The 37th


bolivar_icon.gif felix_icon.gif samantha_icon.gif simon_icon.gif veronica_icon.gif

Also featuring:

Assload of NPCs by Chinatown/Bolivar.

Scene Title The 37th
Synopsis Unfinished scene, summary pending.
Date March 21, 2009

Stuyvesant Town — St. Anne's School


The kids at Saint Anne's School in Stuyvesant Town get their first break at ten o' clock and their lunch at twelve-thirty. There is some debate as to what Jeremy Green, Evan Mason, and Tara Sanchez had been doing out in the hallway without the appropriate pink passes at eleven-thirty in the morning, but that is probably the least intriguing of the mysteries and least alarming of the issues at hand, really.

As if inspired by some Weezer song or other mundane tragedy, Tara had brought a .22 and unloaded it once in Jeremy's general direction out in the lockers. Evan got in the way. They are all fourteen years old. Heads had popped out of the classroom doors like gophers. Epithets were screamed: something about Jeremy being a fucking mutant circus freak, Tara being a psychotic bitch, et cetera; kids these days. The result was understandable.


Half an hour later, and the high school is cordoned off behind wasp-striped tape, the boldfaced lettering DO NOT CROSS and a few sentinels uniformed in blue enough to keep the milling civilian crowd and cameras back in the large part, though they would much rather have no cameras at all. Barrages of questions throb through the swing of the school's emptied doors as officers and operatives of various and sundry employment work to herd students out to their parents and remind teachers the strict legal limitations of their job descriptions.

Simon has only just returned to the city and already he's faced with a crime scene. It's what he expected, though, and like most people who are walking in the area, he's drawn to the crowd of people huddled near the school. A few words are mumbled into the cell phone held against his ear before his thumb presses the end button. The phone is then tucked away in an inside pocket of the teen's jacket. As he heads towards the school, he surveys the scene to try and figure out just what's going on.

Because it might -possibly- be an Evolved-related crime, they've sent the nearest SCOUT member over. Which happens to be Felix. He's in his usual sharp suit, and looking none too pleased with the world, as he looks for the ranking officer in charge….though he's already running his gaze over the scene, just to get a feel.

Since there's press and other agencies on site, Veronica's dressed a bit more professionally than her favored jeans in a suit, and her hair's up in an hasty up-do of sorts, held in place by a clip (and back to its natural brown). She ducks under the yellow tape and flashes her Homeland Security badge at the low man on the totem pole assigned to keep people who aren't supposed to pass the police line from crossing it. Her eyes assess the area, and she gives a nod to Felix, knowing he won't be happy to see her. But the list of those who ever are is awfully short… at last count, maybe two.

She parked her motorcycle across the street. Being out on deliveries she had yet to hear about the incident and sure enough she was supposed to deliver a package to that particular school. When she noticed the police tape, she rode on by on her cycle and parked. This sort of thing draws the curious.

And this incident screams 'evolved' loud and clear as far as she's concerned. Something bad went down here. She doesn't cross the street — not yet — but holding the package in her hand, Samantha leans inside the doorway across the street and watches the commotion, seeing if perhaps she can figure out what might have happened.

There's an ambulance but no one in it. Guided by instructive hands and gruff voices, a tributary of anxious children moving out toward a tunnel made of tape and anxious parents, more like the arrivals hall in an airport than a spectacle that generally characterizes the American educational system these days. Though neither Felix Ivanov nor Veronica Sawyer have any way of knowing this yet, there are three faces deliberately missing from the student body.

One of them is wheeled out a moment later. Evan's face is as smooth and white as the pillowcase that keeps it elevated from the level of the stretcher. He has a bandage on the juncture where his neck meets shoulder.

"Agent Ivanov?" An officer meets Felix at the front of the school building without dignifying the chaos of the parking lot and front yard with a look. City-wide fame probably doesn't preclude the necessity of showing identification, but the cop doesn't ask for it; merely waves the Russian into the building, before subjecting Veronica to a furrow-browed glance. You are..?

Simon hasn't been out of public school long, so he knows how kids are filed out of school during an emergency. Not that it's hard to figure out that something very bad has happened here anyways. When Evan is rolled out of the school, Simon frowns and watches him for a moment. Then he's off to a group of anxious parents, where he is ready to start sticking his nose where it probably doesn't belong. "Hey, what happened here?" he starts to ask, hoping someone in the crowd will be able to fill him in on the situation.

Felix flashes his badge with the subtlety of a man palming a tip for the Maitre D' to get a better table, anyhow. Apparently he doesn't get off on showing off. "Yes," he says. "Point me to the person in charge here, please?" His voice remains studiedly mild. Ooh, the NYPD might yet escape without a tantrum from Agent IVanov today. It'll be a red-letter day.

Veronica keeps walking — she'd already crossed the yellow tape, already flashed her badge, and isn't about to pause to play chit chat with the low-level uniformed cop who looks like he could have been in this school just a couple years prior. "Command post this way?" she says over her shoulder, though she glances back to see which direction Ivanov is pointed in.

Samantha holds the package in her arms as she watches the commotion across the street. She could walk over and try to find out what happened. Of course, it will be on the news shortly. And she's not entirely sure she wants to be too awfully close to law enforcement. But, that curious tug continues to nag her. She reaches up and flips each side of her hair to the side and puts on a charming smile before she moves up to the same officer that's letting the others through. "This looks like a bad time to have to make this delivery I suppose. " She puts on her best sparkling personality. "Wow. Something bad happened here, huh?" she asks, as if oblivious. She holds the package against her tummy, her arms holding it there firmly as she moves her hips from side to side.

Command post is, indeed, that way, though it turns out that the greeting officer is in charge. "You're looking at him. Johnson. Come on in, they're setting up with the kids. Had to get the parents in here, you know how it is." He turns with a squeak of rubber boot soles on the linoleum hallway floor, a motion of his gloved hand. Troops down the hallway at a good clip without bothering to check if Veronica and Felix are following until they reach an expansive English classroom, now temporarily converted for the purpose of figuring out what the Hell went on here.

Tara is pretty and dressed well for a girl her age, though her hair has fallen out of its neat knot into a ropey black coils that stick to her face, hot from sweat. Eyes the color and heat of stoked coals fetch toward the door the instant Johnson, Ivanov and Sawyer clatter in. Her lip curls slightly. She and her father — presumably, the boxy Hispanic man standing behind her — have the same 'smile.' Without prompt, the man speaks for her: "He touched her. The little gringo asshole touched her with his fucking… what the fuck is it called? He didn't even have to use his hands—"

Green is probably the boy sitting in the adjacent room. The door is open. He's staring, despite repeated efforts from his mother to turn his face away with an insistent forefinger.

"Some mutant kid got cleaned out." The man to Simon's left smells faintly of garbage, which makes sense, given the canvas jumpsuit he's wearing, unzipped, rolled down to his hips. There are hollows as deep as tar pits underneath his eyes, and he stares at the school with a skeleton's bared rictus of a grin, fierce and ugly, until Samantha pulls up. That turns his head all the way around.

Simon turns towards the smelly man and looks up at him quizzically. Did he hear that right? He knows that kids do stupid things, but these kids are *young*. "What do you mean cleaned out?" he asks, noting that the janitor or whoever it is he's talking to is doing a good job of ignoring him for - some blond at the police perimeter. A scowl forms across the teen's face as he lifts his hands and snaps his fingers in the air. "Hey! Save it for some other time, will ya?"

"Hold on," Felix says, mildly. "One second." It's Johnson he looks to, patiently. "What's the story thus far?" He doesn't acknowledge Veronica, but honeslty, he's not acknowledging most of the people in the room, lest everyone start to jump in and justify their story.

Veronica realizes her faux pas, and just gives Officer Johnson a big smile that reveals white teeth and big dimples. She follows him, putting her HomeSec badge back in her back pocket as she surveys the school during the walk to the room. Her eyes immediately seek Jeremy out, and she watches him a moment, while hovering a bit behind Felix, letting him do the talking for now. She'll be content enough to listen and shadow.

Samantha's charm apparantly too much for the officer at the tape to allow him to answer her questions. She cranes her neck a little to see if she can catch a peek of something. Anything. Charm on. "Hey.. you gonna answer my question or just stare at my boobs all day?" Okay, maybe that's what she wanted to say, but she refrains. She's calm and collected like that. She bats her eyelashes just a little. "Someone must have got hurt." she says, trying to pump a little information out of him. "I bet you were some sort of hero in there today." Sure. Right.

Johnson points a finger in order to caption the appropriate names and individuals. The turn of his hand serves the secondary purpose, also, of shutting the girl's father the Hell up when he opens his jaws again. "Sanchez shot at Green. Round hit a kid named Mason instead, upper-shoulder. Kid lost some blood but he's going to be okay, rushed off to Saint Luke's. Art teacher came out of the classroom, got the gun away from Sanchez.

"She's been railing in anti-Evolved terms since. Green hasn't said a fucking word about her story. Probably smart." Though Johnson's voice can't possibly carry the distance all the way to the other door, the boy in question continues to turn his head, back and forth, like the ticker on a gameshow wheel. Despite the calculatedly relaxed slump of his shoulders, the whites show all the way around his eyes.

Outside, Bolivar is staring past Samantha with a carefully neutral facial expression, holding as still as one of the human statues from Central Park. At her coquettish insistence, however, he finally turns his head. The slow spin of degrees reveals the hideous bracket of keloids laddering the left edge of his face, disappearing into his collar, all the way down to his hand. "I'm on-duty," he says, in the politest voice he is capable of manifesting. Not very. Inevitably, it gets worse: "And you're fat. Please stay back."

The garbage man, in the meantime, twitches irritably when Simon blocks his view. His vision refocuses blurrily on the fingers snap-snapping in front of his face, before he shakes his head and remembers to look at the boy himself. "Cleaned out. Killed. Bang-bang." He makes an origami gun with one leather hand and aims the trigger at Bolivar's head.

Simon, having the information he was asking for and finding the janitor very creepy, just walks away from the crowd, staring through reporters and onlookers towards the ambulance. It doesn't look like the kid is dead, but he can't be too far away from it. It's a tragic scene and Simon's shoulders slump somewhat at his inability to do anything about it. Not that he should have been able to, of course. That doesn't stop him from feeling bad, though. He starts to move away from the scene, a hundred different thoughts swimming through his head as he does.

The Sanchez family is not doing much to endear themselves to Felix, thus far. The Agent is getting that heavy-lidded look that makes him look like a sleepy hawk, and generally conceals intense irritation. The shoulders under the wool of his suitjacket are tight. Woe to any empaths at close range. School shootings are messy in all senses of the word. "Is Green Evolved?" he says, bluntly, still focussed on Johnson. "Anyone heard his side of the story?" he adds, after a moment, looking expectantly at the various adults associated with the school.

Veronica looks curiously up at Johnson to see his reaction to Felix's abrupt question, before glancing across the way to the boy in question. "I'd like to speak with Green and his parents," she says softly to Johnson. "I'm not concerned with the girl." She nods to Ivanov with a solicitous smile. "After you speak with him, of course, and get everything you need for the shooting."

Sam's eyes go wide. Fat? "How dare you!" she acts all indignant as she starts to speak several times but no words come forth as she stands there looking as appalled as can be. "I'm suppose to deliver this package!" She points her finger at him and gives it a shake. "You're.. you're.. you're RUDE!" she finally utters and turns and stomps off in the direction that she came. As she turns her back on Bolivar, a smile creeps up on her face as she continues to stomp off like she's pissed. Somebody takes their job way too seriously, she thinks. Pity. She drew just a little too much attention to herself, so she blends herself across the street and stands by just to watch for the moment. Perhaps she'll find something interesting.

"No." Johnson's shrugs seesaw in a shrug that passes for the serenity of good manners. He lacks the studied blase of the FBI agent, and it's impossible to tell if there's genuine grace there lending him the semblence of authenticity or if his artifice is that much more polished. "We were going to take them down to the precincthouse and process them there. Soon.

"Sanchez has already mentioned lawyering up, obviously. Charges and so on. She's off-limits anyway."

His gaze shifts between Veronica and Felix, as if trying to decide whether the non-Evolved girl-whelp or the city's skinny mutant hero warrants more staring at. "No idea if he's Evolved. He'll be tested within the next twenty-four hours." Obviously. He gestures them both at the door ajar, where Jeremy's father throws a long shadow across the hard floor.

Outside, the cackling of children's feet across cold concrete and swizz of stealthy camera flashes going off is making Bolivar want to shoot somebody. Samantha had been correct in her assessment, of course; he had been rather rude, but that was the greatest of his restraint. The former sniper goes back to staring at his indistinct spot of brick wall for the duration of seven or eight calming breaths. His teeth click shut, then, and he turns his head to stare at the blonde woman once again.

Felix nods to Veronica, trying to keep his dislike behind its tight veil. "Test her, too. Prejudice hasn't got anything to do with genetics. Let's be equable about this particular witch-hunt, shall we?" His voice is a languid drawl. "Book her for possession of a firearm…" He rattles off the relevant statutes. "And the vic's parents, any idea if they're going to want to press charges? Maybe get a telepath in, depending on the supposed provocation," This is a local problem, let it stay local. "Honestly, it looks like a lawyer's scrimmage. It doesn't necessarily warrant SCOUT's attention." Translation: this had better not be a waste of my time, officer.

Once Johnson mentions testing, Veronica nods. After all that's what she's after. At that moment her phone chirps, and she unclasps it from her belt to glance at it. Just a message, as the single chirp is all it gives. "All right. Please give me a call when you find out what his ability is and once he's tested. And the girl, too. We don't want to be inequitable." She smiles brightly. "I need to head out. Thank you, officers," she says with a friendly nod toward each.

The warning hits Johnson with the velocity of an exceptionally aggressive feather. Tickles a bit, apparently: he turns up the corners of his mouth. The translation is easy, the answer a cool echo in return. Waste of your time?

"Talk to the kid, Agent," he suggests, stepping backward, angling off toward the Sanchezes to do exactly as the agent had instructed. His shoe creaks leather, and he juts his chin at the door that remains ajar. Turning away, he addresses the shooter and her father. Mr. and Miss Sanchez—

And Fel ambles over to eye Jeremy. "Jeremy, huh?" he says, face softening a little. "So, what's the story - what happened?" he asks, putting his hands in his pockets.

When the Fed eyes Jeremy, Jeremy's parents eye the Fed. They are understandably tense. Their child was involved in a shooting, the word 'Evolved' hurled around like so much confetti; there are cameras and the only population that seems more sporadic about their commitments than law enforcement seems to be the rioters, who've since dwindled with the rolling blackouts.

At fourteen years old, Jerry's frame is already broadening out into the lines of a young man. He has spiky lack hair and furtively intelligent hazel eyes, bone structure that might well lead one to wonder that the source of Tara's frustrations hadn't been— multiple. He doesn't answer, inevitably, because he knows that his mom is.

He gets his looks from her; his father is fair and slight of build. "My son isn't Evolved. Some crazy girl shot at him and hit his poor friend, instead. We would like to take him home."

Fel gives them the flat look of a cat that sees a dog eyeing its food bowl. "I'd just like to hear his version of events went," he says, with studied mildness. "And he's going to be tested, as will Miss Sanchez."

"That's my version of the events," Jeremy says, his gaze pitching down, shifting sideways along the gray carpet of the lounge floor. Teachers' lounge. There's a water dispenser in the corner between ferns, a few notices pinned up to the cork board on the wall. Understandably, an awkward place for a student to be, even if he hadn't. You know. Nearly got shot in the hallway. "'S okay. I'm okay with being tested," he repeats, clearly.

His mother frowns at him, but otherwise subsides. Looks up at Felix expectantly.

And then something occurs to Felix. He nods to them, quietly, and turns his back to head for Johnson again. "Have the shooting vic tested, too," he says, polishing his glasses on his tie.

When the agent takes leave of them, there's a subtle shift through the configuration of Greens. Jeremy, for one, sits up so sharply that the rivets on the seat of his jeans cut a loud scrape across the bottom of the chair he had been installed in, audible from all the way across the classroom. He stops the door from backswinging shut with one sneakered foot, and cranes his head to watch the agent's back.

The jerk of movement draws Johnson's attention, from where he'd initially been scrawling something down on the yellow pad of paper in his hand. He stares at the kid from over Felix's shoulder for a protracted moment, some expression trying to resolve itself on the characteristic stoicity of his face. "What'd he say?" he asks, shifting to look at Felix's face. Click. The pen nib retracts into its plastic tube.

"Not a damn thing," Felix's tone is airy, despite his evident annoyance. "He maintains that Sanchez sort of went off unprovoked. Who else was present when the shooting happened?"

A loud sigh escapes the officer, the first and only real evidence of exasperation. Kids. "No one. Hallway was empty. Don't know what the three were doing out there— they didn't have passes, no permission from their teachers.

"The boys didn't turn up for their last class period," his tone takes the patient cadence of one retreading ground that is already pitted and worn. He looks at the chair that Tara had vacated only a few minutes ago. Possibly in cuffs. Probably. "The Sanchez girl hadn't been in any of hers all morning — since nine o' clock. Makes the shooting look premeditated."

Fel nods at that. "Does look suspicious. She got any history of trouble in this school? Any of 'em do, for that matter?" He takes off his glasses, idly begins to polish them with his tie. More a habitual fidget than out of any real need.

"The girl does," Johnson says, a wry note to his voice. Take that, chauvinism. "She was screaming about the thirty six for fifteen minutes before we got her dad in here— some crazy conspiracy about an Evolved children's army. Seems par for course with her record: she starts shit.

"Jeremy has nothing. Most teachers seem to like him. The other one, similar…" A beat's pause. "You think they were — covering for each other? Fuck." He swivels his head back to look at the boy through the gap in the doorway, his brow finding a shadowed knit that faintly resembles regret. "Makes sense. He's pretty alert and shifty for somebody who nearly got shot."

"She had a gun. Has she seriously been packing every day in fear of a fellow student? Her story doesn't ring all that true to me, but his reaction is equally bizarre. Not to get all Lone Gunmen about this, but what about the vic - what's his relation to these two?" Fel's voice remains quiet. He rubs at the bridge of his nose with his fingertips. "I'll go talk to her."

Another line or three steepens the sides of Johnson's mouth. He doesn't envy the Russian that: talking to her. She'd looked as ill-tempered as a sodden bobcat, last either of them saw, and her father hadn't looked much less bellicose. Blood complicates things as often as it simplifies them; blood in as many definitions of the word as one cares to try on for size. "The vic's Green's friend.

"Sanchez seems to have started a few fights with him before. Didn't go through anybody's secret diary, so that's all I have," he replies, angling a glance out the doorway. There's a policewoman coming in; he motions her to leave whatever she's bringing on the table over there.

Through the doorway, there's a glimpse of a scarred profile, Bolivar's eyes narrowed at something further down the stretch of linoleum. There's a dog at his heel now. There almost always is. It's the shepherd dog, big brown paws and sable saddle across her back. She swivels her broad snout toward Felix, rotates her ears in two small circles. In dog, that entails respect.

"They all have a few classes together," Johnson's saying. "Phys Ed, American history. Heading down to the precincthouse then?"

"Looks like," Fel says, turning to eye Bolivar. Ooh. Someone else he doesn't get along with. He heads for the door at that unhurried pace, dropping a hand for the dog to sniff.

The pen shunts into the Johnson's breastpocket with a grunt. "They say you SCOUT types are supposed to be able to look at a photograph of a suspect's face, smell the sweat off their skin, and instantly know whether there's an Evolved gene marker there and whether fireballs or animal shapeshifting is involved." It's acknowledgment. A bad joke. Dismissal. No heat; he's on his cellphone in a moment, ordering a blood test for Green.

And Jeremy's turning white as a drowned corpse in the next room.

Nina Lou inhales of Felix's hand warmly though she doesn't lick his fingers — her manners have been too good for that for years. Bolivar's scarred hand contracts visibly around the leash ribboned across his palm, but he doesn't shorten the length of the lead. Merely stares for a brief moment. Then, shifting his gaze back to the slice of Jeremy through the next door over, "You're as bad with kids as I am, gringo."

"That's because they grow us in labs and decant us in vats. Or, rather, raise us from spores on piles of horseshit, " Fel says, easily. But his gaze follows Bolivar's to Jeremy. He scratches Nina's ears gently with his fingertips.But he brushes open the door to where Green sits, and eyes his parents, and then him, each in turn. "You okay?" he says, simply. "You look like you're going to faint."

A glare flattens the Jeremy's expression out, to the visible dismay of his father and the disconcertment of his mother. One ought not glare at cops. FBI liaisons to SCOUT, especially, who've been called out of a busy day of probable — bomb threats and terrorist hunts in order to prod at the uncertain trail left behind by an apparently resolved mass suicide.

"What," Jeremy says, his voice sharper with accusation than the question probably merits. "That's — normal operating procedure, or something?"

Back in the wider classroom, there's a click of blunt claws as Nina Lou lopes in at her master's heel. Bolivar sits on the edge of the teacher's table, exchanges brief looks with Johnson. They are somewhat obviously eavesdroppping. The sergeant, at least, as best as he can while verifying the validity of his request on the phone.

"Is what normal operating procedure?" Fel enquires, voice gone back to velvet mildness. Fel's used to a lot worse abuse than mere dirty looks, so the glare doesn't seem to phase him.

There is a wild, haphazard gesture of one hand, not articulate in the slightest. "Making somebody take the Evolved test if they didn't do anything," Jeremy answers. There's a hiss from his mother, reprimanding; though Fel's been subject to worse than a stink-eye in his time, she doesn't like the idea of her child registering himself anywhere on that spectrum of asshole behavior under circumstances this sensitive. Irritably, Jeremy tries to shrug her off. "This is crap."

"You're accused of assault via Evolved power. Quickest way to clear you is to prove you aren't Evolved," Felix notes, with a raised brow. "You aren't Evolved, right? Did you do what she said?"

The kid's features crease like paper and his shoulders buckle slightly from something greater than the considerable strength of his mother's fingers. Hazel eyes skate over to the cops in the room beyond. One on the phone, one with a beast of a dog. His fingers interlace, tighten until his knuckles must feel sore. His mom's saying stuff to the side of his head and he isn't paying much attention.

What's wrong, honey? What's wrong? Do you want the agent to leave?

Jesus. What isn't? Finally, Jeremy bites out, "I'm not talking about me."

Like Felix is the bad doggie to be shooed away. "Then whom are you referring to?" Felix says, arching a brow at Jeremy. "You'll all three be tested,"

"Evan." Shooed away, or shouted away. Jeremy doesn't mean to, though. He bolts up to his feet, suddenly, though not quick enough to imply a genetic talent to rival the Russian's. Veins stand out in the sides of the boy's neck; he ignores the admonishment of his mother, chasing his own anger around in the air with ineloquent hands.

Not that his verbal captions are much of an improvement. "I mean— don't you know anything?" The whites ring all the way around the bright of his eyes, pupils constricted. "They're taking fucking kids these days. And even if it isn't the stupid government, they can make you think things you didn't believe. Or forget shit! Like your own name!

"I bet those two, the ones on the news, I bet they were told something but they didn't remember— why the fuck would you even care anyw—"

He's cut off, this time, by his father. An arm around his chest, hauling him back into his seat in the middle of a rather poorly-conceived hostile advance on the Russian agent's person. "Jeremy," the man snaps, his forehead a wreck of worried lines. "Be quiet. You aren't making any sense."

"Let me show you something," Felix says, and fishes his own registration card from behind the badge. He flicks it up between two fingers, holding it before Green's eyes. "The government doesn't take kids away, Evolved or no. But if kids are vanishing, then the police and the Bureau are the people to talk to about it." His voice is calm, flat. "Evan is going to go to the hospital, they're going to take care of his wounds, and then he's going to be released to the care of his family. No one's going to make him forget anything, or take him anywhere he doesn't want to go."

Pupils flood the paler color of Jeremy's irises. He sticks his head all the way out like a chicken over the chopping block in order to read the miniscule text on the Registration card. His expression fast-tracks through confusion, disbelief, then grudging curiosity. So does his father's, hanging over his shoulder. Both Green men lift their heads.

Sensing a change in his son, Mr. Green releases him, ruffing thin fingers through the boy's darker hair. He likes what Felix is saying. It is reassuring. The government doesn't take kids away. The FBI says so. The world is better off if that's true.

Jeremy asks, "You promise?"

"I promise," says Felix, gently. His expression hasn't changed. "The FBI, the New York police - we're here to protect people, stop crime. Not harass or vanish citizens, no matter what they can do. Now, we hear rumors about kids disappearing, and kidnapping and human trafficking are very serious offenses. If you know something about that happening, we want to hear." He stretches a little, and returns to the subject at hand. "So, also, is having a gun on school grounds. I seriously doubt Miss Sanchez made a habit of coming armed. Apparently she felt threatened, but by what?" He raises his gaze to the parents.

There's another hesitant glance angled out the doorway, where Bolivar is now steadfastly peering out the window and Johnson has shut his phone. The ache of inevitably makes Jeremy's teeth tight, but a gentle, encouraging prompt from his mother draws him out. "Ev's Evolved. He isn't very good at controlling it. Tara's— kind of a bitch all the time, anyway. He hurt her by accident once while we were cleaning up after dodgeball, and she thought it was me. We all freaked out, 'nd Evan was gonna Register, but…"

The parents cut in here. It's inevitable, of course. Suddenly, Felix's view of the boy is blocked by his mother's slim figure, and she's crouching over his knees, the grip on his hands tight enough to peak her knuckles white at the ends of her metacarpals, speaking sternly that Evan could have hurt him too. Her voice is gruff with mother-fear.

"Now he'll get the training he needs," Felix assures Jeremy. "Any idea how long she's come to school with a gun? Is this is a widespread thing, people feeling the need to defend themselves from the Evolved? And what is it that Evan can do?"

There's a length of a staring from all three Greens when the agent speaks. Is this a wide spread thing, people feeling the need to defend themselves from the Evolved? That is, quite possibly, the dumbest thing that law enforcement has spoken to them throughout the day.

"I had no fucking idea! I would've told someone if I thought she was that crazy," Jeremy says.

"Are you stupid?" his mother inquires in the same breath.

His father cuts a glance at her. "It's a very bad situation across the States, Agent Ivanov," he explains, diplomatically, setting a palm down on Jeremy's shoulder.

This time, the boy doesn't try to evade contact. His spine slumps backward, albeit stiffly, into the crook of his seat. "He tried to get training," Jeremy says. "Tara wasn't… She figured it out, too. Ev knew the thirty six and—" His teeth meet with an enamel click; he lowers his gaze, incapable of meeting his parents'. "And the guy they were talking to."

"I meant, here, specifically. AS opposed to a general feeling of threat." But he focuses in on Jeremy. "What guy they were talking to?" Trying to keep the eager canine whine out of his voice.

Sensing that undercurrent of noise underneath Felix's voice, Mrs. Green is quick to cut him off. "This needs to end here," she says clearly. "Jeremy didn't do anything wrong. This is between Tara Sanchez and Evan Mason, and we need to go home. He's had enough of this—" She spins a long-fingered hand through the air, her lacquered fingernails showing in purple stones. "Chaos for one day."

The boy's head snaps upright at his mother's interruption, his lips writhing back, briefly, in a rictus of angry protest. It stands to reason. The thirty six were an acknowledged loss, nationwide. He's had enough chaos for the day, but fuck if it isn't heinous, harboring suspicion — however weakly-founded — with no one to go to.

Fel has had about enough of trying to be nice. "It sounds," he says, with the faintest hint of frost to his tone, fixing that pale stare on Mrs. Green, "Like your son has some useful information on how that mass suicide was organized. What guy were they talking to?" he says to Jeremy, more patiently.

Mass suicides isn't anything that parents want their babies around, if they're decent parents at all. The Greens are that, though that is founded on the same sort of basic sanity that holds up civic duty. Despite a momentary flare of temper through both adults, they subside after a moment. The father's hand tightens on the son. Go on then.

"I don't know." Jeremy stares upward miserably despite the enthusiasm with which the words pop out of him, a dam buckling. "I asked after the first couple times they got together, but Ev could never… fuckin'… talk about it. Not— I don't mean he wouldn't talk about it.

"It was like there was — like — he really just didn't remember, and he didn't think it was important anymore. It was fucking weird. One day he was excited as Hell he was gonna learn how to do something good with his ability, control it 'nd stuff? The next—" The boy flips his hands in the air. "He was blowing off my questions and couldn't remember what he was doing before he decided to take walks or whatever. Are there Evolved who can do that to you?"

"There are absolutely," Felix says, from lips gone momentarily numb. "So they weren't afraid, originally. Just trying to find ways to practice their powers, before it went wrong and became a suicide pact? And then he could no longer remember."

Hesitation shows behind the boy's face. He doesn't know the exact timeline of events, his recollections confused by anxiety and his friend's own difficulties. "Evan wasn't scared, originally. He — I don't know how many of them he got to know before he left. Or got kicked out, or whatever. I don't know what…" His eyebrows go lumpy and white with frustration. "He said he liked this girl named Lily.

"I saw one of the girls' names go up on the tabloids." Cue a shade of guilty expression from his mother. Guess whose magazine that belonged to? "'Lilian Whitaker,' right? Dude, Evan was so fucking close to becoming one 'f—" His lips go white with strain, and he looks up with a desperate incarnation of fear.

Jeremy's head drops slightly. "One of the thirty seven," he answers. A quaver-beat, and he lifts his eyes. They don't look like a boy's eyes. Not scared enough; not about himself, anyway. "I know."

"Then clearly, Evan is the one I need to speak to," Fel says, tone flat and final. "Thank you," he says, voice softening a little. "Is there anything else you can tell me?"

The child's face goes blank with thought. For a moment, it might seem that Jeremy had not actually heard the question. The next, he exhales. "If he couldn't tell me, he's not gonna be able to tell you. Even if he'd want to." The skin around his eyes is tight. He is not feeling so much with the sending fruit baskets to the government or any of the shadey Evolved entities that people New York City.

You know what they say about good intentions, after all. Evan had had those. Tara, too. Then, "Keep him safe and catch that asshole. Please."

"That's precisely what we intend. This guy - what do you know about him? Did any others mention him?" Fel can't help but press.

There's a protracted prause, Jeremy's mouth a thin line from thought. "Nothin'. Not… I don't know what he told Evan that wasn't lying. A lot of stuff about how you couldn't trust the government, you know? Conspiracies and stuff t' get the kids scared.

"I guess it kind of worked on me." He tilts his head back to relieve a knot of pressure in his neck, and turns his eyes back to Felix. "That like— the Midtown Man isn't real, and they have a huge new prison just for Evolved where criminals don't even get lawyers or trials or stuff." Impossibly, Moab Federal Penitentiary resembles that remark. "And experiment pens and… you know.

"None of that's true." A quaver-beat's pause. He stares. "Right?"

"There is a country where those things happen," Felix says, very quietly, fixing that almost colorless gaze on Jeremy's. "I was born there. And its name is Russia. My mother brought me here when I was younger than you, for fear the government would do just that to me. The Midtown Man….yes, an Evolved man did destroy that part of New York. No, the only people who don't get the usual criminal trial and lawyers are terrorists, and that even, people are working to take care of. If you're old enough to remember Guantanamo. There is no conspiracy within the US goverment to destroy the rights of the Evolved, Jeremy. At worst, legislatures fumble around in public trying to find laws that work to keep everyone safe without abridging anyone's civil liberties. That's what this guy was preaching? Black vans to come steal you away if you were foolish enough to register?"

Jeremy frowns. After a moment, he nods too. The FBI Agent says so. The Evolved FBI Agent; that makes sense to him. He's scared, but not fundamentally paranoid enough to wonder otherwise. "Yeah. Tara heard us talking." He closes his mouth and looks at the wall for a moment. "That's it. That's all. I can't remember anything else."

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