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Who is this sassy lost child
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Jae stayed looming in the doorway, content to let Vanessa try and comfort Lizzie. He hadn't known Lizzie and Scarlett were friends. He'd just been walking along, thinking uncharitably about how he'd never liked Scarlett and he wanted no part of Lizzie's tears or her accusation if she somehow divined his thoughts. He'd swung back and forth on whether or not he really wanted to run into somebody else, but he hadn't wanted this, whatever it was.

He settled on not looking directly at Lizzie while Vanessa talked to her. Awkward eye contact with a crying person was the worst.

And of course as soon as he thought that, a voice sounded from behind him and Jae remembered that quite a lot of things involving injury and possible death were objectively worse than having to deal with someone while they cried. He would have spun to face the new arrival but his immobilized leg resulted in more of a stumbling turn that left him grabbing at the other side of the door frame for support.

There was an instant of nerves and adrenaline as Jae steadied himself, an instant where he was vulnerable and his good hand would have taken too long to get to the baton. He saw the guy who had spoken, didn't see a weapon.

He saw Hazel.

The world tilted for a moment and then righted itself again as Jae pushed away from the door frame and took a couple staggering steps towards her. He stopped abruptly, remembering where they were and what he must look like, and the fact that Vanessa was still crouched on the floor with an upset and possibly-unstable person. Jae was left frustratingly in the middle, too far away from either pair to do anything.

"Hey," he said again, stupidly, choking down everything else that threatened to spill out again now that he could see her. Fuck, he hadn't realized until she was right in front of him how scared he'd been that he wouldn't see her again.

He glanced over his shoulder at Vanessa and Lizzie. "It's okay, everything's cool, it's Hazel and... some guy." Prevent a panic before it started, prevent more tears. He met Lizzie's red-rimmed eyes and quickly faced away from her again.
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."

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