas and Seren. Brynn and Silvia. Walter and Carl. A few seconds of grayed-out vision, the shade one sees when their eyes are closed with no light on them, before they can see what’s in front of them again. Throughout the room there’s a murmur of commotion — some folks just blink and shake their head, but others react more visibly.

Jonah’s hand reaches out to grasp Jonathan’s and he reaches up to rub his face. “I feel wooshy,” he whispers. He might mean woozy.

Peyton doesn’t seem to notice — perhaps the only person who doesn’t react. Finally, she steps back to look at Liz again — Liz’s own face flashes once more in Liz’s eyes before it snaps back to her own perspective. Peyton’s brows draw together in visible pain, and she stumbles back, a hand to her head. “I’m sorry,” she whispers, the color draining out of her — she too looks a bit wooshy, before she bumps into the wall behind her.

Silvia had been in the process of putting a brush into a cup of water to clean it, but when something clouds her vision, even for a brief moment, she drops the brush and both of her hands grip the edge of the table to make sure she’s somewhere. Her breath catches in her throat and she manages to exert control over her ability so that she doesn’t just turn into a pile of sand in the chair. The panic doesn’t really subside even after her vision comes back, though it lessens as she realizes that other people seem to have experienced something.


"Red with yellow eyes?" Seren asks in surprise, an eyebrow raising. They drum their fingers along the side of the table.

The noisy snort of an animal comes from underneath. "That does sound a bit like the Bubba I saw…"

They tilt their head and look at Baird for confirmation. It chatters back at them, and then peers down at the table and the noise. Seren doubletakes in surprise at seeing a puff of dark smoke come out from underneath the paper sheets layered over the table. They quickly recover and smile back at Carl. "My name is Seren, and this is Baird. I've seen your mom around work before."

Glancing down at the disturbed papers, Seren crouches and peers underneath. "Ah, there he is!" they announce, looking at a sleepy, small red dragon with darker red ridges and yellowed eyes. It has matte scales instead of velvet appearance, you know, like its stuffed counterpart. It uncurls its thick stubby tail from around itself, peeking its head out first to peer up at Carl. On seeing him, it perks up considerably, its stiff and cartoonish wings flapping.

Seren would likely have more to say, but there are suddenly more children behind them. Still crouched, they turn back with a patient grin. "This is Baird," they explain again. "He and I are very good friends." And since there's another friend now in the picture, they look down at the dragon. "And this is Bubba!" On turning back up to greet the kids properly, their breath leaves them when their vision goes. Their thoughts are derailed from what they were going to say, taking a moment to reorient themselves after their vision returns.

That wasn't a normal side effect from use of their ability…

A tall, bearded man dressed in thick flannel patterned jacket and dark sweater steps forward through the doors, late to the event's start. He could be deemed something of the unsavory sort by first appearances, but Luther is far from that intention as he accepts a blank tile from the volunteers. He'd hardly be recognizable as the RayTech security chief in his current state, one hand lax with the tile, the other shoved awkwardly into a jacket pocket as he slowly makes his way in… towards the refreshments table.

It's at the table that Luther finds his sight of delicious donuts and coffee briefly grays out, and he gamely hangs on to the tile in his hand instead of dropping it in surprise. He blinks several times, though, once his vision actually returns to normal. With a puzzled look cast back over his shoulder, he looks at others' reactions to see if that was just him. And more, he looks very concerned that this could be a return of the overlays phenomenon several people experienced months ago.

Jim hasn’t yet noticed anything more going on with Peyton — he’s focused on his tile and the kids at his table for the most part. He grins at Walter, nodding as he continues to paint. He makes a larger circle of black triangles around the other smaller one, leaning in with a very concentrating look.

That is, until he suddenly can’t see. “What the…” At least he doesn’t finish that sentence with anything untoward. He blinks, though he doesn’t seem that concerned — he’s probably one of the most accustomed to seeing weird things. Never this particular thing, but hey, who knows, maybe he’s just going crazy. If he is, it’s all Eve’s fault.

His vision clears again just in time to have Luther come into it. “Hey, brother,” he calls, waving the other man over to the kids’ table (though let’s be real, that’s most tables around here). He doesn’t look totally confident everything is fine, but he doesn’t look like he thinks disaster has struck yet.

"Oof," Silas grunts… then he recognizes exactly who it is he's bumped into. Last time he saw her was when Kenner's goonsquad painted her brains all over the dinner table for no reason whatsoever; it's a bit of a shock, though not as much of one as bumping into Asi. "Sorry bout that," he says, offering an easy grin. "Probably shoulda been watching where I was—" He cuts off midsentence as his sight suddenly goes into bizarroland and he's seeing Elisabeth. Why is he seeing Elisabeth?

Which, he realizes after a moment's thought, is the wrong question. Why he's seeing Elisabeth isn't something he can pin down at the moment. The question he should be asking right now is where he is seeing Elisabeth. Here, is the obvious answer afforded by a few seconds examination of the details he's seeing. Then he's face to face with Geneva again, the weird vision he'd seen gone as quickly as it had come. // Not a good way to make a good first impression. Okay. Play it for what it's worth.// Silas blinks, raising a hand to his head. "Ugh. Whoa. Sorry, feeling kinda dizzy…"

He closes his eyes… and has a legitimate moment of actual fear when he opens them and still can't see anything. Oh shit I'm blind, he thinks, his breath catching in his chest for a moment… then, whatever it was that had afflicted him is gone as quickly as it came.

"Not… feeling so hot right now. 'Scuse me," he murmurs, starting to wobble unsteadily towards the refreshment table.

“Your cousins?” Kaylee asks the little girl. “Well, you can meet Carl. He’s here and I know he’ll want to meet you.” Looking up, the telepath looks for her son.

Spotting him as Carl’s eyes go wide at the sight of the dragon. “Whoa!” The child is thoroughly impressed. Looking around him he spots Walter quickly with his red hair. “Walter! Look!?!” Carl shouts, pointing at the dragon. Then suddenly his vision greys out for a moment, leaving the little boy deeply confused. He doesn’t cry out for his mom, but he might be starting to think about it, turning to see if it goes away… Then just as suddenly it clears up. “That was super weird…” he murmurs and rubs a hand against the side of his face.

Turned like he, Carl blinks a few times and focuses on… “Mr. Bellamy!” Everything else is forgotten fo the sight of the tall looming man. Scruffy as he is, Luther can’t hide from the sharp eyes of the Sumter’s youngest. With a bright smile, the young boy hurried through the crowd of kids so that he can practically tackle the man with a hug. “You’re back! You’re back!”

Kaylee is so busy having a mild panic attack, she doesn’t even register what her son says. Her vision grey, she feels herself unable to breath, expecting to see through the eyes of another her. It takes a few moments of having her heart in her throat, before she realizes it’s different and by then her vision is cleared. There are a few blinks before she looks at the little girl, loosening her arms around her. “You okay, sweetie?”

Over by Jonah, Jonathan is startled by the hand in his, the other pressed to his head as he comes back to himself. A worried look goes towards Peyton, even as he grips the boy’s hand gently. “Me too, kiddo. You want to sit down?” Turning concerned parent type.

To be fair, Silas probably isn't making quite as poor an impression as he thinks, because near-simultaneously Geneva's vision is dissolving into a sudden pool of gray. The phenomenon only lasts several seconds but it leaves her in a brief state of shock once it is over; she stares straight into Silas' face after regaining her bearings as if he had caused this, being the closest person to her.

"Yo, take it easy," she calls after him as he stumbles away, narrowing her eyes in a quick search around the room; it surprises her even more to see numerous others reacting in a similar fashion. She does, however, also spot the welcome presence of Weasel near enough behind her, whom she rejoins gratefully. "…Fuck, did that just happen to you too?"

"It's not a trick," Elisabeth whispers. "It's a long story, but I promise, Pey, it's not a trick." She holds the other woman tightly and rides out the mild nausea that accompanies the — whatever the fuck that is. It takes her a long minute to clear her head, though, and she murmurs, "Christ… rein it in, woman." Because it has to be Peyton, based on the fact that she's seeing HERSELF. By the time it's over, she's moving to slip an arm under Peyton's shoulder to hold her upright as she wavers in place.

Aurora sways next to Aunt Kaylee and makes a small sound, disoriented and suddenly afraid. She drops into a small ball and scrabbles one hands and knees underneath Kaylee's chair blindly, burying her face against the floor and making herself as tiny a target as possible as she starts to shake.

Brynn's paintbrush clatters to the table and the deaf teen actually grabs the edge of the table. A small, wordless sound of distress escapes her, the only indicator that she's suddenly afflicted by something she doesn't understand. Uneasy, she grabs for Hailey and signs frantically in Cant, What is that? Hailey, did you see it? Is everyone okay?

Starting on a painting of what might end up a dog of some kind, Walter is using a small brush to dab pointed ears when he hears his name. He looks up to see Carl yelling and pointing, and blue eyes follow the finger and widen at Seren and what is that. "Whoa.." He takes a half step as if to go over, but stumbles over his own foot when his vision darkens. It's not for too long, yet it is enough. Walter whispers a worried, "Mom…"

Though she knows exactly what her son is worried about, Delilah knows it isn't what he thinks. Because it happens to her too, that blurred warm gray of closed eyes she doesn't remember closing. She is still through it, blinking over to Jon and Jonah, and then Walter when he stumbles back. Other murmurs hit her ears. Okay, definitely not just her.

"Mom, is it like before? I don't want to fall again- -" Walter's worry is a tad more distinct, and she responds to his rising distress by hooking an arm around his head, hand in his hair.

"I don't think it's like before… Do the breathing your dad showed you." Dee can't be sure, though, and scans the room for any exits if she might need to take him somewhere quieter.

“What the—” In nearly the same moment, Weasel’s sight goes grey and she briefly can’t see; her hand darts out, gripping Geneva’s arm quite tightly for a moment. Her grip quickly drops away as her sight returns, and she reaches up to rub her eyes with the back of her hand. “The fuck was that?” This is said in a near-whisper — no need to curse loudly around children.

She glances toward Geneva, concern creasing small wrinkles into her forehead. “Yeah, th’hell was that about?” She reaches for her sister’s hand, clasping it as she suddenly glances around, eyes skimming the crowd.

A few deep breaths and a glance around the room seem to have slowly settled Silvia. She’s whole, no pile of sand, no nothing. She releases the edge of the table and looks back to her tile. Two shapes, both brown, one with a streak of blue and the other with a streak of red reach for each other. Otters. She takes one more deep breath, picks up her breath, and resumes. Keep calm and carry on.

Back against the wall, Peyton rubs her eyes, reaching into the pocket of her coat to find a pair of the Jackie O-esque sunglasses she favors, shoving them on her face with a trembling hand. “Jesus, I feel like I got hit by a truck,” she whispers. “I don’t understand. I got a flash of Jonathan’s face…” she looks around, finding Jonah talking to Jonathan, “but I didn’t… and that shouldn’t make me…”

Something clicks in her mind, recognition and realization dawning in her expression, as she looks around and sees people reacting to whatever just happened. “Shit. What did you see?” she asks, turning her sunglassed gaze back on Liz, who can see her face again, this time reflected in the black lenses of Peyton’s shades. “And where have you been? Is M-” she begins, but can’t quite ask the question, her hand coming up to cover her mouth, no doubt remembering the day she last saw Liz and Magnes so many years ago.

Jonah looks around, too, seeing everyone else reacting to the same thing he saw, and he cranes his head to find his mother. “I’m okay,” he tells Jonathan. “Did you decide what you’re going to make?”

The strange moment seems to be past — there’s no lasting effects, no headaches, no faintness, no nausea. Most people shrug it off and keep working on their tiles, but there are those who the darkness has lingering effects on, emotionally.

Silas leans against the refreshment table for a moment, focusing on getting his bearings… and also thinking about what just happened. He still isn't sure just what that had been about… but judging from how close Elisabeth's face had been, she might have an idea.

Of course, there's also Geneva about somewhere… and, as he thinks about it, something else occurs to him. He could've sworn he saw another familiar face there with her, too. Hmm. Hopefully he'll get a chance to cross paths with them at some point when his brain isn't trying to crosswire itself or… or whatever weirdness had just happened.

But he should probably talk to Elisabeth first. He nabs a cup of coffee from the refreshment table, holding it in one hand and his half-forgotten tile and brush in the other; then, after a moment of deliberation, heads off in the direction that he thinks Elisabeth might be, based on what he had seen.

With the majority of people not showing much by way of panic, Luther takes in a calming breath. Maybe it was just him after all. He turns further in spotting the waving arm of Jim's, and starts that way. Donut and coffee toted along, the man retreats towards the (kids) table, pausing halfway only when he hears his name yelped out by a familiar voice.

Carl's open arms find Luther's legs. Luther finds himself with a six-year-old attachment. "Hey easy, easy there, buddy. I know, it's been a long time," he says with a chuckle and care to not lose his grip on his coffee cup. Or his donut. But with Carl present, it would mean the Sumters were around in one capacity or another. "Where's your mom?" he asks, using his taller height as an advantage.

Also with that note, Luther herds Carl for the table with Jim and the others in a natural guiding move to herd his familiars together while looking for the stray. "Jim, been a while. See you're holding up," he adds one he's within conversational distance to the other man. He doesn't miss the strange fantasy-land like creatures around another grouping of people either. But, it's hardly the weirdest thing the man has scene in his lifetime by now.

Carl lets go of Luther and steps back so that he can look up at the tall man, with a bright smile. The mention of his mom, Carl looks over in the direction he last saw her. “She’s….” And like any kid, his attention shifts, focuses on something new. Latches on to it. “Oh yeah!” And off he goes being swallowed by the crowd, leaving Luther’s question hanging, as he remembers suddenly who his mom was with. Someone he wanted to meet before Seren showed up and suddenly distracted.

“Mom! Mom!” Carl calls. “Guess who…” He trailed off as the crowds part.

He shows up at the table to find his mom crouched on the floor looking at the little girl hiding under a chair. The sight shuts the boy up immediately. “Aurora, sweetie.” Kaylee says calmly, reaching out to gently touch the blonde curls. “It’s okay. Everything is okay, I promise.” Spotting her son she motions him over. He moves to crouch next to her, studying this strange girl. “Come meet your cousin. Carl, this is Aurora.” There is no judgement in the boy’s expression, just curiosity.

Without prompting Carl offers a bright, “Hi, Aurora! My names Carl.” He inches forward and tilts his head, lowering it so he can catch her eye, laying it on the floor if need be. “Do you like Dragons?” It was after all an important question. While he is busy coaxing her, Kaylee stands. Giving her son the space to do his thing, but watches. Carl continues on not missing a beat. “You want to paint a tile? I started mine. Did you see they have donuts with sprinkles?” He mentions them like they the best things ever. “You want a donut?”

“Carl,” Kaylee tsks at him, shaking her head. “One question at a time.”

In the meantime, Jonathan focuses on Jonah again, giving his head a shake. “Nope. Maybe, I’ll paint a bookshelf? Or maybe a school house.” Silly suggestions, but he might be serious too. “I should let you get back to your big important job. I’ll go look at the sample tiles and see if I get a better idea.” Even as he speaks, he watches Delilah and Walter, concerned. Clearly, whatever it was happened to all of them. What had even happened?

The swell of murmuring is low but obvious to Elisabeth — she's not the only one who saw whatever that was. "Where Magnes and I were is a long story… and probably one you don't want the details to," she replies in a soft voice to Peyton. "It's an episode of the Twilight Zone. Let's worry about the fact that you just broadcast whatever you saw to other people first, okay? A little damage control might be in order." Though she continues to keep a hand on Peyton to help steady the other woman, Liz's blue eyes scan the crowd checking for anything that might become a problem. She makes mental note of Delilah's worry, but Walter is right there with his mother so he's okay for now. She can see Luther standing tall above other heads, so if there's a problem, there is back-up that has experience. All of those things pass through her mind in just a moment, but mostly it looks as if people are just confused so she returns her attention to Peyton and smiles just a little. "Why don't you make the rounds and check on people. I need to do the same for a few minutes. We'll talk more after your event." Because that story is longer than needs to be dealt with here in such a crowd.

From beneath Kaylee's chair, Aurora peeps out warily. The petite child can make quite a small target, and although she obviously trusts Kaylee, she's hunkered down hard. It's not until Carl comes and lays his head upside down that the 6-year-old's determination to stay right here falters slightly. "Dragons? I like dragons. An' unicorns," she agrees hesitantly. But it's the mention of donuts that perks her interest — she's inherited her mother's sweet tooth. "Wif sprinkles?" she asks, uncurling a little bit more.

Looking at Kaylee, Aura solemnly whispers, "Is it safe to come out for donuts?" Because she's lived the past two years in worlds where you don't come out unless someone you trust says it's safe. She absolutely doesn't move until Aunt Kaylee says it's okay, and then she climbs cautiously out from under the chair to put her hand in Carl's. "Can we have donuts and paint? I wanna paint a rainbow — that what Daddy calls me."

Almost as soon as Seren's recovered, they see that the kids before them experienced some kind of similar event too and they look wary and confused. "It's okay," they say soothingly, presenting a smile as they adjust their crouch. "Whatever it was is done, and there's more exciting things to worry about now." Baird shines brightly on their shoulder, the patterns on its side glowing distractingly. The little red dragon by their side whuffles, looking off in the direction Carl went while it stands on all fours, a little forlorn. Seren's attention is all on the kids before them, though. "What did you guys plan on painting? There's so many things, I can't decide."

Hailey is in the middle of coloring in a yellow banana on her tile when her vision blanks out. Immediately panic sets in. She drops the paintbrush and scrambles her hands across the table, spilling water and paint over its surface. Outside, the commotion of birds in the trees sounds through the window, they’re shrieking as though a dog was after them. But no, the dogs aren’t… one unfortunate dog walker suddenly finds himself straining against the yelping dog pulling on its leash to get out.

“Brynn! Geneva!!” The rise in her voice isn’t as alarming as Aurora’s panic but she still has no idea what is going on. Her hand lands in a puddle of black just as her vision returns. Then she glances to where her friends are and shakes her head at the one that can hear her, “Sorry… uhm…” Sheepishly, she begins cleaning her mess.

“What?” Peyton murmurs, looking around again; it’s hard to read her expression, given the large glasses that cover her face, but she swallows hard and nods at Liz’s words, focusing on a few of them. “I can’t do that,” she shakes her head, but the migraine that’s making it almost impossible to see beyond Liz makes it very clear she did something.

“I’m glad you’re back,” she manages to whisper, when Liz says she needs to make the rounds, letting go of the other woman and wiping a hand across her own cheek when she can feel the trickle of tears sliding there. “Talk later, then.” She seems reluctant to let Liz go, but she steps away, moving to the refreshment table to help herself to a bottle of water, taking a few shaky sips before stepping to the front of the lobby.

She pushes back her sunglasses and takes a deep breath. Those who know her can see she’s a little pale, wan really, but she seems to steel herself to speak. “Ladies and gentlemen, I do want to apologize for whatever just happened. I take responsibility for that — a little glitch with my own ability and nothing to be afraid of. If you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them, but I think it was just me and nothing to worry about.” Her gaze goes to her students, especially, and any of the children she doesn’t know, to smile warmly at them. “Many of you will have abilities yourself one day, and it’s just one of those things that happens sometimes, little hiccups that surprise us all. I’m just glad it was brief, and I apologize again. I doubt it will happen again today.” She has that sense of being fried, her ability outside her reach, that comes with negation or burnout. “I’ll have to make an appointment with our control coach, I suppose,” she adds with a small grin, given to those couple of older students who have had to meet with the coach themselves.

Jonah chews on his lower lip watching his mother speak for a moment, but decides to take her at her word, and goes back to his duties of passing out tiles to a few newcomers, before heading over to go check out the real-life version of Bubba. “Is it real?” he whispers, clearly awed by the thing, reaching out to touch the little red creature, and peering around for Carl.

"Sounds like everything is fine." Delilah ruffles Walter's hair as they listen to the explanation that Peyton gives. He seems a touch apprehensive, but returns to his tile because he does trust Peyton. His recent experiences make him more on edge. "You kids okay?" The redhead takes a moment to check on the other Littles around her, raising a brow to Jonathan as well. We all good?

Delilah soon goes back to watching Walter painting, making sure that he settles right back in before resuming her own. Flowers take shape before bumblebees, and the small space makes it easy for her to make it a quick bit of art before setting it aside to dry.

Brynn's gray eyes are very wide, but it lasts mere seconds. And Hailey's reaction tells her it happened to her sister too. She looks at the rest of their table, giving Jim and Luther Great Big Anime Eyes for a long moment. And then she sets about helping Hailey get black paint covered and/or cleaned up some so they can go back to painting. There's a half-drawn colorful hummingbird taking shape on her tile, something that she hasn't shown off but is waiting for Genie to come back so she can wrinkle her nose and tease.

There is little hesitation from Carl as he grasps the girls hand to help her out there. Kaylee nods her head slowly at the little girl after listening to Peyton’s explanation. “It is absolutely safe,” there is confidence to that.

Her question about donuts and painting gets Kaylee a pleading look from Carl. He gets a small nod and he breaks into a wide smile. “Of course, we can Rora,” he declares. He pats a chair next to him and his mom. “Sit here and start painting. I’ll get you a donut.” With that the Sumter boy hurries back through all the people for a donut for his new friend, with his mother calling after him to walk.

Carl will return shortly with a donut if he doesn’t get distracted again.

The telepath does her part, by placing a tile in front of the chair. “There you go,” Kaylee offers her niece a gentle and encouraging smile.

Peyton’s explanation is worrisome for Jonathan, he debates going to check on her. Delilah’s look catches his attention and is met with a slow nod from Jonathan. All good. He then looks at the tile in his hand and moves to find a seat. Might as well do what he was here for.

It is good that Peyton makes her announcement when she does, because Geneva’s questioning gaze had gotten stuck on the most obviously powered person in the room: Seren. It is not distrust, nor it is even necessarily hostile; mostly it is just the overwhelming urge to simply figure out what had happened. But then the real answer is given and she appears to be more or less placated, turning right back around towards the two other Lighthouse girls in response to Hailey's yell, after glancing at Weasel to see if she will follow.

"Oh, no," she says with a rise of a snicker as she approaches Brynn and Hailey where she originally had left them, snagging an extremely generous deck of cookies from the refreshment table as she passes it without once pausing.

The spilled black paint is the first thing she takes in of the scene: the cookies go off to one side and she bends to help the duo clean it up, freely signing in between her movements. She has not yet paid attention to Brynn’s questionable choice of artwork. You guys both okay? That was a trip.

“It has been a while,” Jim says as Luther comes over to his table, though his smile makes it clear he’s not upset about it, just curious. “How’ve you been? I feel like I ought to give you a better greeting after that one.” He tilts his head to indicate Carl — probably because of the hug — but he does not end up actually hugging Luther. At least for the moment.

Instead, he continues to paint, washing his brush and dipping it in the red this time. He starts to paint triangles pointing the opposite way as the black ones, in a circle as well, so that they look a little bit like multi-colored diamonds. It’s then that Peyton gives her explanation, and his shoulders do relax just a little bit, the tension they’d been holding when he thought it might have been him fading a little bit. He does watch her for a few seconds, a little bit of sympathy in his expression, but he doesn’t disturb her for now.

After the explanation comes out about the ability mishap, Seren smiles back at the kids who had been crowding around them. "See? All fine now." They wave when the children head off, getting ready to stand when Jonah wanders over. They watch him reach out for the small, smooth dragon, carefully monitoring the interaction. "He's real enough," they reply in a whisper themselves. "That's Bubba, he's a friend of Carl's."

They chuckle as they watch said Carl dart all around the event, full of energy and excitement. When they see the small blonde curled around Kaylee, they lifts their fingers in a wave that might go unnoticed. No matter. There was so much going on, after all!

Another blackened, sooty breath is breathed away from 'Bubba's' snout in a flare while it shifts back and forth. It may not want to be petted!

Jonah jumps at the sooty breath and puts his hands behind him, his eyes wide and his own breath coming out in a little shaky laugh. “Did you make him? Can you make dinosaurs?” he whispers.

Aware that various folks are checking on her, at least visibly, Peyton smiles tiredly, moving around the room to monitor the tiles, commenting on a few of her students’ work as they paint. “That’s an amazing butterfly,” she tells one little girl. “That looks just like you!” she tells another working on a self portrait. Somehow she’s gotten herself back together enough, pushing back the worries and questions for another time.

Perhaps it’s the stress of the few strange seconds. Perhaps it’s because the painting of those triangles has put his mind in a bit of a trance, but when Jim looks up at the window, the clouds drifting by look like animal faces. A rabbit. A deer. And suddenly these begin to shift, darken, and become something altogether different, something only he can see.

The roar of the crowd is deafening. It’s a crowd that wants blood. Demands pain. “Kill her! Kill her! Kill her!” someone begins to chant, and others take it up until it’s merely a sound, a rhythm, a primitive drum beat with no meaning behind it. It’s a dizzying view upward, as if someone’s lying flat on their back, the coppery taste of blood in their mouth and the warm sting of blood in their eyes. Above, cartoonish faces glower down; grotesquely rounded features of rabbits and bears in pastel colors find a stark contrast in the blacks and deep blues of the bodies below them. The ground below feels gritty, cutting into already battered flesh.

Silas has moved onward, still sipping his coffee; he's spotted someone he's pretty sure is Elisabeth and is zeroing in on her when he hears someone starting to speak. He glances around behind him, to the woman addressing the crowd… and nearly does a spit-take.

Valentine?! Is that fucking Valentine?!

He shouldn't be that surprised, really. The Safe Zone is what is left of New York, just as the Pelago was what was left of New York in his own world; it makes sense, in a way, that people in that New York would also be in this New York. But that's all intellectual; on the more immediate level is the fact that he jumped sideways across time and possibility and this is like the sixth familiar face he's picked up on. It shouldn't be shocking, but… it really is. And then there's the sheer shock that comes out of seeing Valentine here. He'd known her, of course; he'd not been close with her, though, aside from a time or two. But seeing her here is just…

Everyone has dreams. What was it you dreamed of, before the Flood? Silas thinks to himself, and can't help but grimace; he swiftly moves on. At least Valentine's explanation clears up the question of what had just happened. Maybe he'll go say hello later, introduce himself; she seemed like she was pretty embarrassed by the whole mess. He shakes his head, moving towards Elisabeth. "Hey there," he calls out to her. "You having as much fun as I am?"

Elisabeth keeps a watchful eye on Peyton to make sure the other woman is well enough to manage to stay on her feet and what have you. She feels guilty about surprising her so badly. Making her way through the crowds, she is stopped by Silas and offers a bit of a smile. "Well hey there," she greets. "Fun is… maybe not exactly the word I'd use, but hey… settling in where I can. Aurora's…" She turns her head, seeking the little one immediately, and then smiles to see her sitting at the table with a paintbrush. "Apparently painting with her cousins." That's a good thing!

Turning her attention back to him, she asks, "How're you getting situated? I know it's strange." Elisabeth has been in his shoes, after all. "I'm really glad to see you get out here and do stuff like this — it's a good way to meet people." She points out a few. "The lady running this shindig is Peyton Whitney. She runs the school." Because Peyton's face is perhaps familiar to some people who lived in Flood!

The colors blur together a little bit, possibly intentional, possibly because Silvia’s having trouble fully concentrating. The otters take more form: now they look more like if you saw otters swimming below the surface of the water. Around them, brush strokes of blue, green, and white merge together, swirling like the water around them. Pink is sprinkled in, just touched here and there like some kind of setting sun might be reflected in the water. Silvia frowns. Maybe the pink was too much. Too late now. She rises to her feet, holding the tile carefully so as not to smudge the paint.

“Um, does anyone know where to put these?” She asks no one in particular.

As Jim paints and speaks to Luther, he happens to look up at that window. It was meant to be a glance — but after the first second or two, his eyes unfocus, and he just stares at the window, unblinking. His mouth opens just slightly, the hand with the paintbrush going slack against the table. Some of the paint that had been so painstakingly applied just a moment before smears red across the black, marring those little perfect triangles.

He just stares. And stares. No movement, no response. A minute passes.

Apparently they're whispering the entire conversation now, but that's just fine. Seren grins at the question about dinosaurs, tilting their head slightly at the question, a knowing look in their eye. They lean forward and confess with a lifted brow, "Can make anything you can imagine. Lately, just a lot of friends, like Baird and Bubba. But when my imagination gets going, anything is possible. You just have to believe it, and it can happen."

Then, they settle back onto their heels, waiting for Jonah's next flurry of questions. But first they have one in return: "What kind of dinosaur is your favorite?"

"I can show you!" Silvia's question to nobody in particular gets a chirp from her side. "You're really good like Brynn, huh?" Walter has his own tile in hands still tacky from drying paint, eyes on the teenager's tile. His mostly looks like a wolf. Dog. Animal. Paint is harder than he thought, but he seems fine with that. "Come on, there's a sheet over here! !" The young boy so keen on helping starts a few steps and looks back to make sure Silvia follows.

Delilah watches from the corner of her eye before turning to finish her own. A reach for a tiny lid of white draws her attention across the table; she blinks once over at Jim, who seems to be… Spacing out. "Mister Clark? You alright?" not another? Nobody else looks like they did earlier.

Walter moving to help Silvia draws a pleased smile from Peyton, who was about to answer, but she lets one of the little assistants help instead. The fewer people she needs to speak to at the moment, the better. Silas’ look in her direction earns a small, uncertain smile — she’s used to people recognizing her, but she just caused minor chaos in a place she’s created for people to feel safe. The confidence that the young dean and founder of the school had earlier in the day has faded a bit. She moves to one of her staffers, murmuring something in the man’s ear, before she takes the steps that lead up to a mezzanine and the offices above the lobby.

Those who know Jonah know that the question posed by Seren is a complicated question and liable to change not only day to day but hour to hour. Jonah tips his head, looking at Bubba as if the little dragon might know his answer today, before Jonah says, bouncing on the balls of his feet with a little burst of seven-year-old’s energy, “Therizinosaurus!”

Silas grins at Elisabeth's mention of Aurora; following her gaze, sure enough, he spies her. She's busy with her paint and tile; the sight is enough to make Silas grin even more broadly. "She's a good kid," he says… then glances at Lis out of the corner of his eye, his eyes twinkling with sly amusement. "'Course, you already knew that," he chuckles.

He hesitates at her next question. "As well as can be expected. Sunshine and I are tryin' to go in on a floating dinner-theatre type place. Gotta get a boat first, though," he sighs. "But… yeah, I'm trying to get out and meet and greet as much as I can. Spread the word so that once we actually launch," he says, 'if we actually launch' going unsaid, "we'll be able to draw enough business to maybe turn a profit. Anyone in particular you'd suggest making it a point to talk to?" he asks.

As she points to Valentine, Silas frowns thoughtfully. Peyton Whitney… so that's Valentine's name, he muses, committing it to memory. He frowns as Peyton starts to move; looks like she's either got business to deal with, or is looking to hide her head for awhile… not that he can blame her. Maybe I'll get a chance to chat with her later. That'll be… interesting, he muses. The fact that she's managed to found this place is actually kinda inspiring; she's managed to catch her dreams, so maybe he'll be able to reach his own.

Hailey can’t help but notice the frozen man and his triangle tile as she’s cleaning up. “Hey Mister, you okay?” Wads of black paper towel are piled into a small mountain and when they’re finally done, she picks up a paintbrush with her black hands and dips it back into the yellow. Giving Brynn a quick elbow, she nods in Jim’s direction, calling a bit more attention to him.

Walter gets a warm smile from Silvia as Brynn is mentioned. She trucks after him to go put her tile down. “Yeah, I guess so. We have very different styles though. I mostly draw comics so painting is a little weird to me. So I kind of did something a little out of my element… sort of blendy and not with any really harsh lines.” She peeks over at the redhead’s tile. “I think you did pretty well yourself. Got some training going on there?”

Seren blinks hard, eyes dramatically wide after Jonah makes his proclamation. What a mouthful of a dinosaur name. "I've never even heard of that one!" they exclaim incredulously, and it's not untrue. Baird adjusts its seat on their shoulder, leaning forward curiously like proximity might help it better understand what in the world a Therizia… erm… whatever that sort of dinosaur is.

Its neon orange, whiskerless face twinges as it paws forward at Jonah, almost losing its seating before it wriggles to regain its balance. Seren chuckles. "Baird doesn't know either." is said a little more quietly, closer to the whispery tones they'd been conversing with previously. "That sounds like a really specific one! You know your stuff, kiddo."

It is Geneva who catches Hailey's gesticulation first, crouched next to Brynn as she is to mop up some of the last vestiges of wayward paint. Black-gooped rag in hand, she peers off in the direction being indicated, straightening and turning around in order to do so. "Do you think he's still being fucked with by that girl's ability?" she wonders aloud, forgetting to sign this as she stares towards Jim.

Clearly this means it's time to go investigate!!! She tosses her used rag down (which lands only just short of her stack of napkin-enfolded cookies), swiftly marching across the lobby once more until she has reached the spot where the apparently inert man is posed.

And then, she reaches out a forefinger to give Jim a good prod right in the center of his chest, as though he were a sideshow attraction.


Luther exhales an indulgent sigh as Carl squirrels off to the more flashy fantasy creature section. He doesn't even try to tell the kid to watch where he's running. He follows the Sumter kid's path in the crowd until he spots Kaylee comforting another young child. A small smile of relief crosses his features.

Peyton's address fades Luther's smile by a few degrees, replaced with concern. As she seeks to dismiss it, though, he too files it away. Just a glitch. Nothing to be afraid of. Which allows him to settle and set down his blank tile and refreshments beside Jim. It's clear enough to the medical eye that Luther is still moving somewhat stiffly, slow and deliberate to avoid painful sore spots. "Oh, been away, you know. Needing a vacation from a vacation sort of thing," he answers the other man. "Good to be back though."

Or is it? When Jim goes still and vacant in expression as he looks out the window, Luther recognizes that thousand-yard stare. "Jim?" he adds to the mix of voices asking the other man if he's alright. And then Geneva's remark and following physical prodding draws a sharp look from Luther. "Hey, don't touch him," he growls out.

Jim continues to stare out the window, Delilah’s words, Hailey’s words, and Luther’s words failing to register. Even the poke doesn’t so much to rouse him, until a few seconds later when he cries out, “No! Don’t…

Suddenly, he moves, his hand flinging back and knocking over the bottle of red paint that was next to him. “Oh, shoot,” he says, this time in a normal voice — sort of. There’s a strange pallor to his face, and a second later he stops reaching for the bottle to pick it up, his hand moving to press against his forehead as he winces. He sags against the table with his head propped against his hand, gritting his teeth against what’s obviously pain.

It takes time, but Aurora won’t have to wait long before her cousin comes darting back over. A donut clutched in each hand, wrapped in napkins. There is a bright smile of triumph as he wiggles into his chair and sets the donut next to her. “I got you one with pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles.” He says it like it is the greatest find of all time. “You like rainbows right?” He heard it right? He looks to his mom, but she’s busy trying to make the flowers on her tile not like… well, crappy.

An artist, Kaylee is not.

The shout from Jim, pulls mother and son’s attention. Of course, the first thing she sees is Luther. There is a blink. “Oh yeah!” Carl says suddenly, tugging her shirt sleeve and pointing. “Mr. Bellamy is back.”

The telepath can see that and there is a huge sense of relief to actually see him up and about. A small smile tugs into an amused smile at the look of him though. “Yeah, I see that, sweetie.” The woman pulls her attention from the man, not drawing attention to herself, and focuses on her son and his new cousin instead. Carl is in the process of picking up a brush and slapping more paint on his.

Brynn looks up because Geneva gets up to go poke the man across from her. She looks puzzled, since aside from the vision she has no idea what is happening. Hailey's elbow reinforces the look at Jim and Brynn's brows pull together worriedly. Hey, is he okay? Because if he's not, Aunt Kaylee is just over → There! And Delilah's around and others can help. Jim is someone she knows only in passing, so she doesn't presume to know what's wrong with him. And then he's moving again and Luther — who she doesn't know either — is standing there. And he's pretty big, so the petite teen just finishes cleaning up the mess and goes back to sitting in her chair with the small tile that has a colorful hummingbird taking shape.

Aurora kicks her feet in the chair, happily settled with a tile on which a rainbow is taking form, although she's watchful of everyone else. Her unease is only really visible in the way in which she sticks to Kaylee's side. Once Carl is back with donuts, she appears to be settled in for the duration. "Pink frosting?" He just made her whole week with a donut with pink frosting! And then Carl says 'Mr. Bellamy.' Perking up, the tiny little girl looks around and says, "Aunt Kaylee's Mister Bellamy?" And she smiles brightly. "It is!" Because she can see his voice mixing in with the others around them. Only… "Well, it's not Aunt Kaylee's Mister Bellamy, right?" She looks at Kaylee. "It's the other Aunt Kaylee's… no, that's not right either." She sighs. "Nevermind." Back to painting rainbows.

Elisabeth can't help a grin at Silas. "I do know that," she agrees. Of course, she's ridiculously biased. "I think it's a wonderful idea. If you want someone to talk to about theater things, head into Red Hook Market. Raquelle runs a day spa down there, and he is absolutely phenomenal about theater stuff. And I would bet he'd know the best places such a thing might work. Funding… well, that could be more dicey." After all, this world is better off than the one they just came from, but it's still recovering.

"Whoa, Jim." Delilah startles a little when the man seems to finally snap out of whatever it was; a look goes between him and Luther, and then she abandons what she's doing to move around the table. "You look a little green there." She doesn't need to tell him that, but it serves as a bit of a subtle warning before her hand finds his shoulder to help steady him. "I don't know where the hell you were, but you're alright now." It isn't the first time she's seen someone go distant like that, though she has no idea why Jim did. Just that it was there.

"You draw comics?" Silvia immediately gets a wide-eyed stare from Walter after he's set his tile with the rest. Oh, yeah, she asked him a question- - "Heh, yeah, I practice a lot. I've got all kinds of stuff at home! Can I read some of your comics? Are they finished? I have a whole box full." Just for good measure, the boy mimes a large box. See? It's a huge box.

When nothing happens immediately after Geneva's first prodding, she is tempted to go in and try for a second— but then Jim suddenly becomes unstuck, yells out, and flings over a canister of red paint, splashing a trail that narrowly avoids missing her shoes. "Fuck," she curses more out of surprise than anything else, her eyes flashing up towards the previously-frozen man's face as she steps backwards.

"You okay, dude?" she asks the man who is obviously not, though the idea that Brynn had seems to occur to her at approximately the same time. "Hang on, I'll get some help."

"Kaylee!" Luckily this particular adopted aunt is not far away from where she is now, and she does not have to raise her voice much to reach where Kaylee and Aurora are located. This is accompanied by a wave towards them, though a somewhat more urgent one than the one she had given Kaylee in the beginning.

Telepathic (well, mental) problems require telepathic answers, right?

There’s a bit of unrest going on, but Silvia is already sure she’s got no part in it—she can’t do anything to help and fussing over things she can’t change has already gotten her nowhere. Instead, she focuses on the kid. Walter gets a warm smile. “Yeah, comics. I wrote a few. One about Lance and Joe and then I’ve got three more that I wrote in Spanish. Those are the finished ones, at least. I’m still working on more, but…” She peers at Walter. “If you ever want to learn Spanish, comics are the way to go. It’s easy to pick out what something means when you’ve got a comic explaining it.”

Jonah stares wide-eyed at Baird, happily oblivious to whatever his mother was talking about, the worry over feeling wooshy long gone. He smiles politely when Seren doesn’t know; clearly he’s used to this. “They aren’t very well known,” he says with a sigh, “because their fossils aren’t complete. But they have the longest claws of any animal ever. Like as tall as me, almost!” Some of this is addressed to Baird, before he looks away to talk to Seren instead.

Peyton reemerges up on the mezzanine, sunglasses pushed onto her head. She looks a little better as she stands at the railing, studying the painters below. Her head tips curiously as she notices the cluster of people checking on Jim, one of them Luther. She begins to make her way down the stairs, a little more gingerly than she might otherwise, hand carefully grasping the bannister — clearly she’s still feeling a bit frayed by whatever happened before she disappeared upstairs.

As people begin to finish their tiles, staff members move along the tables to collect any finished tiles, setting them on another table to dry before being collected by the art students to be brought over to the college’s art department to bake in the kiln.

Luther jerks back as Jim comes out of the vision, expecting the movement but not expecting the flying paints. “It’s alright,” he offers with a reach to right the toppled paint and stands again to make a bit more room. The call for Kaylee turns his attention momentarily, but he says instead to Geneva, “Grab a few napkins from the food table or somethin’, would ya?”

In the meantime, he leans over Jim and says more discreetly, “Let’s move over there, get some air and get you cleaned up.” He nods in the direction of a quieter corner by the windows.

Jim looks up when Delilah says his name, though his gaze is definitely still a little vague and unfocused. “I’m okay,” he says, though not quite like he’s sure he’s actually okay. He turns to Geneva then with another slightly vague nod, adding, “Just in the rabbits’ den.” Whatever that means. He doesn’t explain it. He doesn’t actually seem like he realizes what he’s said, either.

He does, however, smile just a little bit toward Walter and Brynn, to signify there’s nothing seriously wrong, just in case. He then stands when Luther suggests they move to a little quieter spot, but his movements look a little bit like he’s in actual, physical pain, not just his head. As though he’s gotten some bruises or cuts since sitting down, somehow. Probably not literal ones, though.

"I know a little bit of Italian… not Spanish though." Walter admits, sheepishly, but he grins up at Silvia anyway. "Maybe I could! Do Lance and Joe know you made a comic about'em? I hope its about good things. I know they get in trouble sometimes…" As soon as he asks this, however, he seems to notice the ruckus around Jim from afar, angling his head to look. What happened? At least it seems he's alright?

"If you say so." A hand remains on Jim's shoulder until Luther appears ready to get him some space. Delilah gives the taller man a short smile of gratitude past Jim's shoulders, looking after them as they move off. Her concerned look is centered more on the aching man, of course. Whatever that was, he'll come down from it.

Until that moment, Kaylee had forgotten that the little girl had been around another version of herself. The reaction is almost instant as the color first drains from her face and then flushes red. Oh lord!

Luckily, she is saved from answering in anyway, by the call of her name. Kaylee turns to look at Geneva who waves for her to come over. Noticing the commotion over there, she decides it won’t hurt to have a look. Luther is given a small, shy smile… still recovering from the weird question, for the moment it’s hard to look at him. Instead she focuses on the one that called her over. “What’s up?” she asks looking at the others.

Carl for his part…. Well, he looks really confused, staring at Aurora. Whatever she was saying… it didn’t register. “What?” He looks at his retreating mom and Mr.Bellamy and then back at the little girl. “He’s my friend…” He paints a few lines and adds.. “Oh! and mommy’s friend, too. That’s all.”

Silas grunts. "Ain't that the truth. Even with the…" he pauses for a moment, expression flattening, "…resettlement funds, a boat — especially one big enough for what she wants — isn't cheap. I think she's planning to hit up Richard as an investor," he says, raising a hand to rub at his brow; honestly he's not really that thrilled about it. Nothing against Richard, but if the two of them are going to have a silent partner, he's gonna need to be very particular on the negotiations to make sure he's got a way out of anything he gets into.

He frowns thoughtfully as Lis mentions Raquelle. "Raquelle, huh? I'll have to keep that in mind," he says, nodding slowly. "Sunshine's handling the theatre end of it, but no reason I can't at least drop by." He grins at Lis. "I'm trying to meet and greet as many people as I can. Get a network together, so if I need something I'll be able to get it taken care of." He pauses, then lets out a sharp exhalation that's not quite a laugh. "Since I can't just go out and salvage whatever I need anymore," he says wryly.

"Anyway, speaking of which. I saw a few other familiar faces out and about; I should probably get back to the meeting and greeting bit. But first!" He finishes off the rest of his coffee in one long drink, then transfers the empty cup to the hand already holding the tile and brush. He raises his empty hand and flicks his wrist… and suddenly there's a card in his hand. He grins. "Found a printer who'd do these for cheap, figured I'd pass some around." He extends the card to Elisabeth; it reads 'J. Silas Dantes' in a large copperplate font, with a phone number underneath. "I feel like a little bit of a blowhard with these things, but… if it helps to get word out, it's worth it," he says with a shrug; his grin looks a bit sheepish. "Hang on to it if you want, or pass it on if you find someone you think could use it," he says with a chuckle. Though I don't know what anyone would use it for at this point, he thinks, but does not say.

He spots Peyton making her re-emergence onto the scene, and his expression brightens. "Looks like the dean's back; I better at least say hi. Good to see ya, Elisabeth!" he grins.

Aurora eyes Aunt Kaylee and then just shrugs a little bit to Carl. Telling him 'Other Aunt Kaylee loved Mister Bellamy' would be mean cuz Mister Bellamy isn't Carl's daddy. She shoves a bite of donut in her mouth and works on her rainbow. A glance toward the minor commotion is made, but it doesn't interest her in the slightest now that Aunt Kaylee says it's safe here. "Mister Bellamy is fire truck-colored. I like it when he talks."

Elisabeth's gaze is drawn toward the hollering for Aunt Kaylee, watchful and instantly on alert. Silas has seen it in her before, the way she's verifying that there's nothing about to go to hell in a handbasket. Just as quickly, the severe look is gone and she smiles at him again. The card is taken and a brow quirks. "I like it," she tells him enthusiastically. Her blue eyes flicker to him thoughtfully and then she nods. "You know where to find me if you need anything, Silas. I'm really glad to see you." Maybe it's foolish, but keeping her People — the ones she ripped through space to this world — safe is a priority.

Brynn shoots a grin toward Silvia as she spots the other girl, waving slightly. Then she frowns at Hailey. What's going on? Is he okay? Jim is watched worriedly, but as soon as she sees Aunt Kaylee heading toward them, everything is fine.

Luther's directive to retrieve some napkins from the refreshment table goes indiscreetly ignored by Geneva. She has had more than her fill of cleaning up spilled paint tonight, as evidenced by her subtly black-streaked hands. Instead, she turns to Kaylee when the older woman arrives, gesturing casually over at Jim. "This dude just went through some kind of… I don't know, mental attack? Vision? He's going on about a rabbits' den or some shit, I wanted to make sure he's okay."

If anybody is likely to know how to deal with this kind of insanity, it would be Aunt Kaylee. Or more likely Eve, but she's not here.

“Italian is a little bit like Spanish. Some of the words have similar roots. If I only spoke Spanish and someone only spoke Italian we could probably roughly communicate,” Silvia says as she looks at Walter and then grins. “Yeah, Lance and Joe know about the comic. Joe’s a good friend of mine, he gave me the idea, really. The comic I wrote is kind of about a funny situation and then they save the day. I plan on making more of that, too, I just need to follow them around until Joe gets them into trouble somehow.” She smirks.

Catching Brynn’s gaze and small wave, Silvia waves back, taking a moment to glance about as to in general how people are handling things. “So long as no one suddenly has a duplicate of themselves or something appear, we’re probably pretty good.”

Through all of the chaos, Weasel quietly watches, painting her tile in the process. She has always had difficulties being overly social, especially in crowded scenes like this, so she’s simply tucked herself into a corner where nobody is likely to come close. It’s much easier to watch when you’re just part of the scenery — people don’t notice you as much. Occasionally, she reaches into her pocket to pet the little creature hiding there, but mostly she just plays silent observer.

Little did Seren know they were in the presence of a fully-fledged dinosaur scholar! A much appreciative grin is forwarded in the scholar's direction. Baird is similarly thrilled to be included on the conversation, orange and red feathers along the back of its head flaring in a distracting display while it chirps, excitedly clicking at Jonah. Bubba remains thoroughly nonplussed at just about everything, ready to wander off and start a hoard and nest on it.

"That is super cool! You know your stuff." They glance up at the table afterward, looking remorseful. "You know, I should probably finish my tile, but I'd love to chat more dinosaurs. My name's Seren, maybe we'll see each other later." Seren strikes out their hand while Baird looks on with regal approval.

Seeing Peyton, one of the college students heads her way, wearing a collegiate sweatshirt so she’s easily identified. The two speak for a moment, Peyton nodding at the query. The younger woman heads over to the table of tiles, loading some of the completed and nearly-dry tiles into a tray before heading for the doors, presumably to go glaze and fire them.

That done, Peyton moves toward Jim and Luther, her brows drawn together with a little worry, before she catches sight of her son with Seren, Baird and Bubba. She looks on for a moment, paused in her path, before she continues onward toward Jim. Tugging out the bottle of pills she had stolen away to her office to retrieve, she offers it to the precognitive, along with an empathetic smile. “Looks like we’re both having a day,” she says wryly. “If you’d like to go lie down in the nurse’s — your — office, feel free.” Ironies.

Jonah takes the hand. “I’m Jonah. Ms. Whitney’s my mom,” he tells Seren proudly. “Let me know if you have any questions,” is said, very professionally, before he gives the creatures he’s not totally sure are imaginary a little wave. Just to be safe. He hurries off to go make more rounds.

Blonde brows lift at Geneva’s description of what was happening, there is a look in the direction he and Luther retreated. “Could have been Peyton again,” Kaylee observes. Speaking of, the telepath watches the school’s founder join the pair. While she was tempted to go over and check, she didn’t want to crowd poor Jim.

Instead, Kaylee goes quiet and blue eyes shift to look over at Luther and a brow twitches upward. She almost seems to be waiting, until she looks back and asks, politely, “Hey, Geneva? Could you do me a favor, pretty please, and grab me some napkins from the refreshment table. Would be a shame to leave this mess.”

Meanwhile, over at the crafting tables, Carl looks up from his tile, which is pretty much complete, his hands and face smudged with paint. “Mommy likes when he talks, too… I don’t know. He has a rumbly voice I guess… but… Fire Truck-Red?” He climbs up on his knees on the chair and turns to squint at Mr. Bellamy in consideration… trying really hard to see what Aurora sees. “What do you mean?” Curious, head tilting to consider this young girl. “He looks normal to me?”

“If that's the case, then he was the only one still being affected. Everyone else seems done-zo." Geneva points out, quickly but decidedly taking in the rest of the people in the area at a glance. Nope, it’s just Jim. Where Luther had failed to affect her, though, Kaylee seems to have just the magic touch in the way she asks; the girl sighs, drawing herself up from a slouch and leaving in the direction of the refreshment table. It is not long before she is back, bearing a healthy-sized wad of napkins.

She still will not be the one cleaning up the mess, though.

Aurora looks at Carl in confusion. "Why wouldn't he look normal?" She sets her paintbrush down and turns around in her own chair to stare toward Luther, looking puzzled herself. And then she remembers — she forgets sometimes that other people don't see what she does. "When people talk, they talk in colors." She sounds matter-of-fact about it. "Mister Bellamy talks in red, Mummy always talks in this pretty blue color, but it's different when she sings. There's other colors in there." Her brow furrows a little. "Sometimes it's cuz she makes music while she sings." She shrugs. She still hasn't figured that one out. "Aunt Kaylee's a pretty yellow color, all light and sort of like butter. Daddy is really dark blue, like purple blue. Unca Felix is a pinky-orange color that's really primal. Ev'ybody has a little different colors. When it's loud, like here with lots of people, there's all kinda colors." She looks at Carl and grins. "You're all yellow too, but dark-ish, with orange mixed in. Like peaches."

Keeping an eye on the cleanup process, Brynn is also still working on her tile. It's small, so it's a painstaking process that she takes seriously. When she sets her paintbrush down, she tips her head slightly. And then grins. Hey Genie…. She waves to get her foster sister's attention, and then shows her the little hummingbird sitting in a dreamcatcher. To keep all your bad dreams away!

Elisabeth makes her way to Aurora and Carl, offering a smile to the boy and tipping her head to see what they're working on. "Nice job," she compliments.

When it appears that any excitement has died down, so does most of Walter's curiosity in the adults; he glances after his mother, who is moving to help mop up the paint, before returning his attention to Silvia. "You probably don't hafta wait very long for that. Joe likes trouble." Your mileage may vary, but to Walter it seems that way. The guys are always having crazy adventures and stuff, so, it's reasonable. "And maybe I can learn some words to read your comics!"

Delilah is trying to get other things out of the way of paint mess when Geneva comes back to deliver napkins to Kaylee; the redhead gives the latter a somewhat suffered look. "Seems like it's always something, innit?"

Jonah's professional farewell earns him a grin before Seren finally comes to their feet, knees aching and needing shaken out as they do. They look once, they look twice, and since it finally seems like no one else wants to crowd Baird they lean forward over the table and begin to take up brushes and paints in earnest. A stylized outline begins to appear, making no attempt for realism or anything like that. This is just for fun, after all!

Emily Epstein hadn't planned on really staying at the event for longer than it took to drop off a completed tile she'd painted when on campus earlier this week, but … then again, she wasn't expecting to see so many familiar faces here either. She finds herself pausing by the exit, and instead of heading up the stairwell, slowly moves through the auditorium. When Jonah runs past her, she gives him a faint smile, fingers lifting in the barest wave. Seemed like the kids were having fun, whether they were running around or playing adults.

It's lively, and hard to be down in such a group. I know I had my reasons at the time, and now I've got the internship, but I wish… Emily frowns to herself, wondering where Peyton is. Maybe she could say hello. She spots Jim first, by nature of his height, is relieved to find Peyton close enough by. She's already closing in on the table when her attention settles on the other nearby painters. Brynn. Her path diverts just a little, edging in her direction instead. She'll need to get close enough to say hello proper.

And then Geneva cycles back seemingly out of nowhere, right as Emily's approaching, and Brynn waves for her. The all-too-thin teenager freezes. She sees the subject of the tile.

From her position a few feet away, on the other side of the table, all Emily can do is look at Geneva with a raised brow.

Content to hand off the bunched napkins to Kaylee for the time being, Geneva twists in time to see a very solid mixture of things she had not wanted to see today: Brynn waving her over from the corner of her vision, pointing to a well-made, audaciously colorful design that appears suspiciously like a hummingbird, and… Emily.

The blonde's posture goes rigid instantly at seeing these in conjunction, and she steps forward in a slowly expanding flood of anger and disbelief. Her hands are limply at her sides and she is not signing, but her adoptive sister will have no trouble discerning what is probably being said nonetheless. "…Brynn. What in the actual fuck, really?" Mood spilling over to everyone unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity, she shoots a dagger-filled look at the newly-arrived Emily, one that is touched only slightly by frosty surprise.

Things had been going so well, too.

Sort of.

In Silas's mind, at least, the group that had ventured to the Ark was a crew. They'd all embarked on a voyage together, and they'd all done their time in Kenner's underwater hellhole; though they'd parted ways, they'd still been crew, and the only bond that trumped that was family. It's a little gratifying to see that he's not the only one that feels that way.

But for now, he needs to track down the dean. He grins and gives Elisabeth a parting nod as he slips away; luckily it doesn't take him long to catch sight of Peyton. He grins and starts towards her. "Excuse me," he says politely.

Turning away from Jim when she sees someone heading her way, Peyton steps aside, to give the psychic more space. For an instant, there’s a moment where Peyton’s expression has a look of uncertainty — one she doesn’t usually have with the children or younger people she works with, but one that comes from seeing someone she doesn’t know, hasn’t seen before. Unknown entities. But it comes with working in the public eye, and a second later, that uncertainty is covered up by the professional mask she often wears — today it’s a little worn around the edges, after the earlier snafu.

“Hello. Thank you so much for coming,” she says to Silas, polite smile seeming sincere enough, if a bit strained from having to stay standing in the face of the migraine she’s trying to hide beneath it. “You’re not with the media, I hope.” This is said a little wryly.

“I’m Silvia. And I’ll be certain to get you some of my comics… I’m always looking to get the word out about my comics… I’m sort of hoping that they’ll catch on and it’ll get me somewhere. Like a job or something.” Silvia smiles down at Walter—having some younger fans certainly can’t hurt. “Joe certainly does like getting into trouble, that’s for sure. I think I’ve had enough trouble for a while though. Maybe I’ll make comics about otters for a while…”

She pauses. “Ah! Wait, hold on…” She reaches into her satchel and fishes around for a moment before pulling out The Adventures of Lance and Joe #1. “Forgot I had a copy in there. That’s all yours… and don’t worry, there’s nothing in there that a parent might disapprove of.” She grins at him as she hands over the comic. “Just be sure to tell all your friends that Silvia Ruiz is a pretty primal artist.”

The little blonde has the full attention of Carl as she explains her ability. He looks totally and utterly confused, but there is no judgement over her odd quirk. Through all that confusion there is a sort of fascination with what Aurora is saying. “So…” he starts when she’s done. “When I am speaking right now… like right now… you see color coming out of my mouth? Like?” His hands start at his mouth and shoot out and spread, fingers wiggle for effect.

When the hands drop again Carl gives her a bright smile, “That’s pretty cool. Is that like your thing? Your ‘bility? I bet the world is pretty all the time. I’d just sit and watch people talk all day, if it was mine. No wonder you like rainbows.” And he’s off… ”Mommy says I’ll be like her one day… well, not like her, but I’ll do something special. I don’t want to be like her. Tel-ella-pathy,” he stumbles over the word, but he doesn’t let it stop him or faze him, “It doesn’t look fun. My dad makes people see the future, but that’s not fun either… and Mr. Bellamy is just warm all the time… Boooring.” Oh, how little does he know. “I want something really cool like my Uncle Warren. He can make really cool robots. Mommy’s work has a raptor that greets people.” His smile falters a little, “Mommy says Uncle Warren’s ‘bility makes him crazy though. I don’t know. He seems normal to me. And my Aunt Valerie can act like a ghost, that is really cool, too. She is in a wheelchair, but she can go everywhere as a ghost.”

Whatever else he might say trails off at the approach of Liz, someone his mom pointed out to him as Aurora’s mom. “Hi! I’m Carl.” He holds his hand out to Elisabeth. It might be smudged all over with paint.

Brynn quirks an eyebrow at Geneva, carefully sets her tile on the paper at the end of the table where the finished ones await a staffer to take to the kiln, and then signs for her sister. A hummingbird is a beautiful image of strength and tenacity in the face of a short life. It's a symbol of your strength wrapped up in a dreamcatcher to take the fear from the image. You nearly died. But you didn't. So own it. There's a sense of a quiet dignity to the response, and the deaf teen gets up from her place and heads toward the doors to leave, a brief wave and smile toward Aunt Kaylee and toward Delilah.

Aurora replies candidly, "No, it's not my 'bility. Mummy says there's no way to know what that is til it happens. But it might be sounds — my mummy an' my nana do sounds. And Squeaks does sounds too, and maybe I'll be like them." She'd love to be like Squeaks! "But Daddy turns into shadows. It's primal! I think I would like that. I don't think I wanna run fast like Unca Felix, though — he said he always hadda do extra stuff cuz he got stuff done too fast at work!" That doesn't sound fun at all! Carl's hand gestures make her giggle. "That makes it look like you're urping rainbows," she informs him, laughing.

Elisabeth chuckles quietly as she catches up on the conversation there. She shakes Carl's hand solemnly, ignoring any paint spatter. She's wash-and-wear. "Hello, Carl. I'm…" She pauses, having never had to introduce herself as someone's aunt … Harmony had taken care of the twins' introduction with 'fairy godmother' and telling them to call her 'Mom' as well. It had made her cry. "Well, I guess I'm your aunt. Liz or Elisabeth, you can use either one. It's very nice to meet you finally."

Silas snickers at Peyton's question, eyes twinkling with amusement. "Oh good God no," he chuckles. "No; I'm just new in town and thought I'd introduce myself. Silas Dantes," he pronounces, producing a business card and offering it to Peyton. "I've actually got plans in the works for a new dinner-theatre type business; I figured we should probably get the word out where we could. Normally it'd probably be my partner handling this end of it, but… she's got scheduling conflicts, so it's me."

"Anyway! Elisabeth suggested I say hi. So! Hi," he chuckles. "Lovely place you've got here; it's been quite an enjoyable afternoon so far," he says, giving his most reassuring smile. He deliberately makes no mention of the incident earlier; he imagines that's probably weighing on her enough.

At this, all the irritation in Geneva that had previously been building simply deflates out of her. There is no arguing with the sort of logic that Brynn had used— not when it had been articulated quite so well. It is clear she had instinctively thought the original intention was to mock; now that she realises that this is not the case, a new look develops deep in her eyes as she thinks about what had been said.

And then she lifts up her hands to sign back in return. Now, however, there is also the smallest sense of sprouting determination as well. Surprised appreciation has replaced anger. Well, okay, since you put it that way. You're really something else, Brynn. And you're totally right. Another deflective pause, and there is a tiny grin as she watches Brynn's departing back.

Finally, she has an idea for her own tile.

"It's okay, I can handle it even if there was!" Walter insists to Silvia as she gives him a copy of her first issue. He grins ear to ear up at her. "I'm Walter. Is Ms. Lynette your mom? She's cool. I like Benchmark and visiting my grandpa and she always lets me help pick records out." He holds up the comic book and then tucks it flat against his chest, kind of protective of it now. "It's really mine? That means I can take it to school?" Silvia may have some younger fans in no time at all.

Accompanying Jim to a quieter corner, Luther stands watch over the other man as he recovers from what had suddenly affected Jim. He bobs his head in a short greeting to Peyton, but keeps his questions about that ability glitch earlier to himself. It happens.

While she offers some meds to alleviate pain, he casts a short scan of their surroundings, and Luther catches that brief but notable look from Kaylee. Angled brows arch and he nods once to answer an unspoken question.

Once he's turned back to Jim, Luther asks with concern, "You alright? Good to go back to class, or the paint fumes getting to you?" Okay, he's teasing a little bit of the nurse, but all good natured.

Brynn never ceases to surprise. Emily thinks to herself, her shoulders sinking from their gathered tension. She continues to stand off while she reads the signs from that distance, only approaching the table after the deaf teen has made her exit. It felt right to say hello, but she's not sure what words will break the ice. So, in a sense, no words are used at all.

You all right? The signs are made regardless of if Geneva looks up to see them. I saw that going a whole different way there for a second.

Jim sits down with his head in his hands for a few moments, though he does look up at Peyton’s words. There’s a little smile as he takes the pills — he totally did it before she walked away, don’t let the poses in between fool you. He pops a couple without even using any water; he must do this a lot.

He leans back with a little sigh, his eyes only half-open as he looks to Luther. A little huff escapes him at the joke, but he admits, “I might need a break, yeah. I’ll be fine if I lie down for a bit.” He stands up then, steadying himself on the back of the chair as he readies himself for the walk to his office.

Once Kaylee has gotten that confirmation, the telepath physically relaxes. “He’s fine,” she finally offers to those wondering, before moving to use the napkins handed her to help clean up the mess. Giving Delilah a grin at her comment, “So is life in the Safe Zone.” Going quiet then to work on the mess.

“I’m glad I got to meet you too, Aunt Liz” Carl looks at the little girl painting next to him and adds, “and Aurora, too. I was worried, cause she’s another girl.” He’s surrounded by them after all, “But she’s neat. I like her. She’s good.” As if he had a choice in the matter. He picks up his tile careful not to smudge it. “I better go put this on the turn in table.” But first…

“Mommy!” Carl hurries off without even a goodbye. Kaylee straightens from where she is working and turns to see her son beaming at her and holding up his tile. “I finished it! You need to finish yours now!”

The telepath looks past him to the table and chuckles. “Okay, let me get done here.” With that, Carl is off again, showing anyone who wants to look at it, before he puts it on the table.

At the back of the room, Jonathan sits quietly painting and watching the activity in the room. There is a mix of not just amusement, but also pride in his expression, for what Peyton has created there and the environment that the school has brought to the Safe Zone.

“Well, thank you for introducing yourself to me,” Peyton says to Silas, taking the card and offering her hand to shake. “And thank you for coming. I’m Peyton Whitney, but you probably already figured that out.” At the mention of Liz, she glances that way, seeing the woman and the little girl and tipping her head, putting two and two together. Her brows lift, but she looks back to Silas and smiles again.

“Opening any business is quite an undertaking. This is my third, I suppose,” she says with a gesture to the school around her. “I do wish you luck in your venture. I’d offer to help but most of my assets are tied up in the schools. This one is mostly operating on a hope and a prayer and a lot of charitable donations so far. But it’s worth it, of course.” There’s a nod to the children, a quick glance to Jonah to make sure he’s nearby — especially since at the moment she can’t cheat and check on him “remotely.”

“Still, feel free to call if you have a question and if I can’t help, I can probably put you in touch with someone who can. It looks like you have good company…” she’s very curious about how he knows Liz, but doesn’t ask, “and Liz can probably help put you in touch with good people.”

One of the smaller children over by the refreshment table suddenly sends a platter of cookies to the floor with a clatter, and Peyton offers Silas a tired smile. “I better go restore order in the chaos,” she says, slipping off in that direction to clean up the mess and redirect the child to a parent or older sibling’s care.

Silvia smiles a rather fond smile. “Yeah, Ms. Lynette is definitely my mom.” She seems very interested in hearing of Walter’s experiences, nodding a bit. “She’s pretty great.” Her gaze shifts to the comic book, then back to Walter. “It’s all yours. You can show it off to whomever you like. I’ll see if I can print you out some copies of my other stuff. It’s a pretty cool story even if you can’t read Spanish.” She takes a quick glance around the room. “I have to say these tiles were pretty fun. I’ll have to show my mom what I did sometime. I think she’d like it. And probably cry. Parents do that.” She gives a sly wink to Walter.

Silas accepts the extended hand, giving it a firm shake. His eyebrows rise at her talk of this being her third business; he's impressed. One is proving quite the undertaking so far. "Much obliged," is his response to her offer, and then she's off; he shakes his head, bemused, as he considers how different things are here. That just means that you've got a chance to rise above what you were, too, he thinks, and his grin broadens. Good luck to you, Peyton Whitney. And good luck to me, too.

His smile shifts to a frown, though, as he eyes the tile still in his other hand — and still unpainted. Better get this thing done already, he thinks to himself, setting a course for the art supplies. Again.

Geneva notices the signs alright; after Brynn leaves, Emily inevitably becomes the next target in her crosshairs due to the sheer unexpectedness of her appearance. She eyes the other girl's hands and then face for a moment without saying anything. "Yeah, I'm fine," she finally says, her tone unexpectedly neutral as she unpalms the blank tile she had forgotten she had been carrying. "Didn't expect to see you here. You can talk normally, you know." Gene may have a plethora of faults, but being hard of hearing is not one of them.

"Didn't know if you'd want to." Emily admits, looking off further down the table in a fit of embarrassment. "Wasn't sure if…" she starts to add, then her brow knits together rapidly as she sees someone else approach the table. A face familiar and alarming both. Emily snaps her attention back to Geneva, whispering, "Gene!" and glancing down that way indicatively. In an instant, her hands are moving again. Do you see that guy down there? She waits for just a moment, offering a second, more pointed glance if needed.

There's something fucked up about him. He was with some SESA agent when I was picking up pizza a few weeks ago — but the girl swore she wasn't who I thought she was. Said sorry, she was new from out of town. But I heard them talking. Her brow arches high, all earlier awkwardness forgotten in light of this urgently needing shared information.

She'd not been able to tell Joe, after all. Their conversation had broken down before that had happened.

She was like 'I fell back into old ways, trying to follow along and make things up' and stuff like that. He started talking about weird shit like 'nobody's recognized this face yet', and kept trying to use 'primal' like he'd never heard it before and was trying to fit in. But not like 'be hip' fit in. Like … Emily exhales a slow breath, not finishing that thought up. Not yet. She shakes her hands out to reset the conversation, like she's wiping the slate clean. And then they mentioned Raytech. And 'Jac.' Her eyes light up as she seizes onto an important, but unshared point. And, it turns out that SESA agent is actually dead. Died back in January. I didn't know until I started there this week. So…

Emily lets out a tone of skepticism, still not saying exactly what she thinks they might be, but makes a quick sign of, That's all pretty fucking weird, right?

"I mean, now that we're face to face, we’re talking any way you slice it," Geneva notes dryly, but she is distracted from this line of thought by Emily's urgent whisper. Though she looks mystified at first, her expression turns into one that is far sharper at the frantic hand movements accompanying the explanation, peering in the direction of the man she had literally bumped into near the supplies table earlier.

Jesus, you're like a magnet for all the fucked up shit. Someday you’ll tell me how you do it. Even with no voice to indicate a tone, there might as well be a grimacing sigh interlaced in the quick motions of her own response. Without another word, silent or otherwise, Gene proceeds to grab a small fistful of Emily's sleeve and hustles them both out of the crowded lobby before the so-called fucked up stranger can lay eyes on the two girls staring.

It seems her beautiful tile art shall just have to wait.

The college students take the completed tiles tray by tray away and eventually tile painting turns to tile llaying. By the end of the afternoon, the outside wall of the building is adorned with the tiles of the day’s labors. It’s a motley thing of bright colors and pastels and dark, somber shades. Children’s handiwork is prominent in clumsy, happy pictures of creatures real and imaginary and families and trees; more expert hands have created veritable works of art in miniature.

The word COMMUNITY has been spelled out as well by different artists in different shades and styles, a letter to each tile.

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