It was getting harder and harder to block out the rest of the Tomorrow People when more and more seemed to be saved and brought back to the Batcave by their mighty captain. No one could blame him for trying to be the hero he was, and she never would. Though he might never call himself a hero, the look of pride on his face when another breakout was kept out of the reach of Ultra — that look was more than enough. The look of pride and knowing he did good kept them all going stronger for a little longer.
It still didn’t help with the fact her mind was occupied by about ten other people, all learning to the same thing each and every single one of them needed to learn — staying out of someone’s mind and staying in their own. Some didn’t mind picking at another’s mind, looking inside and seeing what they could find out, while many hated the thought of it happening and hated being able to feel it when it did happen. All she could do was drown out the chatter and mind poking by standing in the shower and letting the heated water cloud her mind as much as it clouded the bathroom she trapped herself in.
That wasn’t always enough, not as she didn’t even bother with the shower this time, only pushed herself out of bed and out of her room, making her way towards the office that was currently occupied by another as the door was merely cracked. Liz didn’t hesitate to push the door open just barely and peek her head inside, seeing the familiar figure standing in the middle of the room, looking up at the screen that covered the wall. “Got a minute?” She asked, pushing her way in the room without waiting for a reply as she moved by him to lean against the desk behind him.
Jeff clutched his chest after having the wind knocked out of him. We just want to talk. We only want to talk. He wasn’t sure the breakout could hear him though he had to try, keeping his thoughts positive and only on Samuel. We’re like you. Jefferson shot Nate a pained ‘do something’ look as he slowly climbed to his feet, scared he wouldn’t be able to duck down in the off chance Samuel threw another piece of furniture at his head. “We’re here to help.” His voice was much softer this time, desperate. He relaxed slightly as Nate began taking hold of the chair.
“What do you want from me?” screamed Samuel, pupils wide with anger.
“We don’t want anything from you,” Jeff said, taking a step towards the house. “We want to help. Honestly.” He looked at Nate again, searching for a reassuring expression. “We know what’s happening to you. It happened to us not too long ago. You have to listen to—” Jeff couldn’t have made himself any clearer, but the boy vanished before he could finish his statement, the house falling into silence as the breakout disappeared.
Jeff was devastated, ready to fall to his knees and quit. They’d been so close, so fucking close and the kid just up and left. He wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he couldn’t control his teleporting and the stress from their visit made his body send him somewhere else. It was a good defense mechanism, if that’s truly why he’d run off. Jeff looked to the sky, wishing he could track the teleport, but he’d waited too long. He was too in shock to move. And he was hurt. His chest ached from the blast and he was sure he’d sprained his wrist bracing himself. The sound of screeching tires around the corner was cause for concern, but Jeff couldn’t bring himself to turn his head. “Why would you leave if someone’s trying to help you?” he asked quietly, staring at the open door. If he waited long enough perhaps Samuel would return.
The whole scene played out as another failure they wouldn’t be able to accept. This couldn’t be happened again, not when it just happened and left the other guy sitting in his own silence and despair for longer than any one person should. It was the same every single time and it was all starting to add up. Another lost breakout, someone else they couldn’t help. It was one way or anything, though this time it was different. Usually it was Ultra that kept them from helping the person in need. Now it was the person in need who kept them from helping, vanishing before their very eyes before they could even really explain that the kid wasn’t alone.
All they needed was another minute or two to actually explain things, but even that wasn’t enough. Maybe it wouldn’t have been enough anyway. Put anyone in that situation where someone dove into their mind to speak to them telepathically and they would have run off, no matter if they could hear them and communicate right back the same way or not. Breakouts didn’t know any better, not when they were still on their own.
That was what they were there to help with though, so the breakout – Samuel in particular this time – wouldn’t have to be alone in it. It didn’t matter in the end, not when the kid teleported out of their sight and he hesitated in going after him. That slight pause kept him from being able to follow the kid as he stared wide eyed instead of jumping right after. He waited, they both waited, and the kid was gone wherever now.
Looking at the empty space that once held the breakout, he threw his hands over the back of his head in frustration and watched in silence for a moment, waiting for something that could happen. Maybe he would come back, just maybe he would show up. As the seconds ticked and he heard tires screeching, his head quickly turned to look in the direction where the sound came from. A van, the van they had been wanting to avoid, the van they always wanted to avoid but couldn’t seem to no matter how much they tried. “Jeff,” Nate let his hands fall to his sides as he looked from the white van driving down the street to the guy he ended up in front of the house with. “We gotta go,” Without thinking, his hand reached out to grab Jeff’s arm, tugging him in the direction of the house and the open doorway before rushing through it and kicking the door shut behind them. He didn’t stop though, just kept going until he made it into a living area and beyond that to a kitchen when he finally heard brakes screech. As if that wasn’t enough, he felt the house start to shake a little and saw a familiar figure teleport back into the house, standing in the kitchen directly in front of them. “Samuel — we don’t have time. We need to get out of here, the three of us, right now.”
She merely sent a ‘debatable’ into his mind at his decision making comment, and scoffed under her breath at the dig at their infamously mopey leader. One sad mopey zoo lion. But honestly, for as much as they poked fun at him for his usual demeanor, there was a reason for him to be that way. There was a reason for them all to be that way with how many losses there were compared to the wins on the tally of their scoreboard against ULTRA. Not that it was easy to come out victorious against a group with far more man power than they could ever possibly have living the way they did. And yet, moping about it all would give them about as much strength as being disorganized and ill prepared for whatever ULTRA threw at them next. Morale was everything to them. It was one of the few things they really did have. That and their humour, which could get odd at times, but it was one of those things she wasn’t going to pick at.
How worn out and wound up she was about everything recently was becoming clearer the longer she was away from her so called pupils, the quiet din of the Batcave (or as quiet as it would ever get as the Tomorrow People hung around all nooks and crannies on their own) humming around her and giving her time to actually think. Despite how many times the man behind her had come to her about one, a break was a good call for now. She’d take whatever reprimanding Mr. Mopes-A-Lot would give them both for running out on him, especially now and without further warning. Even though a good talking to was well known around the place for being her thing. She could handle it and him.
It wasn’t that they weren’t careful about trips after all. She’d been around long enough to pick up a few tricks and tips here and there, and although she wasn’t the best or most talented telepath by any means, she more than made up for it with the other two T’s. She knew what she was doing, and after a while of living the life of one of the Tomorrow People, her companion knew almost as much as she did. She’d taught him everything she knew after all.
Frowning playfully, she reached behind her and took a hold of his hand. “Not even a little one?” she asked, but before he could answer, she’d already taken five steps forward and they were gone in a quickly fading burst of black and yellow. The ground shifted and dropped from their feet, only to return with force a few seconds later, a force that without previous knowledge of it being there and where they were going, and really without being equipped with the skills that they were, would have sent them into a toppling heap on the ground. But they were better than that.
Quickly gaining back her bearings, she dropped his hand and squinted up at the overcast sky above them, or at least the small sliver of what she could see through the tall buildings flanking their sides, slowly adjusting to the sudden light it provided. It was definitely a huge difference from the dark walls and rafters of their ever dear Batcave.
She’d come across the small, quiet alleyway on one of the food grabs she had run, and it was a pretty good meet up or drop in spot as far as she was concerned. No daunting white and pristine ULTRA building in sight, and far away enough that the two of them wouldn’t show up on their radars until they were long gone from this place. Turning back to him, she folded her hands behind her back, taking a few steps backward before she motioned for him to lead the way. This had been his idea in the first place after all. She’d let him take the lead. “Onwards.”
His head shook at her playful comment about dropping him in a ditch. If he didn’t know any better, his own sense of humor had taken over a mind of its own when it seemed to transfer over to her. That along with the sarcasm the woman already had settled deep down inside of her, it was a dangerous mix. It wasn’t unknown though. His sense of humor and puns – she called them bad, he disagreed – along with his on sarcasm that mixed along with her well known sarcastic remarks and the humor he seemed to pass along to her— that was a combination you wanted to avoid as best as possible. They could go at it for hours, and tended to. Not many could keep up with him and not many could keep up with her, so it kind of worked out pretty well.
Nothing more than an eye roll and forced frown came to him before she grabbed his hand and sent them on their way. Words never even got the chance to pass his lips before she teleported them out of the Batcave on on to somewhere else. Some thought it was different when others teleported them, instead of when they teleported themselves. It had felt the same to him for quite a while now. It wasn’t like that at first – not when his first teleporting experience was him ending up in someone else’s bed – but time passed and it got better. The feeling in his gut of dropping hundreds of feet was nothing he felt anymore. Maybe it was just a few feet, something like jumping off a short ledge or out of a two story window, but that was it.
The small and quiet alleyway was a different sight for him, probably for her too with how much time they had spent in the Batcave recently. He had mentioned an outing to her a few times and neither followed through with it until now. They needed the break, needed the fresh air, needed a view that was something different than the walls they stared at all the time.
With the change of scenery came the all too bright sun that beamed down on them, causing him to reach into his jacket pocket and slide on his sunglasses. They had been there for the simple reason that he planned on skipping out for a bit, with or without the company of his accomplice. Of course he was willing to bet it would be with her, even if he had to drag her out.
"If you insist," A nod of his head and he headed the only way they could go— out of the alleyway. Clearly she had been here before or else she wouldn’t have dropped them there. He didn’t recognize it but knew the surroundings well enough when they walked out of the alley and stopped to see the people walking by and cars passing in the street. Waiting a second, he pointed a finger back and forth along the sidewalk before turning on his heel and heading left. Truthfully, he had no idea where they were going yet, but stretching his legs and getting the fresh air he was breathing in was a good start. "Thanks for not dropping me in a ditch, by the way."
One would think that having an arsenal of superpowers at your disposal would make it easier to get around town, but really it just made them all hermits. Maybe if things were different, it wouldn’t be that way, but it wasn’t, and she wasn’t going to spend precious time thinking or wishing for a change.
Not that she wouldn’t fight for one. Maybe she wasn’t the type to stride right into ULTRA headquarters with her head held high and her metaphorical guns ablazing, but she was fighting their hunters every day by keeping the ones like her safe, just as Rhea and their ever so dear captain had done for her when she had been just like the ones she was so infamously known for driving into the ground. Each breakout they retrieved was another one out of the hands of ULTRA, and she had to be okay with the fact that sometimes that was as much of a battle as they all could muster with their given hand, and still win. Really, some people around the Batcave had to start realizing that too, and learn it. Perhaps along with the taking a break thing. Guilty as charged.
“You do raise a good point. Unless you end up eating it all first.” Around him, she honestly sometimes couldn’t help with the teasing, and she grinned once again as she continued on. “Maybe if we bring back Jeff’s favourite we have a better chance of him not blowing his top,” she shrugged.
At this point, she was merely talking herself into going topside with him. Not that he would have taken a no for an answer, she was sure, unless she was really determined at dissuading him, and sometimes she did. But nothing any of them ever did was without their risks. And that was just life for them. And sometimes things just had to get done no matter what the risks were. She’d seemed to have forgotten that in the past couple of weeks, with the coming and going and the new breakouts and ULTRA hot on their tail. Just like they often noted their usually stoic leader to be guilty of. Plus, it had been a while since she was topside without food or a breakout to bring in anyway, nothing that wasn’t a there and back as soon as possible ordeal.
Humming a laugh, her grin stayed in place. “Smart decision, really.”
She rolled her eyes then, but her smile never left her lips as she stepped into a clear space on the floor beyond the random assortment of mismatched couches, shaking her head. “You know, you and your lone love for puns never ceases to astound me.”
Turning around once more to face him, she seemed to ponder over his hypothetical accusation with an amused expression coloring her features. “Well, if that’s the case, forget the pizza. But I bet you the next food hop chaperone that he’s in there listening to The Sound of Silence on repeat.” With a wave of her hand, she summoned the jacket she’d tossed over the side of a chair at the far wall to her, weaving her arms through the sleeves before tugging on the front to straighten it out. “Now or never. Ready to go?”
They all needed to work hard, be careful, stay off Ultra’s radar as best as humanly possible, even when it seemed nearly impossible. This wasn’t anything new, but somethings needed to be cracked down. The organization had been doing more cracking down than usual, popping in and out and keeping an eye on anything and everything in sight. More and more breakouts were lost to them as time went on. Their own group could only do so much before Ultra showed up and took things into their own hands. It’s as if Ultra was a step ahead of them – and they were. That made it all that much more difficult. Ultra seemed to know all with their extra agents, more technology, and a leader ready to do whatever they pleased. They would probably wipe out the world if need be.
But even with all the work, there had to be a little fun. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. As cryptic as it sounded, it was the truth. Some people around the Batcave slouched around, feeling anything but good at times because they couldn’t very well just skip out of their hideout, not unless they wanted to put everyone at risk. It was tiring, being stuck down there most of the time, but they had to make do with what they had.
This was a somewhat rare moment of making do with what they had – time off, time for absolutely nothing. It was so rare they hardly knew what to do with it. The basic walking around their big city was one thing, while he was always up for food along with it. The possibilities were endless, so long as they stayed off Ultra’s radar.
"I can’t make any promises," He wouldn’t, not when it came to pizza, and really not when it came to getting out to order up any kind of food they wanted. "Our great leader, blowing his top? That doesn’t sound like him at all."
Unless it came to people getting hurt, people running off without question, people getting caught by Ultra, something going wrong. Maybe there were the few occasions when he did blow his top, but most were reasonable enough. If they left without a heads up, that would be reason enough for him to make it happen. It wouldn’t be the first time he witnessed it, or was the cause of it.
"My decisions usually are."
He didn’t bother hiding the slight smirk as he pushed himself to stand up and rub his hands together. A trip out would do them good, until they got back and had to hear about it from the captain, but that was for later. “Good to know I astound you, J.D.”
A cheeky grin crossed his features as he took a few steps towards her, making his way to the center of the room. Turning his head to look down the hall that could lead to any of them rooms – the office Jeff was held up in included – he lifted his shoulders into a shrug before dropping them and turning back to look at her again. “I’d put money down on it that he’s in there having a nice chat with TIM, doing more leader work,” They were probably both right, a mixture of both usually taking place in that little office space. Giving her a single nod, he held his hand out as a motion for her to walk and he’d follow, even though they knew walking wouldn’t be the case. “Lead the way, and don’t drop me in a ditch.”
Jefferson faltered under Nate’s pat. While the idea was a good one he selfishly didn’t want to take the newbie out for pizza. Nate’s hand on his back was the closest he’d come to action in over a month. He was starved for physical attention; so much so that he constantly thought about begging someone to kiss him. The girls tended to cuddle in his bed when he least wanted them to, when his hands craved to wander and he spent the night battling not to touch them when he could’ve been sleeping. He didn’t want pizza with a third person. He needed bonding time with his friend, the one male friend he had, to talk about getting laid. Fuck, he needed to get laid.
He knocked without hesitating, without looking around further. A move that might possibly get them killed but Jeff’s mind was elsewhere. He remembered his last run-in with Ultra all too well. More specifically his last run-in with a woman he used to call his ally. “You think she’s happy?” he asked out of the blue, waiting for Samuel to answer the door. Don’t ask who, he thought, on the off chance Nate read his mind. The situation would be different if she were a double agent. Pretending to work for Ultra while actually helping the Tomorrow People. He couldn’t think about her name – Lizbeth – without growling under his breath. How could she have betrayed them so quickly?
Everything that happened on his last mission came flooding back: his mistakes and the mistakes of his teammates. Lately it didn’t seem like they could do anything right, like he wasn’t the leader he should be. “Nate,” he said, eyes widening as the door flew open.
“Get out!” shouted the teenager, blasting Jeff backwards and onto his back.
Jefferson groaned and turned, wishing he was better with telekinesis. “He’s gonna bring Ultra down on his head using like that,” he muttered, glaring at the boy he assumed to be Samuel. “We just want to talk!” he called, afraid to stand while the boy hulked out. “We know what’s happening to you! We can help!” Jeff threw his arm over his face, protecting himself in case Samuel decided to fling anything his direction.
The furniture behind Samuel spun like a tornado was inside his house. “Want pizza?” he asked, making a last ditch effort at calming the boy.
The sudden question completely caught him off guard, since they hadn’t spoken about her much recently. A name didn’t even need to be said for him to know who the other man was talking about. Was she happy? That wasn’t something they had any clue about and it wasn’t something they should care about, not when she abandoned them. Nate tried to find a way around it, figure out why she would have left and see a different point of view, but it seemed nearly impossible. “I think you shouldn’t worry about it,” None of them should, especially not the two of them with the situation they were in. They needed to talk to this new breakout and help him, not worry about a possible lost cause.
She very well might have been a lost cause, but this new breakout might not of been. The two could talk to him, bring him back to the Batcave, make sense of everything that was happening to him when it seemed like the most unlikely thing. He knew the situation, still remembered his own just like they all did. Having someone show up and tell you things weren’t normal but they could be, it was weird, it was different. But that was the case and maybe this would be fine, maybe things would be okay. Talk to the teenager, let him know things would be okay and they could help.
Things never really came that easy to them though, not when the door flew open and Jeff got sent backwards. Son of a bitch, he thought as his eyes widened while looking back at his friend before looking again at the kid inside. “All we want to do is talk,” His words were calm and steady before he continued on with his mind. 'We can help you,' If only it were that easy.
His words did nothing and the telepathic waves probably didn’t help any when Samuel’s eyes widened but didn’t stop the furniture moving around inside the house behind him. “He’ll bring the house down on his head if he keeps using like that,” Nate sent a concerned look over his shoulder at Jeff before looking back at the breakout. “We can help you, but not if you’re planning on flinging your sofa at us. We just want to talk, that’s it.”
He words continued to do nearly nothing, and Jeff’s comment about pizza nearly made his eyes roll into the back of his head as he shot him another look before focusing in on the furniture behind the boy and using telekinesis to calm it and lower an arm chair back to the hardwood floor. Thankfully the streets were still pretty bare and no one was around to see people moving pieces of furniture around. “Let’s just talk.”
“Too much fun with what?” he asked, casting Nate his most innocent of looks. Jefferson’s best ability was teleportation, but he couldn’t keep out of people’s heads if he tried. He liked knowing their secrets, what made them tick and what buttons to avoid or push depending on the circumstances. His guiltiest pleasure was mind reading while in bed. Some called it cheating; Jeff called it using his talent. He laughed as Nate called out to the girl. “And you say I have too much fun?”
He caught the street sign as they crossed the road and made a note they were only one block away from Samuel. Jeff was nervous. No matter how many breakouts he helped bring in he always felt slightly nauseous before meeting a new Tomorrow Person. What if Ultra caught them? What if it was a trap? The same doubts and questions filled his head and he ignored them as usual. Hesitation got people killed. Jeff knew better.
His stomach growled and he turned to Nate. “Should’ve went for pizza.”
The house was nothing like Jeff imagined it would. The yellow paint had begun to peel on the sides and the front window didn’t have a screen. They weren’t in a bad neighborhood, so why the dingy house? A bad feeling wrapped around him so tightly he felt suffocated, but he didn’t want to retreat. “Look alive,” he grumbled, walking up to the door like he owned the place.
His brow rose at the man’s first question. He knew Jeff liked having fun with it, liked listening in, even when he really shouldn’t. That wasn’t exactly Nate’s things, but there were times when even he couldn’t help it. An accidental listen in happened on occasion, and sometimes the not so accidental. One thing he didn’t do was snoop around in someone’s mind, but he certainly listened in and paid attention when Jeff did it, just like he had now, and it caused Nate to lift his shoulders into a shrug as he chuckled.
His eyes scanned over the area as they walked, taking in anything and everything. They teleported in, possibly putting them on Ultra’s radar, but they did it far enough away from the house to where they should be okay. That’s why he did it, not just giving them the exercise from the bite to eat they would get. A little walking space between the mark they came in at and the one they were heading to never hurt anyone.
The talk of pizza before made him hungry, even more of it made it worse as he reached out and patted Jeff on the back once and gave him a nod. “After. We can even get some for the new guy.”
That was as long as things went well, but they would, he was sure of it. Except the house didn’t seem to be a good sign, not in the slightest. “Jeff,” As the other man walked up the stairs, he looked over the front of the house. The peeling and chipped paint, the mess of the place, the lack of noise he heard. He squinted his eyes as he turned to look around at the street. A car drove by, nothing out of the ordinary. The street itself seemed fine, the neighborhood seemed normal enough, but the house seemed out of place as he turned to look back up at it. Following in his leaders footsteps – quite literally – he walked up the stairs and kept his eyes on the door before looking over at a window and trying to get a glance inside.
She sat up a little straighter as her eyes glanced over at him again, the eye roll she caught making her fold her arms over her chest with a look as if she were about to chastise him like a mother with her rambunctious whining teenager. But ‘don’t you roll your eyes at me young man’ came out as: “it’s not torture, it’s teaching them how to survive. They sort of need that. But fine, we’ll go out for fresh air and pizza and bowling, or whatever.”
She might not have been the one most known for her humor, except around a select few, and she might not have been the one most known for her relaxed and laid back attitude (she shared that trait with their dear captain, in some ways), but egg her on enough, and she was incredibly well known around the Batcave for her insatiable need to meet a challenge and prove competition wrong. The new breakouts knew that all too well, if they didn’t end up learning it soon enough. They stopped questioning her skills or her guidance after that. But he wasn’t a breakout, not anymore, and they’d known each other long enough for him to know just how to push her buttons. Maybe a little too well. He always managed to get into her head that way. And she was not about to be compared to her uptight leader the next time she said no to the man beside her. She had a feeling it was coming.
Standing up, she dusted off the invisible dirt from her jeans before glancing one more time at Jeff’s closed ‘office’ door. “I can be very persuasive when I want to, Nate,” she said before returning her gaze down to him still on the couch. “Plus, who knows, if we put our talents together, we might be able to come up with something. If anything, you’ll just pun hard enough at him to get him to teleport out of here,” she added with a slow spreading grin.
If anyone needed to survive, it was them. The amount of times their kind got snatched up by Ultra was a number they had lost count of long ago, long before they even found and brought him back to the Batcave. Most newer breakouts were lost, unsure of what was going on with them. Some just thought they were going crazy with no way of coming back from it. Wake up in someone else’s bed, hear things that couldn’t be explained, accidentally move things without lifting a finger. They would be lost without the training. He might mess with her about it, tell her she pushed them too hard, but she really pushed just hard enough. It was only torture when she had fun with it. “They also need food in order to survive, which makes me think bringing back a pizza or two wouldn’t actually be a bad idea.”
Did he want to get out, get a break and fresh air, maybe a little fun? Sure. They could all use it, but they couldn’t all go out at once, not with a certain organization looking to find them in a large group and do whatever they wanted with them. It was a risk to even leave their comfort zone of a home, and even more risky when they used their abilities. Sometimes they couldn’t help it, sometimes they need to use one or another, and other times they just wanted to. Teleporting was the easiest way of getting around, but it was also the most dangerous. You do it and you risk getting caught on the radar you definitely did not want to get caught on. That was why the newer breakouts stayed back at the Batcave while the others – the ones who had been around longer – went out to do and get what they needed. Don’t risk someone who still teleports in their sleep when it’ll only end up getting them all caught. So they needed to train, needed to learn, needed to survive, and still needed a break when they could get it.
Maybe one day soon they would all get it, even the younger and newer ones would get the chance to take a breath of fresh air and feel the sun. They weren’t locked up down there, but they had to make do with what they got. “You can also be terrifying when you want, but I like to avoid that side of you.” The corner of his lips lifted into a grin as he pushed himself to stand up and stretch a little before turning to look at the same door she had looked at. Their great leader, locking himself away again. That guy needed a break more than the rest of them. “I know you probably didn’t mean that in a good way,” Turning to look back at her, he continued on with another grin. “But I’ll accept that as a compliment. If I can pun someone out of the room, it’s been a good day.” And if they could just get their captain out for a minute or two – an hour or two would be nice, but there was no need to push it – it would be an even better day. “We don’t even know if he’s alive in there, or even in there. You know, he probably makes us believe he’s sulking in there, when in fact he’s actually out having a blast.”
“We’re gonna scare him,” Jeff said, laughing as he smiled. It felt good to laugh and even better to smile, especially around Nate. Nate was probably the only person Jeff was completely himself around. He hid things for J.D. and although he called Rhea his best friend, his feelings for her were sometimes overwhelming so he held his tongue. Nate was his buddy, his bro. Aside from his brother (who liked to pop in and out of his life) Jeff never really had a male friend. Nate was certainly one of a kind.
Jeff closed his eyes and waited for the transport to be over. Without fail his stomach jumped every time someone else teleported him, like he was in a plane experiencing turbulence. He never understood why his stomach didn’t lurch when he teleported somewhere, but assumed it was another downfall of their powers. “I’m sorry did you say something about me going down on a pizza?” He was a good leader, some might even call him a great one, but that didn’t change the fact his mind was constantly in the gutter. “’Cause that can be arranged.” Food sounded good; talking to Samuel Carver sounded better. “After we gay it up of course.” He reached out to give Nate a love tap in the chest before walking off, winking back at him.
Jefferson passed a group of loud teenage girls on the sidewalk and decided to turn on his telepathy. “Looks like Tommy’s cheating again,” he said, glancing over to Nate. “I don’t know why she’s still with him. After all, she broke girl code to date him.” Jeff left their minds quickly, not wanting them to overhear his reenactment of their thoughts. He knew it was a breach of privacy, but mind reading was his biggest guilty pleasure.
If Jeff wasn’t the most typical mind-in-the-gutter guy, Nate didn’t know who was. At this point he had gotten used to it, and wasn’t even surprised to hear the jokes when they got thrown out. It was all too common, but it was still kind of rare when other people were around. Nate noticed that about they other guy, noticed he seemed a little more open when they were alone and weren’t surrounded by a ton of people back in the Batcave. It wasn’t bad, actually kind of made him feel good about himself, knowing their captain and his friend felt comfortable enough to throw out the jokes or just be himself completely.
He shook his head as a breathy laugh came from him. More typical nature from the guy as they walked by the teenage girls. If he had a guilty pleasure, he would probably say it was telekinesis, but even then it never reached the level of Jeff and reading minds. Oh the things he found out when they went to get a new breakout, just walking around, getting wrapped up in other people’s minds with ease. Nate understood it.
“I think you have a little too much fun with that,” Turning his head, he glanced over at Jeff for a second before throwing his voice behind them, knowing the teenage girls weren’t too far away yet. “Trust me, honey, you’re better off without him.” His shoulders lifted into a shrug as they kept walking, another light laugh passing his lips as they rounded a corner and he looked over at Jeff, seeing the look on his friends face. “Well she does.”
In return for his efforts, all he got was a look and a shake of her head, a partial smile gracing her lips before she straightened out on the couch. She knew it though. How important humor was to people like them. Down here, sometimes it was the only thing they had when things turned for the worst, and though she might not ever say it, he was good for that. For them. Though he’d probably hear her think it if he was to go searching about her mind. Which he knew she hated, so he barely every did.
"I thought you were already doing that. Every day. All the time. 24/7. Don’t tell me you need someone to hold your hand through that now too."
"And honestly, I’m not the worst of us, or the one who needs it the most," she added, nodding over to their fearless leader’s closed office door, probably brooding about yet another mistake or other. There was always something to mull over for him. Both of them knew that well. "Misdirected charity, hon."
Everyone knew who really needed the break yet still would never take one around here, even the new breakouts who were only a few days in to their new life underground. And she was okay. She didn’t have the ever growing itch to run and go give the sunlight a much needed visit, and she didn’t let the mountain worth of stress filing their home get to her. Not like other people. She didn’t show it at least, as best she could. God only knew how much they needed the least stress possible around here, and adding to the bubble wouldn’t do anyone any good.
A slightly uncommon eye roll came from him as he turned his head to look forward instead of looking at her. Every single one of them needed that break at one point or another. Even if it was nothing, barely lasted a minute or two before they went back to what they always did, it was still better than nothing. She knew it, he knew it, they all knew it.
"Yes, this is so much fun. Sitting here, watching you torture the new breakouts. I don’t know why I would want anything like fresh air or a pizza or bowling."
Bowling was a little random, but people had fun with that, didn’t they? Either way, it was something to get them out and feel normal, feel less pressured. Normal was something they weren’t, never really had been. They didn’t get the easy things in life, any real sense of normalcy when there was basically nothing too normal about any of them. No, that wasn’t entirely true. They were Tomorrow People, but they were still just people. Sometimes he rode the thin line on that one.
"If you think you can ever get the great one out of there and out of here— be my guest," It would only be slightly impossible and pointless to try when he locked himself away like he did. "I don’t think it’s very likely, but we could spend forever trying if that’s how you want to spend your time."
How did he want to spend his time? He thought as he leaned his head back against the couch again. A little fresh air could do any of them good, that was a proven fact. Get held up down there too long and anyone would start to lose it. That and a little change of scenery for a few minutes never hurt.
"Always," she said with a grinning reply, fully intent on teasing the other man as per usual.
She wasn’t about to be one upped by the joker after all. Maybe she wasn’t known to be fun, and most people doubted she was, but she could joke with the best of them when the opportunity came along. With a lucky few. It wasn’t a side that most people got to see, unless they got close to her, and most people weren’t given the chance to get close to her at all.
Most people didn’t get to see her relax. Even if she could. As much as she chided Jeff on worrying too much, she was almost just as bad. Maybe just not on the little things. She could let the small things slide with ease, but the big things, being refugees in their own country, hunted down by people that wanted to experiment on them or worse, ULTRA, staying alive, it never quite went away enough to call whatever she did in her downtime a break.
"Plus, I doubt that Jeff would really appreciate the opportunity to pop another brain aneurysm if he found out where we were off to." God only knew just how stressed out the dear captain was already.
Acting as if he was hurt, he forced his face to twist in pain as his hand reached up to rest atop his heart. Not many could throw a joke back in his face or tease him quite a quickly, but she could.
Any one of them could be serious when the time called for it, make a joke and laugh when the time was right, though the last part was rare. They could relax and crack jokes when they weren’t be hunted by people who were out to take their powers or worse, end them completely if given the chance. Some of the newer breakouts didn’t know any better, not until they got to see what happened when they joked at the wrong time. Over time they saw, some witnessing first hand what it was like and seeing how little fun it could be.
It was a shame. They had to grow up fast, run and hide to keep themselves safe when they weren’t the bad guys, definitely not the worst people out in the world, but that didn’t matter to Ultra. They were the group that hunted, took what they wanted, ran tests and did research on a person – most of the time without consent – and even left them for dead. Ultra did what they wanted, keeping most of the Tomorrow People from having and enjoying down time.
"And we wouldn’t want that," Everyone stressed out, but no one more than their great leader. "But someone needs to stop and enjoy the moment." Someone meaning all of them.