Nite Owl Rises Again


elisabeth2_icon.gif felix_icon.gif joe_icon.gif

Scene Title Nite Owl Rises Again
Synopsis New location, but some things never change.
Date May 21, 2019

Nite Owl Diner

The nostalgia factor for those who ever spent any time in the original Nite Owl diner is huge — And much like its predecessor, this Nite Owl makes fast, hot diner food and caters to the blue-collar types. Construction workers are here in the mornings for breakfast sandwiches, the lunch counter is often filled with military policemen. It feels sort of like old Manhattan in this place. The staff are friendly, and the coffee is never-ending. They might have some kind of underground deal going with Eleanor over in Red Hook, who — rumor has it — sold her soul to the devil to get a constant supply of actual GOOD coffee. It's nothing short of magic.

Just sliding into the booth that they're taking over, Elisabeth grins. "See? I told you. I thought Abby was kidding too until she brought me and Colette here."

Liz knows that look. Fel's looking for an excuse to be critical….and failing. Instead, it leaves him with a sort of air of pinched uncertainty. The scent of real, decent coffee has him lifting his nose and unashamedly sniffing the air, as he slips into a seat across from Liz. There's even the old, familiar creak of vinyl in the seats. "Goddamn," he sys, under his breath. "It's a real blast from the past, isn't it?" Looking around….no, let's be honest, casing the place. Just as he would've back in the day.

Joe has some vague memories of eating here a time or two with Brian. You know, before everything went to hell in a half a hand basket. It was a rocky trip to hell okay. He steps into the diner with a big smile on his face, head turning to look around himself, that big smile settling into something smaller, fonder. Good memories. He breathes in the scent of coffee and food and his smile blossoms into a full grin. He looks around for a place to sit and spots a Liz. He goes darting across the diner, possibly alarming a few patrons, and skids to a stop, actually skids to a stop at the table that Felix and Liz are at. You know, super smooth and casual like. That's Joe. "Hi Miss Liz!" He pauses a moment to glance over at Felix, eyes narrowing a bit. "Hi. I'm Joe." Introducing himself while he looms over their table. Well sort of looms. Joe isn't exactly tall. Or big.

"It really is," Elisabeth agrees. She's just settling — and it's saying something for her trust in Felix that she actually let him sit in the gunslinger's seat — when Joe appears in a whirlwind of words. She jumps a little, but hey… at least she didn't scream. A smile for Joe follows quickly, "Well hey there! Joe, this is Felix. He's my partner." Or… one of them. But it slipped off her tongue in the same way it did years ago, before she really even thought about it. The nostalgia, perhaps.

The gunslinger's seat, indeed. Luckily those reflexes assess and dismiss Joe as a threat in less than a heartbeat, without even a twitch towards the pistol at the back of his hip, as the kid comes in like he's trying a slide a home run in over the plate. "Hey there, fireball," A little upnod. "I'm Felix. Pleasedameetcha."

Joe's eyes widen when Liz introduces Joe to Felix as her partner. He ducks his eyes over to Felix, then back to Liz, then back and forth, the implication clear that Joe thinks she meant… partner partner. Isn't she with Richard? Maybe not anymore? It takes a moment before a light a light goes on behind his eyes and a big grin settles in place. "Oooooh. Partners not… partners. Got it. But Felix that sounds familiar… OH! The Felix. The speedster from Frontline right? I loved any news about Frontline back then, and looked up everything I could find about them once I got back to New York. You guys were primal. Totally primal. Almost like comic book super heroes. Running around in armor and taking down bad guys." The government might have been bad, but the police were not. At least in Joe's eyes. "Nice to meet you Mister Ivanov." Joe pauses to look around the diner again. "Brian brought me here. A couple times. They were good times. Well okay… better times. And I guess not even that but… yah know?" He asks, looking back to Liz and Felix. "Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt your meal. I mean yeah I totally did. Not that you have food yet but more sorry for being rude and interrupting your conversation. No that's not right either cuz I'm not sorry. Uhhhh….." Joe's eyes darting around as he tries to figure out how to phrase that.

Oh. My. God. The wall of words! Elisabeth's eyes get a little wider when he barely pauses for breath. She looks at Felix and mutters, "Dear God, it's like talking to you when you've had too much coffee." She is thoroughly amused. "You're not really interrupting, Joe," she tells the teen. "Please, have a seat. We are relearning how to socialize like regular people, so the more the merrier, I suppose." Besides… he's a kid. In this town. And he's one of Gillian's. And… he needs to eat. She needs to feed both of the fast-talkers in the booth.

It is….kind of like seeing a ghost of his teenage self, in a way. Though this one clearly has brains enough to avoid some of the fashion mistakes Felix fell into, in his misspent youth at NYU. The kid's hair isn't blue, for one, nor does he seem to have a tongue ring.

Instead, he gestures expansively towards the booth - lucky Joe gets to sit with Liz. "Plenty of room, siddown and have something to eat," he says. "And we were only beginning, so you're joining, not interrupting. Yeah, I was part of Frontline, back when." Famous for utterly destroying the first set of armor they tried on him.

"Meh. Screw socializing like regular people. We're not regular. You're both ex Frontline officers. One of you is a war veteran and the other…." Joe glances around them both before he takes a seat, settling in. "Is a reality hopper." Joe's grin is wide, but he at least has the good sense to whisper it to the table. "And me? I'm a bulletproof kid with way more combat training than a kid my age should have. Also I know like all of the cool people. We're not normal." He winks at Liz and Felix, his lips pulling into one of his wide grins. "Dude, the conversations we could carry on. You being a speedster and me being… me. I've been told I should have been born with super speed, not bulletproof. But I think bulletproof suits me pretty well too. But speed is a super Primal power. But then so is the ability to bring down buildings and stuff when you really wanna." Referencing Liz's power. Joe is actually dressed pretty simply. Jeans and a worn hoodie. Simple wear that doesn't attract attention. "That is so freaking cool. I wanted to join SCOUT but I got denied. Said I'm too young. Told them I could probably out shoot and out fight most of the officers they were going to end up with on the squad. Made the recruitment person who told me no look at me rather cross eyed." Joe smirks and gives his shoulders a quick shrug. "So how are you settling in now that you're back Miss Liz?"

As soon as the words reality hopper slip from his mouth, Elisabeth throws a silence field around their table. Two-way, not hiding that she's done it or being subtle about it. He's a Ferry kid. And she knew that some of the kids had been the reason that the fact she was alive was known. "Joe," she says quietly, "Please do not ever say that aloud where there is even a sliver of a possibility that you could be overheard? They will throw me in a black hole somewhere."

She rubs her forehead, glancing at Felix. If the kid had been born a speedster, he'd be stuck in the Speed Zone. Elisabeth is sure of it. Clearing her throat, she then asks, "How old are you?" Because she doesn't know what they're setting as the limit. Not that she… exactly thinks he's ready to be let loose on an unsuspecting public with a weapon. He might talk a perp to death and can you imagine the paperwork?

Fel's immediately gone pokerfaced at that….and now he's glancing around, subtly, in search of reactions. Seeing if anyone's giving the tells that means that info's going to end up where it shouldn't. "Loose lips sink ships, buddy," he admonishes, once he's satisfied that won't happen. "It's not about fighting and shooting. IT's about being police, Joe. You tried to get into the academy? I dunno if there's room left in the current class, but they'll be crankin' em through the next few years." Liz gets that look in return, and a fractional nod. Ho boy.

Joe looks confused as the sound from the rest of the diner cuts off. He looks around. "Lance?" He asks, glancing about, but when he doesn't see his lighthouse brother he looks back. "OH COOL! You can do what Lance does! THAT'S PRIMAL!" Joe is rather excited about that fact. "Hey do…" He pauses as she gets serious and speaks quietly despite the silence bubble. "Why are we whispering? And uhhh didn't you already go through a black hole? That seems kind of silly to try that aga-Oh you don't mean a black hole black hole. You mean like a government blacksite type deal. Yeah that'd be pretty dumb. Mister Shades would uhh… I mean… we both know what Card… Mister Ray would do to get you back so… yeah. That would be DUUUUMB of the government to try and disappear you. Like super monumentally stupid. But yeah I get it. Magnes told me to keep it hush hush cuz it's not supposed to be talked about. I called it though. I wasn't sure what reality you guys were in but when we saw the tape and the Demon in the Dark yelled at us in our heads through a 7 year old tape I knew there were shenanigans afoot."

Joe uhhhs softly at the question, as if he has to think about it a moment. "19. I'll be 20 in November. She said you have to be 21. I was hoping that my ability might get me the chance to like try out. Cuz then I could show them how good I'd be at it. But oh wells." Joe's shoulders bob upwards, though it's pretty clear, because he's not good at hiding his emotions, that he really did want to join. "Oh I know." Joe nods to Felix's words. "Protect and serve. Be the shield between the people and those that would do them harm. Brian taught us to fight to be protectors. Mostly. He taught us to fight because the adults aren't always around, and he needed more people that could help protect the other lighthouse kids. I want to put that training to use, protecting the people of New York." Joe's smile is an earnest one. "Also sorry. If I had known you couuld do silence bubbles I'd have totally suggested a silence bubble. I'll leave the world hopping alone. Mostly. But you gotta tell me… was pirate world cool? I mean I know Magnes said you guys lost people. SOrry you lost people. But… was it cool at least? Pirate world?" Joe's eyes dodge right and left. "Magnes only confirmed what I mostly already guessed and speculated. He said I like him wouldn't rest without finding someone to tell me one way or the other. I've been quiet about it. Haven't run around telling other people. Swear."

Elisabeth ahs at the age disclosure. And then she clears her throat. "Hold that thought and order your food." She waves the waitress who paused when she realized something a little peculiar was going on in that booth. When she's waved over, she looks wary. But she takes their orders efficiently and offers a small smile along with it, so…. brownie points to her! She gets a good tip for putting on her game face.

Elisabeth brings the field back up, and she says, "National security requirements keep me from being able to talk about things, Joe. But hypothetically? In a world full of water where people are crammed into the top half of skyscrapers and there's no land to grow food… I'm not sure I would consider it a cool place to be." She certainly didn't. But maybe she's an old stick-in-the-mud. "Magnes probably gave you all the high points of the trip," she adds, knowing her 'brother' well at this point.

She pulls the subject back to mundane things and avoids lecturing him about what is required of a cop. "So tell me what you think you might like to do until you're old enough to actually apply," Elisabeth invites. "I sincerely doubt we're going to have a full department in less than two years, so I imagine there will be plenty of time for you to make that a career later on if you decide you still want to."

Fel doesn't look annoyed. Far from it - he's giving Joe a thoughtful looking-over. "What kind of formal schooling do you have?" he asks. "Also, Liz's ability isn't the end-all, be-all. People can read lips, so don't depend on it for secrecy." He settles back, stretches his arm along the top of the booth. The waitress comes by, and Fel orders a BLT and a cup of coffee. Then he's back to Joe. "What kind of formal schooling do you have? And it may be hypocritical of me, but….being police is a lot more than fighting. If you just wanna fight, join the Army."

Joe sticks a hand in his pocket to see how much he has, when he's done the money gets stuff into the belly pocket of his hoody where he has easy access to it. He orders a double bacon cheeseburger with cheese fries and a milk shake. Someone has more money for eating than he realized. "That's going to kill my budget for eating out for the next week but it's worth it. SIt in here and eat, nostalgia and good company." Joe's head shakes a little bit. "Not yet. We were supposed to get together, he said he'd fill me in more. Cuz he said he knows that curiosity had to be burning. But I haven't seen him since right after he got back. Is he okay? Have you seen him lately? A bit worried about him honestly."

"I'm enrolled in college. So I'll be doing that. Need to find better steady work though. Do mostly odds and ends jobs where and when I can. I mean I am doing. Have a lot more time on my hands now that like half my friends are working for SESA." Joe looks over at Felix at the question of formal schooling. "You mean like high school and college? I have my GED and have done exactly one semester of college now. Or do you mean with the combat stuff? The combat stuff wasn't formal." Joe ohs, and huhs, thinking about that. "I guess some people can yeah. Read lips that is." He nods his head a couple times at Felix's point. As to the just fighting bit he makes a face, because he already covered the fact that he knows it's not just fighting. So Felix gets one of those eyerolls. The kind that young folks give older folks when they're not keeping up with a conversation.

"I dunno. I tend to think things are cool even when they're not." Joe remarks to Liz. "Like Geneva got trapped as a bird for a bit. She was pretty pissed at me when I thought it was cool. I mean apparently she almost died. And if she'd died that would have been awful. But she didn't die, and got to be a bird. How many people can say they got to be a bird? I thought it was pretty primal. She was ready to torch me. Well mostly my clothes. I mean not that I don't burn. It's just… not easy to burn me."

Long-unused skills at keeping up with an anxious Felix are definitely coming to the fore. It's not quite the same — the speedster is actually less verbose than this teen. But it's the same idea. Elisabeth breathes slowly in the hopes that proximity … and okay, yes, maybe a subtle touch of laced sound … might relax the kid into having a normal conversation instead of the marathon of words that erupts from him every time he opens his mouth.

"Magnes is fine," she soothes. "He just needs a little time. And put your money away. Dinner's on me." The kid is not paying for dinner. Not happening. A frown pulls her brows together as she tries to parse the whole story of his friend the bird while their drinks are delivered. "Steady work, huh? Well… I'd bet the construction teams are hiring for the summer," she offers the thought. "I have no idea if Raytech is, but you could check. What do you plan to study at college?"

And now there's another old entry from the Catalog of Felix Ivanov's Expressions. #2598 - Excuse Me, Ma'am, But You Won't Bet Getting Away With That. Arch of the brows, head canting down and to the side, lips pursing to suppress a smile. "No," he says, patiently, "Dinner's on *me*." Punctuated by a big grin. Fight me.

Then he looks right back at Joe. "Good. That, at least, you don't have to worry about." Liz asks the question he wanted the answer to, so he leaves it there for now.

"Uhhh are you sure? Cuz I ordered a lot. That's gonna be like 20 bux easy for all that." Joe glances to Felix, then back to Liz with a curious look. But he does tip his head. "Good. I was worried about him. He said he was gonna help train me on my super heroing. Not that I think I'm a super hero but like… knowing my power's limits and what I can and can't do type stuff. Cuz I honestly don't know how hard of a hit I can take. We tested some pretty solid hardware on me. Me and Lance did I mean. That was NOT with Brian's permission." Joe's eyes dart right and left again, his grin growing once more.

Joe just… talks. It's what Joe does. His siblings are used to it. They probably tune him out and only listen to about a third of what actually comes out. Maybe. That might be being generous. "I honestly haven't decided yet. I'm just working on getting all my basics done. Maths and sciences and stuff. And by I haven't decided yet I mean I have zeeeero clue what I want to do. But college is important or so I've been told. I figured I'd steer towards Criminal Justice though. Since I really would like to join the force. SCOUT especially. But the force in general would be cool. I just want to do something. So many people gave so much to keep us safe when we were little." There's an acknowledgement there, a tip of his head to Liz. "I want the opportunity to do that for other people. Make the city safer. Make people feel safe again. Make New York home again. You know?"

Joe makes a face though at something Liz said. "I dunno if I could go to work for Raytech. I know everyone keeps saying Card… Mister Ray has changed but… has he? I mean has he really?" Joe side eyes Liz a bit. "I guess there's more than just him there running the show though. Aunt Kaylee is there. That'd be cool. I still owe her a thank you of some kind for getting the Fear Monger out of my brain before he killed me. Or well us. Eimi and me and Lance and Brynn. You know I don't know if he ever got dealt with. Someone should probably go make sure he's dealt with. Or like collapse the building on top of his basement. That would work too. I think." Joe's eyes drift a bit as he ponders that. "I'd like to try and say dinner is on me but I can't afford all three of us. But I can get myself. But you two seem to have a thing going on over who's paying. So like… partners? Oooooor partners?" Brows lift and a wide grin pulls at Joe's lips again. Yeah no, that didn't slip past him that he wasn't corrected.

And he's off and running again. Elisabeth has a little girl who even on her chatty moments can't hold a candle to this kid. But she's adept enough at separating wheat from chaff. "I can't promise you'll get in, but majoring in Criminal Justice is a good start. You have the right mindset, although I wonder if you'd actually have the patience to sit a patrol," she admits. "Make sure you let me know when you do apply so I can watch for you." She won't get him into the force, but she will take a significant interest in his studies should he get himself accepted. A faint smile quirks her lips. "I'm quite sure you know it's not polite to ask such things. I know who your friends are and where you grew up, kiddo."

“Partners,” Fel says, blithely. “We used to be in FRONTLINE together, we’ll be working together again as NYPD.” He gives Liz a bright-eyed look, out of the corner of his eye, and stage-whispers, “She’s gonna get maaaaaarrried.” Ah, playground humor, just what they need. “And we gotcha,” he adds. “I make more’n enough to buy you both dinner, so just call me Big Spender.”

Comfortable lounging in the booth. “She’s right, though. Some stuff’s personal.” He’s kind of….not really denying it.

Joe should definitely get a chance to hang out with Aurora. Imagine the trouble they could get up to. They'll go find Seren and have adventures in magical kingdoms all around the Raytech building. It would be amazing. And probably detrimental to the sanity of some people in the building. But sometimes the sacrifices are worth it. Joe's head bobbles up and down a little bit to Liz's response.

"Patience? I have patience. When it's necessary. I can internalize. I just… don't. The vast majority of the time. Brian taught me though. When it's emergency time it's emergency time. And working a patrol I could do that. I mean my partner might hate me and my mouth but I could do a patrol. Lance and I used to have to patrol around the cabin back in Canada. And by patrol I don't mean we marched around the cabin. We'd go out miles into the woods and scout and looks for signs of people passing. All in silence. I mean Lance's ability ensured we were in silence but… yeah."

Joe grins wide and looks around the restaurant a bit as his stomach rumbles, announcing his hunger for anyone caring to listen. "I can do that. Let you know. That'd be pretty primal if you put in a good word. Or kept an eye out." Joe lets out a snorting laugh at Liz's comment. "Yes and I know all your friends too." He even goes so far as to stick his tongue out at her, grinning again. "Well most of them I'd imagine. Richard, Aunt Kaylee, Aunt Lady Zeus, Aunt Crazy Pants etcetera." There's a wink from him along with the next big smile.

"Oooooooo. Tying the knot? Attaching the ball and chain? I mean it's not really what it used to be. I mean it's still important but the world has moved on from the old notions of what marriage is. It's a dedication and a partnership and stuff but uhhh yeah I'll stop being nosey." Joe pauses, tilting his head to the side slooowly. "No. No I won't. But I'll stop asking about the elephant you two are throwing a sheet over in the corner at least. Soooo how you settling back into the city Miss Liz?"

She can't help chuckling — Joe's good humor is rather infectious. Elisabeth starts to reply and then pauses as food arrives. It's not until they're all comfortably surrounded by plates that she finally does speak.

"I'm getting there. Obviously things are different than I remember, but… that's been true of almost every place I've been. It's taken a bit of time not to feel like it's going to disappear any second," she admits. "But I'm getting there, Joe."

Taking a sip of her drink, she glances at Felix and can't help a smile. "This is the only place I was ever a cop. So… coming back into the PD, even though it's sort of a step backward, is actually a help. It's familiar."

“Partners in a cop sense,” Fel insists. He grins back at her. Then, to Joe, “Kid, the first thing you’re gonna need to do is rein in that motormouth. But to clarify - she’s not marrying me. She’s gonna be my work buddy again, though she’s probably not gonna be out on the streets with me. Not this time.” He shoots Liz a mock pitying look. They’ll have this cranky old dog out there sniffing around again, next thing you know.

“You need help with school, you let me know. I’ll do my part,” he says. Then there’s food, and he’s starting on it like it did something to personally offend him. The perils of that metabolism - he has to eat like a horse just to keep any weight on at all.

Joe sobers a little bit, his head giving a gradual dip forwards. "I understand that." He offers in a softer tone. "Worrying about it all being yanked out from under you. You live an existence long enough and that becomes the normal, everyday. Like… running from the government, evading their kill squads, and then hiding in the wilderness. I still wake up at night, when there's noise outside, panicking because there's not supposed to be noise outside. Noise means danger. Every time something suspicious comes around I wonder if this is it. If this is what sets things off again and throws a grenade into the nice little life we've all started to build again. It's hard." Joe might not understand the reality hopping part of it. But he gets the mindset.

Should do something for you too. Something you enjoy doing. Even if it's not for work. It helps." He offers her a quick smile, then looks to his food, starting to dig in at a pretty steady pace, pausing only to look over at Felix. "I figured. Figured she's marrying Mister Shades. Given the ahhhh effort he went through to get her back. Effort I don't… you know… officially know about… and stuff. Of course." His eyes duck right and left a little bit. "Saw you on that tape by the way. Squeaks found the tape and brought it to us. We all watched it at our friend Caspian's house. It got pretty nuts. Should have Aunt Kaylee tell you about it sometime. Let her look in my brain and see events as they happened." He grins, close mouthed since he's been eating, at those at the table, then looks back to Felix again.

"Sooo do you have special underwear that like doesn't shred as you run from the friction? I imagine clothes in general don't fare well with you. Do you get them special made? Or do you just go through them big time? I imagine it's awful on shoes. How /did/ they get your Frontline armor to accommodate your speed? Seems like by the time it would be loosened enough to work with you it wouldn't give you any kind of strength boosts just durability. Also do you have increased perception when you're going fast? That'd be pretty hilarious if you didn't. ZIP BAM! Careen off the wall. I imagine you'd get used to it but in the beginning it'd be funny." Joe pauses a moment, grinning again. "I like abilities. They’re pretty primal." Another moment’s consideration. “I guess bouncing off a wall at high speed wouldn’t be funny to most people. I tend to forget the minor injury bits aren’t as funny to other people.” He pokes his hand with the tines of his fork for emphasis. Cuz the fork dimples hsi skin and nothing more. Yay being fork proof.

As Joe talks, Elisabeth nods slowly. "I think everyone goes through it, when they've lived in wars," she tells Joe quietly. "You guys are a little further removed from yours than I am yet." Which really should tell both of the men sitting at the table all that really needs telling on it. She's only been home four months. She fakes it really well, mostly, the appearance of being far more at ease and comfortable than she really is.

She's distracted by the questions about Felix's ability and how his armor was built, and she starts giggling around a bite of her food. "Dear God…. you should have seen their first prototype for him." The image of that day on the naval academy's football field is seared into her memory. "He sheared it to pieces. One of the techs literally sobbed in horror." She covers her eyes laughing, has to stop eating for a moment. "It was fucking hysterical. Did you choose those boxers on purpose?" She's always wanted to know if he knew it was going to happen and wore those things on purpose.

"Exactly," Felix says, quietly. "You know what I still have nightmares about? Because it goes back to the earliest time when I was being hunted - when we had to cross the border from Poland into Czechoslovakia. Back then the Czech Republic and Slovakia were one kind of squished together country allied with the USSR," he asides to Joe. "I was…eleven when we ran. It turns out those that knew about the linkage….somehow they thought someone with powers was responsible for Chernobyl. So Mom knew we couldn't wait anymore, they'd begun a purge of anyone with the link. The science of finding the link itself was still primitive, but….my power wasn't subtle. Anyway, we were outta time, so we started heading West. Most of it we had faked papers, so we could go by legitimate means, but that border we had to sneak across, literally under the wire. I still dream about the sounds in the forest…" His expression has gone dreamy, remote, then he shakes his head, as if to clear it, blinks at Joe.

"Tape?" A blank look, with a glance to Liz for clarification. Then he grins. "Yeah. Wicking stuff does okay. Nothing loose. Shoes and insoles I go through real fast, yeah. Perception does speed up. In fact, I can fire up the reaction time without moving quickly. I can burn off poisons, react to attacks, things like that." A sip from his drink. "My Frontline armor was a wonder of engineering. It didn't give me advanced strength when I was moving at speed. It was really two kinds of armor in one - the standard issue Frontline, hybridized with another system that came online when I started to move at speed. Cooling, some kind of nano lubricant, joints loosening, stuff like that."

Liz…..she gets that puckish little smile, sly as a fox. "I literally shook it apart. The joints broke down and it just…came off me. In whole pieces, they were later able to adapt it and reuse them for a set of the new armor. Of course I did, Liz. I'd been arguing with 'em for the past ten days that just upgrading the cooling system and adding space and lubricant to the joints wasn't gonna cut it."

Joe listens to Felix, a sad sort of smile settling on the young man's features. His head dips forwards. "You probably understand what we kids went through during the war better than anyone then. We had great Ferry folks there to protect us and see us through, but you were a kid running from that… like we were." Joe actually reaches across the table to pat Felix on the back of the hand if he's allowed, reassuring the old veteran. "Did it ever fade for you?" He asks, his voice still soft, emotion barely kept in check. "Because it all still feels like yesterday to me. Fleeing from safehouse to safehouse. Running from armed soldiers, trying to protect the other kids. Losing friends. Family. The others seem to have moved on a lot better. But I can't seem to shake it all." Joe turns to look at Liz. "I know it was years ago for us, and you've spent this time barely hanging on from the sound of it but… it's not years ago for all of us. For some of is it was just yesterday." It's a sad sort of smile. A tired smile. Not the kind of expression that belongs on someone not even 20 years old yet.

"Huh. So is it super speed? Or is it more like hyper adrenaline? That lets you go really fast and everything? Just most people's powers don't hedge into other… abilities. So just curious. Sounds like it's more of a hyper adrenaline sort of deal." Joe ponders that, his head tipping to the side a bit, changing quickly from the more dire talk before, to the speculation on Felix's power. "Well now I have to know. What kind of boxers? Sounds like they were something to see. People underestimate your power too huh?" He asks, shaking his head a little bit. "People always worry about me getting hurt. But like… I haven't found anything that can punch through my skin yet. Doesn't mean there isn't something out there just that I haven't found it. You're not invincible Joe." He rolls his eyes a bit. A lot. A big roll, but cracks a smile. "Sooo you guys think they're gonna bring Frontline back? At some point? Cuz… I think you guys did amazing stuff when you were around before. It'd be pretty primal to have Frontline around again."

Joe's words bring a flash of pain, a fear so deep that it steals her breath for a moment. Elisabeth's own terrors are nothing compared to what she fears her daughter might suffer as a result of being dragged through worlds the way she was and seeing what she saw. Swallowing hard, she drops her blue eyes to the table and fights to subdue both the anxious swell of sound that wants to rise from her — just barely enough to ruffle the hair on their arms — and a sudden welling up of tears that won't do anyone any good.

It's a physical impossibility for her to speak around the lump in her throat that has choked her words. So she simply shrugs just a little to the question about Frontline because she literally cannot answer.

He permits the pat of the hand, nodding. Even squeezes it back, briefly. "Yeah, exactly," he says, softly. "Some. Pain doesn't go away, but you get stronger to bear it. I still remember feeling my heart in my throat, though. It was worse then for being helpless, being a kid. It'll get better," he assures Joe.

Then they're back to the subject of his power. "It's actually hyper-adrenaline, technically. An alteration of the nervous system, with a lot of secondary changes to let me bear it. Everything from unusual sheath cells on my nerves to heightened lung capacity." He laughs. "The right kind, Joe. You're too young to be asking someone about what kind of underwear they wear."

A shrug. "Frontline, I dunno…" Then he realizes what distress Liz is in, and reaches across with both hands to take hers and hold them. Yes, they're in public, and he doesn't care.

Joe sighs, but at himself as he sees that fear and the paralysis hit Liz. "I'm sorry." Joe murmurs to her, his features scrunching up. "I didn't even… you came through with a kid right?" He sighs again at himself and lifts a hand, then puts it back on the table, looking a little lost, not sure what to do to reassure her. "You'll be able to protect them Miss Liz. You're a complete bonafide primal bad ass. I fear for anyone who tries to come between you and your child. You're a warrior." He reaches a hand up to put it on her shoulder if it doesn't seem unwelcome, giving it a gentle squeeze.

He also carries on the conversation a bit with Felix, cuz he can multitask, and maybe regular conversation will help pull Liz out of the sudden terror spell. He knows what those are like. "Primal. I thought so. Like I say I'm bulletproof, but it's more than that. It's more like a suit of armor. It helps against bullets, blunt force, even resistant to fire and electricity and stuff. Not sure if I'm resistant to sonics though. That'd be cool to try out sometime. You know on like a low setting. But I love abilities. I think they're fascinating. All abilities. Even the ones some people think aren't that great. Like my sister Brynn. I don't think she realizes how powerful her ability is. She can change the color of stuff. And I really don't think she realizes just how incredible a gift it is, and just how powerful it is. Or maybe she does. She's a sneaky sort."

Joe’s head turns though, to regard Liz, concern written across his features. The young man’s eyes go to Felix, wondering if the man thinks she’ll be okay, then back to Liz. “So I haven’t gotten to meet your kiddo yet have I? I should meet them some time. Kids love me.If you ever need a bulletproof babysitter I’m totally available.”

"Sorry." Elisabeth's voice is still a little choked and she holds Felix's hand tightly while offering Joe a small smile. "That was a bit out of left field." She didn't expect to react like that to any conversation, much less this one. "I'm good… it'll be okay. Aurora's …. well, she's seen some things I wish she hadn't. But she seems like she's doing really well, and she's talking to people at Benchmark and Delia's helping her out too. It'll be fine." It has to be. If she's scarred her only child, it'll definitely fracture her calm in potentially permanent ways.

"She's a great kid. I'd love you to meet her — she adores your sibling Squeaks." That does make Liz smile, despite the anxiety she's struggling with. "She uhm… she learned hiding from her. On part of our trip. So when we got here, she was pretty happy to meet her again."

It helps just to talk about the normal stuff.

Fel's just holding Liz, like he'll drag her across the table, if need be. "We'll get you tested out. Better to know your power's limitations before it gives you an unpleasant surprise. And….yeah. Even things you wouldn't think were impressive, they can be. The sneakier the better…."

To Liz, more quietly, "She'll be okay, Liz. Kids recover….especially if they have stability, a place to grow. The human heart can heal from a lot.

"Well, Squeaks /is/ some of the best people I know so she's got good taste then. Squeaks found us, and we adopted her. And then Gillian actually adopted her. I'm so happy she's settling into living a life up here, above the underneath. I don't get to see her as much though, which sucks sometimes. But she is awesome." Joe pulls in a slow breath, and shakes his head. "But no, it wasn't out of left field. I should have been a little more aware. I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking before I ran my mouth. Which is… a problem I have."

Joe flashes Liz a quick grin though. "I'd love to meet her." Joe tips his head to confirm his own comment. "And Mister Felix is right. She's even younger than most of us were. And most of the Lighthouse Kids are pretty well adjusted. She's got a badass mom, a powerful father, and more protectors than you can shake a stick at knowing how many friends you and Mister Ray both have." Joe's hand settles back on the table, before it goes back to picking up fries, Joe going back to eating. Munching away, but watching Liz, making sure she's gonna be okay.

She'd laugh it off, but they both know it'd be a lie. Instead, Elisabeth smiles. "You're both pretty good at this." She squeezes Felix's hands again and her grip on him finally loosens. "Eat," she tells the speedster. "Aura says you're still too skinny." She winks at him. She's not totally okay, but she'll get there.

"Let's don't give the child any additional ideas about badassery for now, though, okay? She's already got some definite opinions about what people are supposed to be doing." Like being heroes. "I just want her to be able to be a kid for a while. The last couple years sucked."

“I’m always too skinny, that’s how I’m built.” Which is not strictly true - the Felix of that bright world was a lot more solid. But he gives her hands a last squeeze, and then goes back to eating his meal.

He adds, after a beat, “I’ll encourage her later. Maybe second grade.”

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