|Location||Open Hands - Mutant Town|
|NPCs||Echo, Taurus, Pete Buchanan, Tati Pardee|
|Summary||Rohan drinks the punch and becomes the latest victim.|
It's a lovely spring afternoon and more or less all of Open Hands is outside. Those who aren't working on the vegetable garden are cleaning the outside of the building in preparation for it to be repainted. Music blasts from a cheap, futuristic ...music device.
Taurus, the young man with bull horns, and whimpy little Pete are pulling up weeds with the help of one of the volunteers.
A young woman with metallic, tin-man like skin and long brunette hair is hosing off the building with the help of Tati, who is up on a ladder. "Did you hear about Siera? I'm so worried. ...has anybody heard from her." Both of the young ladies are scantily clad, which is a huge distraction for the boys in the garden.
Taurus gives Pete a firm slap in the chest with the back of his hand to get the other boy's attention as Tati gets sprayed with water from the hose. Both boys grin. "Yo, I heard she straight DITCHED Luke's ass at the hospital like he was nothin'."
Rohan is the volunteer helping pull up weeds. He is also far more successful at being unaffected by the sight of teenage girls in scanty and/or wet clothing than the boys are. He only quirks an eyebrow at the teenage gossip floating about him, taking note of it, but not commenting. Instead he says, tossing down a weed, "You know, a goat'd take care of all these weeds." He settles back on his heels, dirty hands resting against his worn jeans and adds, "Also, probably the vegetables."
Pete is more easily drawn into conversation with Rohan. The boy comes from an affluent family, but was more or less kicked to the curb when his mutation manifested. He's not quite as hardened as most of the teens at Open Hands. "I've never seen a goat up close before," he ventures, sighing and wiping a stick-like arm across his sweat covered forehead, "Do they bite?"
"Nah, man," Taurus swings around his bull horns, forcing Pete to duck, "They headbutt your ass! Right?" He looks to Rohan for confirmation. He's never met a fucking goat, either.
"Everything with a mouth bites," Rohan declares, the voice of experience. "Some bite more than others." He tosses another weed on the weed pile. "Goats headbutt, too, though. And they climb everything. They also eat /everything/." He imparts goatly wisdom, and glances toward the wall. "Careful on the ladder," he calls out. "If you fall, it'll be messy." Blood is so hard to get out of the ground.
"Dude," Taurus snickers, eyeing Rohan with mischievous amusement, "She's indestructible." He gestures up towards Tati as the super-strong girl bends a metal rain-gutter back into proper shape while she's up there.
"Do you think Luke would let us have a goat? If we promised to take care of it?" Pete asks, raising his eyebrows high into his forehead until they disappear under his massive, curly hair. The question is directed more towards Rohan, since he has more influence than them. "Or chickens?"
"No one's indestructible," replies Rohan firmly. "You just have to hit them the right way. Or have them hit something the right way." Another weed hits the pile. "Also, you ever tried getting a dent /out/ of pavement?" He raises his eyebrows, moving on to almost pull something that looks more like a fledgling carrot, before dodging onto an actual weed at the last moment. "You'd have to ask him," he adds Pete. "I think you would have more luck with the chickens, though. Keep in mind /someone/'s going to have the shovel the shit." Ah, the tender romanticism of a country boy.
Neither of the boys appears to be very eager to shovel goat shit.
As the day progresses and the trio make their way down the vegetable patch, the sun blazes hotter and hotter in the sky. Something about being in a fenced in yard, surrounded by city buildings while doing mindless, repetitive tasks just makes it all that more sweltering.
"Water?" Echo is a newer volunteer, like Rohan. With a porcelain complexion and long, strawberry blonde hair, she mostly avoids the sunny yard-work. Two fin-like growths sprout from either temple. Some might consider them quite grotesque.
Shyly, the redhead skirts over to the lawn furniture to set down a pitcher of water with lemon slices and cucumbers. A ripple runs through the water as it is placed and its ice cubes jingle. Anyone might have seen her slicing them earlier in the kitchen window. Beside it, she places a stack of plastic cups. "Lunch will be ready soon, guys," she smiles sweetly, wiping both hands along her volunteer shirt, "Oh! And I think Siera is back. If you were worried." She looks over to the girls helpfully.
Rohan has spent most of the last two decades in sunny climates, but, even so, eventually the heat seems to be getting to him. The way the sun reflects off the concrete all around, and the constant motion of the weeding seem to grind him down, his shirt clinging lightly to his chest and back with sweat. He wipes his forehead with one dirt-encrusted hand and looks up to the sky, and then to the pitcher of water. Sweet, sweet water. "Break time," he decides, arising slowly, and giving one long stretch to ease his cramped muscles, arms in the air. "Stay hydrated," he reminds the teenagers. "Heatstroke's a bitch." Moving toward the water, he pours himself a cup and flashes a smile at Echo. "Thanks, love."
"Of course," Echo chimes sweetly, averting her eyes shyly to conceal the small tinge of blush that creeps up her neck. She brings a hand to her collar bone, touching herself there as a sort of self-soothing mechanism to combat shyness. "So, are you going to start taking security guard shifts, too? Like your friends?" She asks conversationally. When he finished the small cup, which she suspects he will, she lifts the pitcher to refill it for him.
The kids all seem more interested in Siera than water, although Pete at least does take one cup before disappearing inside.
"My friends?" asks Rohan with the lift of a brow, lifting his cup for the refill. "Oh, you mean X-Factor?" For some reason the association doesn't immediately trigger. A therapist might have fun with that. He takes a sip of water. "I imagine so, although I don't have any shifts as security upcoming."
"Oh, I guess," Echo pants breathily, "I just assumed you'd rather be doing tough guy stuff." She pinches her mouth closed, raising and lowering her eyebrows, "You always look so tough." The young woman smiles, "I was spying while I was washing the dishes, 'cause there's nothing else to do but look out here. But you're really good with them." She nods encouragingly.
Rohan squints at Echo briefly, for a moment looking faintly confused, his forehead furrowed. "I also mould clay and raise kittens in my free time," he informs her with a wave of one hand. (The hand that is not holding the water, thankfully.) "Don't believe what it says on the tin all the time." He breaths a brief laugh. "Kittens are actually easier to herd."
Echo laughs, too. Mostly because she thinks he’s joking about both the clay and the kittens. Her fins give a little pulsing flap. “I bet Luka would let them keep a kitten before he’d let them keep a goat,” she jokes hesitantly, too shy to really confidently try to joke. Batting her lashes, she glances down to the cup, “A little more?” She offers helpfully, teeter-tottering the pitcher.
"Kittens don't eat weeds," replies Rohan. "On the other hand, they probably won't eat the vegetables, either. Probably. Some have odd tastes." He glances down to his cup, and lifts it again. "Sure. Shouldn't be a hypocrite on the importance of hydration."
The young woman laughs, again. She smiles as she tips the pitcher and lets a clean stream of ice cold water pour into Rohan's cup. The pour dances oddly for a moment, as a pulse vibration moves through it. It may be hard to pick up on, what with the movement of her hands during the pour. The active, gentle ripple that remains in his cup might be difficult to notice also, particularly if he isn't exactly keeping still while he talks. That said, the liquid in his cup might as well be on the dashboard of a Jurassic Park vehicle. Echo gestures towards the garden as a distraction as she sets the pitcher back down, "I think you may have made a goat obsolete, though."
Rohan glances toward the garden, and pays no particular attention to his water. Why should he? He's not expecting any harm here. "Well, here's the thing, love," he notes, with a wide gesture of said water glass, and his voice dipped to a confiding tone, "weeds have this way of /growing/ back."
Echo shakes her hair out a bit, letting its light waves float about in the breeze. Her chest heaves in a little sigh, “Don’t I know it.” Her tone is pleasant and doesn’t really insinuate that she has any deeper meaning.
"And everything clean gets dirty again," adds Rohan, with a touch of rue in his voice. "Life, the never-ending struggle against chaos." He tips back his head to drink his water.
Echo isn’t a new mutant, anymore. Her influence, condensed into Rohan’s glass of water, is a force to be reckoned with. Hypnotic vibrations in the water reverberate against their container and the slices of fruit within to circumvent Rohan’s free will. Briefly, the young woman’s happy, expressive eyes ripple. “Drink up,” she says sweetly.
Rohan's gaze shifts to Echo briefly, looking a bit puzzled by...something? Still, he drinks, draining the glass. A drop of water catches on his beard, crystalline in the bright sunlight.
Echo’s eyes ripple, again. Her dainty nostrils flare as she pushes further into the man so that the vibrations continue even as the water slides down his throat. Hypnotic suggestion. She produces a small pair of keys, to an apartment in Brooklyn. The apartment and the set of keys belong to a man who is neither Rohan’s friend, nor hers. Eyes rippling, she holds them out for Rohan to take.
Rohan makes a small choked noise at the back of his throat. He stares at the keys for a long moment, his fingers tightening against the cup in one hand. When he reaches out for the keys, it's with a sudden, swift motion, more instinctive than planned.
"You shouldn't be here," Echo offers sweetly, blinking slowly. She looks down to the keys, then back to Rohan. Her eyes ripple. She offers a subtle tilt of her head. "You know where you should be."
"But," says Rohan. It's all he can get out. But he's supposed to be here. He's responsible for the kids. He can't form any of these protests, his mouth half open. His fingers close over the keys.
Her eyes ripple again and she almost frowns. "Stop resisting me," she pants flirtatiously, drawing her teeth across her bottom lip. She reaches slowly out, pressing her fingers against his to hold up his empty cup. Slowly so as not to disturb his state, she refills his drink. "/I'll/ be here." "Drink." Ripple.
"But," repeats Rohan, as if it is the only word he still remembers to say. It is a softer 'but,' a token protest. He is fighting, every muscle taut with resistance, his mind and body rebelling, but he doesn't really know /how/-- He drinks.
"I love tough guys," Echo coos, pursing her lips in concentration as she watches him drink. "Do you know where you should be?" She persists after he's finished.
The muscles in Rohan's throat ripple as he drinks, drinks down all that sweet cool water. Finishing, he looks down to her. "Bu--" he whispers, voice hoarse, still the faintest murmur of resistance, not even a full syllable now. He looks down to the keys in his hand, glinting in the spring sunshine, every muscle in his arms tense with his resistance.
Echo stops smiling. Her expression goes relaxed and blank. She pours him one more for the road.Rohan drinks. He drinks slowly, awkwardly, his body still stiff and tense, still fighting a fight he has already lost. He is now utterly quiet, a plea in his eyes he cannot act on, even as he turns to leave, keys in hand.