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Break The Ice (IC)


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February 8th, 2013
6:58 pm
Claremont Academy

Darren adjusted his rear view mirror, tilted it down so he could look at himself. He stared at his blue eyes a moment, ran one finger around the lower lid to smooth the lashes, and then bent the mirror back into place. The Mercy's engine hummed quietly as he idled at the edge of the Claremont visitor parking lot. Darren faced the steering wheel and twisted his nerves back into shape. He tapped the radio on and turned the volume down so he could focus on looking out the passenger window towards the dorms.

Darren checked the clock: six fifty-eight. Elias was supposed to meet him at seven, and the whole thing was rapidly starting to resemble a date more than he'd intended. His sister had teased him relentlessly over it and, to his unending embarrassment, accused him of not knowing how to do actual 'friend stuff'. He tried not to think about it too hard, not totally convinced that Elias wouldn't hear him worrying, and instead occupied his thoughts with curses about Anna's incredible ability to push his buttons.

“It's gotta be part of the powers.†Darren touched his forehead to the steering wheel and sighed. “How does he not have a phone? Come on, Elias, 2013.â€

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He didn't need it anymore, but he still wore the sling on his left arm, because he was obsessive. Not stupid. The line was faint, but there. Stil he was banged up good. Still hand bandages on, but he refused to lay still, he new he didn't really have much of a choice. He made his way, actually being early, enough to be standing beside the driver door looking at Darren be dramatic, and he raised a brow artfully.

Elias rapped the knuckles of his right hand on the window. "I did not purchase a phone, is there a problem with this?" His tone as dry as ever.

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Knock knock.

Darren jumped in his seat as something tapped the glass behind him. The seatbelt pulled snug and he struggled to turn enough to see Elias standing there outside his window on the wrong side of the car. He pulled the belt away from his neck so he wasn't quite so crushed into his seat and rolled the window down. Darren gave Elias a mild glare.

“Thank you for that heart attack. And yes, it's a problem. But, like, not one to get into now.†Darren softened, but still let out an overdrawn sigh. He tipped his head to the right, towards the passenger side. “Get in. Or do you need help, what with the sling there?â€

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"No, I am fine." Giving him a funny look at that question, of course he was taking it entirely too literally, but then that was how he was. He moved over to the other side of the car, and opened the passenger door and he sat down in the seat, before moving to pull the seatbelt around him without any problem. "Sorry to have upset you over something like that, but I wasn't in my dorm." He spent very little time in there, if he could help it, truth be told. "You were intent, I would have startled you unless I had walked from that side."

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As Elias made his way around the car, Darren rolled up his window and drummed his fingers over the steering wheel. Cold air rushed in when the door opened; Darren rubbed his hands together and bumped the heat a little higher while Elias got seated. Darren shrugged at his passenger before shifting the Mercy into drive and pulling away from the curb. “Don't worry about it, I was just, like, surprised. Not upset.â€

He drove away from the Claremont campus and turned the car north towards Freedom City proper. Traffic was light so early in the evening and Darren drove fast. “So, have you ever done this before? The ice skating, I mean. I used to go all the time back in New York, but, like, I haven't been in a few years.†Darren glanced at Elias when he came to a stop light. “It might be hard in a sling, we can go a different day.â€

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"Why are you surprised, you want to meet seven, I arrived a minute early." That he knew what time it was would not be surprising, especially considering how much of an odd duck he was. Turning his head to look at Darren with an arched brow, then shaking his head. "Mm, I can still use the arm it was just a spiral fracture. I have never ice skated before, never lived in a place where it was necessary. You don't ice skate in Antartica." Settled back in the chair, and frowned a little, his manner not changing much despite the fact that including the arm, there was several cuts on his face.

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"Pffft." Darren sputtered. "It's not necessary, like, anywhere. Well, maybe some parts of Siberia, there's some big ice lakes out there. But everywhere else, it's just something you do for fun, just like any other sport." He pulled the car into another parking lot, a small one that was already mostly full. The lot jutted up against a seasonal ice rink along the outskirts of Freedom.

Darren put the Mercy in park and cut the engine, then twisted around to the backseat and grabbed two pairs of new ice skates hiding in the dark. He handed one set to Elias. He opened the driver side door to hang his feet out into the brisk evening air, then started exchanging his boots for the white leather skates. As he tightened the laces, he kept talking. "I hope these actually fit, but I'm pretty sure you can rent some if they don't. Leave the blades capped until you get on the ice or, like, you can mess them up."

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"Outside of New Freedom temperatures were generally around forty below, or more." On quirk was that he did tend to relate things in the metric and celsius scales. But then he wasn't from the United States, so it made sense. He moved and slide his arm free of the sling, before he moved to take off his shoes, and then put on the the ice skates. "Little big, but I will be fine. Thank you." Leaving the covers on per his request, he slowly got to his feet, and put his arm back in the sling, giving himself a few wobbly steps as he was sorting out the whole balance thing. "Hm.

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Darren nodded, both to Elias and to himself, then shut and locked up the car. He pulled a scarf out of his coat pocket and wrapped it perfectly around his neck as he walked around the car with a click click. Darren crossed his arms. "The balance isn't too bad on normal ground, right? Like, it can kinda wear out your legs since you're just on those edges, but you're standing just fine. The ice, though, that's the real mess." He giggled as he clopped over to an entrance onto the rink, which was attended by a young woman tightly bundled up. Darren put down a fifty and waved away the change, then signaled for Elias to follow.

He put one hand on the short wall that encircled the rink as he slid the covers off the blades of his skates, lip between his teeth in concentration. The covers disappeared into a coat pocket and he stood there at the edge of the rink - completely still. Darren looked up at the other skaters, mostly couples of varying ages and kids, and drew in a breath. He released his iron grip on the rail, pushed himself back a few feet, and then smiled. "This is already going better than I expected. Something to be said for muscle memory." Darren put his feet into a V and made his way over to Elias to offer him a hand. "I'm not really a good teacher, but, like, I promise I won't laugh too much when you fall down."

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He stopped then, and tilted his head to the side a little bit, and frowned, just a small bit, in concentration at the edge of the rink. Brows knitting together as his lips pursed slightly. Then after a few moments, he stepped out onto the ice, and his legs went out in front of him. Less than two feet in, and Elias landed on his rear. Hard. "Gah!" Making an annoyed expression over this now, grumbling. As he slowly rolled and pushed himself to his knees, and then scrambled with one good hand to the edge, and use that little wall to pull himself up.

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Darren held his fist to his lips and tried to muffle his laugh. Almost instantly, Elias fell back to the ice, and though he was quick to recover, Darren knew his offer was going to be impossible to keep. He slide forward and came to a rest at the wall next to Elias. With one hand on the wall itself, he directed Elias with the other. "Alright, that's good. I guess maybe, like, I should have started you with step one, standing. Just hold on to the wall and focus on your legs. And, like, keep your feet like mine." Darren tipped his head down towards his toes - his skates were almost parallel with just a hint of a V. He started to skate backwards slowly. "Keep your balance up high, knees bent, and just, like, try taking steps. Don't worry about skating, just get used to the whole bladed-shoe-on-ice thing. You're a smart guy, I'm sure you'll get it."

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Elias was unsteady for a moment, and he growled, rather frustratedly, as he was limited to one arm for the whole process, and he stopped, and held himself still, and focused on feeling how people moved over the ice, which helped somewhat. Drawing in a deep breath, and collecting himself, he pushed off the wall,and he moved over the ice then. He wasn't miraculously amazing, but he was focusing very hard on not falling, and succeeding at that. "I am trying to resist the urge of learning this from all of you around me."

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Darren quirked an eyebrow as he continued to skate backwards in front of Elias, sluggish enough to stay close. "How would that, like, work, exactly? Telepathy or telehaptics." He smiled at the memory of making up the word for Elias' benefit, then waved the thought away. Darren tapped the front of one blade against the ice. "I guess if you were a bad guy, you'd, like, rip into someone's head and steal it, like a brain Xerox, huh? Just reading someone's nerves and copying them. Or are you more feeling how everyone else is moving and trying to translate it to muscle memory? At least it isn't totally invasive even if it's kinda weird. But resisting the easy way out, how admirable, really."

Darren slid away and spun twice with a drop into a low sweep at the end. He pushed himself back up to standing with a grunt and squeezed his legs between his fingers. "Little stiff and cold." When he looked back at Elias, he frowned. "How're you doing? I mean, after the whole, like, wrath thing? I know there's some people at school having a hard time, so what about you?"

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"I can feel how people's weight shifts and moves on the ground, that doesn't... turn off ever." And he frowned a little and as he opened his eyes and looked at Darren. "I remember everything, I see the world differently... as for learning... well, it's a guess I've never tried it. I think I could do it..." Shifting his weight and he was picking it up quickly, but then Elias was good at that, using all the disparate things he had picked up and managing to work something together with them. And he didn't seem perturbed that Darren found his accident funny.

"Why would I have a hard time?" Though it would be pretty evident, if one thought about it, that his injury matched up to the Day of Wrath pretty well.

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"Really? You can't turn it off or tune it out?" Darren smacked his lips and grinned. "Sounds like it would get annoying, just feeling stuff like. This. All. Day." He punctuated each word with a stomp to the ice. On the last, he slipped and staggered into the wall. With a huff and a thin blush, Darren regained his balance and brushed his hands down his coat. "And I don't know why you would, that's, like, why I'm asking. I mean, it's pretty obvious you got hurt physically, I'm just checking to see if that's all. I didn't want to assume that you're as relatively okay with everything that happened as I am since, like, I don't think that's very normal."

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Looking down at him flatly for a long moment, and he blinked a bit. "Can you turn off your sense of touch? ... Or.. what's the word... 'snark?'" Shaking his as Darren slipped and he easily glided up to the wall, and stopping against it, looking down at him. "Hmm. I don't have anywhere else to go, do I Darren? I don't have a home outside of here, so I am here. Do you want really want to have a conversation about this?" Shrugging a little bit, and then pushing back from the wall, and slowly turning as he moved, sliding backwards while looking at Darren still.

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"Touch, no. Snark...yes." Darren touched the back of his neck and looked down at his feet. He turned a little pinker, though he told himself it was the cold and not his own embarrassment. His fingers traced under his scarf and around the collar of his jacket. "I can tone it down if you want me to. I mean, like, I will. Of course I can. If you'd like." Darren closed his eyes and his face did a sort of scrunching almost as if he was in pain. He tapped his molars together behind closed lips and looked back at Elias. "And I only want to talk about if, like, there's something to talk about. I am trying to be a friend right now and you may have noticed that doing so is difficult for me, so don't get all...all...obfuscation-ary on me. Are you alright or not?"

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"And you are going to be self-conscious about this and be on the defensive. It's how people are. I don't dissemble. I am very bad at it. Really you should be the one who doesn't obfuscate towards me. I can see into you heart. I know your nightmares." And then he lifted his head and just took stock of their surroundings for a moment.

"Also I can shapeshift." The delivery was done in perfect deadpan manner, something Elias was probably the undisputed master at school of. Maybe. "My shoulder was dislocated, I have a spiral fracture in forearm, and my wrist and elbow are sprained. I suffered a concussion, several lacerations and stab wounds. Seven cracked/and or bruised ribs. I was surrounded by people going crazy. But I am not the one nursing a bruised ego right now, so I am considerably better. Did your sister say something to get under your skin about the friendship thing?"

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Darren pursed his lips, but didn't say anything. He didn't want to give Elias any more ammunition, even if the idea of keeping secrets from a telepath was completely absurd. Of course he was self-conscious and defensive. He couldn't deny that - or, he could, but trying to get a lie past Elias seemed nothing short of impossible. So, instead, Darren folded his arms and tapped his fingers against his elbows, then gave Elias a stony face.

"My ego is not bruised. Not over wrath, since I did a pretty damn good job protecting Claremont under, like, the circumstances, and not over this, since I'm just a little flustered. Talking with you is just different from how I talk to everyone else and I'm still getting used to it." Darren sighed through his nose. "And, okay, yeah, she totally thinks we're boyfriends and that this is a date when it clearly isn't, so, yes, you're right. But you're not a shapeshifter."

He lifted a hand to point at himself and a smile broke across his face. "The last one I met, like, tried to pretend to be me, which was so totally flattering even though I was pretty upset about it at the time. I hope that's not too conceited."

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"I never said that was why your ego was bruised. Your sister said something that holds some truth, or believe it does, though it doesn't really matter, but that is what is bruising your ego and irking you. Could be about me or someone or something else." He shrugged and looked to the side, and everyone else. "I don't know how boyfriends works, so I couldn't say if we were, though you do seem to obsess over it, and from what I've seen since coming to Claremont... that means you do feel something along those lines." Shrugging as he looked back to him, "I've never even thought about my sexuality... that was not important to survival. My apologies for not playing by the social rules you are used to." Even his genuine contrition was a little monotone.

"Well... if I was a shapeshifter, wouldn't I want you to think that I wasn't? Loses it's value when you announce it to the world." And then he pushed off and closed the distance between them, hip checking Darren lightly against the wall, and making eye contact with his startling contrasting eyes.

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"Nothing to apologize for." Darren managed to get the words out before Elias knocked him into the wall. He stumbled and crumpled onto the wall for support as he struggled to maintain his footing on the ice. When he looked up at Elias, he furrowed his brow and huffed at him, then slid his skates back together to get upright. "Really?"

He kept one hand gripped on the wall in case Elias tried to bowl him over a second time. "Anyway, we're not. Boyfriends, that is. We're friends who happen to be boys." Darren tilted his head and closed his eyes. "If I seem like I'm obsessing over it, I'm sorry. I think it's just been a long time since I've, like, liked someone in even a normal friends way. It's just...ugh, one of those little personal problems that I pretend not to have, but that trying to hide from you is totally pointless." He smirked. "And the whole social misfit thing is part of what I like about you, don't worry about it."

Darren blinked and gave Elias a sly look. "Couldn't you tell the world you're a shapeshifter, then, like, turn into someone else? It's a secret you can put back in its box if you want. Kind of brilliant that way, I think."

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"Then you are good at romantic entanglements?"  Literal Elias being literal, as he pushed away away from the wall and out into the rink proper, shifting a little to turn away from someone he was approaching, without looking at him.  It was hard for him to not use his powers, after all he had them as far back as he could remember.


"Then they are looking for you.  The trick is that no one can know.  Omission is best tactic.  You aren't lying, and you can hold back what you are telling."  Said with the note of sage wisdom that came from someone who exercised the process.  "And my understanding, is that if you are interested in the same gender you are a social misfit on some level.  I understand why it is thought down on in New Freedom, less so here."

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"Good might be a bit of an exaggeration. Like, experienced would be better." Darren relinquished his grip on the wall as Elias skated away. After a moment to see that he wouldn't come charging back, Darren slid after him at an even pace. "I've been on lots of dates and some of them were even romantic. Not many in Freedom and none with anyone at Claremont, but, like, it's not like it's hard to get out to LA or New York for a Friday night thing, right?" He clicked his teeth together and considered that he was being too roundabout, particularly after Elias had already called him on it once. Darren shook his head.


"This is going to, like, sound embarrassingly Hollywood, but I try not to be interested in gender when it's more about the individual person. People? Persons?" A smile. "Whatever, you know. I can appreciate both, or none, or some other category, as long as I like whoever it is. So don't think you can go, like, bend some girders or grow out a beard to impress me with your manliness, it so won't work, you have no idea. And it'd break character anyway, I don't know what I'd do with an Elias without the aloofishness."

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"It does sound rehearsed and pat, is that what you mean by 'Hollywood'?"  Elias was fishing, searching seeking.  He was restraining himself from using his powers, after all, so he was relying on instinct, and probing to get what information he couldn't readily pick up.  Darren already knew how keen and dogged the telepath could be. 


Shrugging at the teasing, "You'd lose interest in me and find someone else.  Likely you'd try to convince yourself that this was not the case, and you would make an attempt to remain my friend after that, but eventually you'd just drift once you had found someone new.  Of course you will argue this point, and feel defensive.  Though you are aware I am saying this without judgement or concern for the matter, as we are speaking in hypotheticals."  Shrugging and carefully weaving as he moved, enough to change his course and avoid people in a manner that was almost disconcerting.

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"Rehearsed and like New Age bull. Like something I just made up so I could sell it to you on a silver screen." Darren gave Elias a brief wave of jazz hands. As the telepath explained his hypothetical, Darren let an eyebrow twitch up and set his hands on his hips. By the time Elias finished, a quiet giggle had grown into shaking laughs. Darren clutched his stomach, consumed in hysterics. After a minute, he groaned and straightened up. "Why get defensive over that? At least that's true. Well, I mean, it's mostly true. Hold on, let me get my breath."


Darren took a few gulps of winter air and exhaled little clouds of fog. "Like, I wouldn't get bored of you just cause you decided to get less aloof or whatever, or I don't think I would. It's hard to imagine, but anyway, you're right about drifting after that though. I get bored, I move on, I don't even really try to do the remaining friends thing. I mean, hello, I don't do friends much in the first place." He followed Elias through the crowd with a bit less alacrity but almost as much grace. "I'm sure if people knew that they wouldn't be too, like, accepting. Oh, he's a super hero, but he isn't super nice? He doesn't want to be super friends with me? They'd probably trend #Adamasisajerk or something."

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